Xi’an City Wall: Antiquity embraces modernity

(People's Daily Online) 16:37, September 27, 2021

Xi'an City Wall is the oldest and most well-preserved city wall in China and also a signature tourist attraction in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Many people may wonder, as both a cultural heritage and tourist hot spot, how the city walls could strike a balance between preservation and prosperity.

Wu Chun, deputy director of the management committee of the Xi’an City Wall, explained what efforts have been spared to protect the ancient structure. They have established a professional team for the preservation and restoration of the wall after a 20-year effort. The team has not only committed itself to maintaining the wall's features but has also integrated the structure into the modern development of Xi'an, further reviving the wall with fresh vigor and vitality.

Comprehensive monitoring to ensure the wall's safety

The Xi'an City Wall, with a perimeter of 13.74 kilometers, encompasses a multitude of military defense facilities, having evolved into a major landmark for this international metropolis that is rich in both history and culture.

The ancient structure always has different kinds of activities going on. Visitors can ascend the walls and will be rewarded with a panorama sight of the city, while appreciating light shows displayed on the walls, cycling or even running a marathon along its perimeter. Though many wonder how could such an ancient structure endure so many years? How has the wall been preserved all this time?

Many challenges emerged as the city attempted to restore the wall's past glory and transform it into a tourist attraction. Therefore, the management committee has drawn on the relevant experience in managing other relics of cultural heritage both at home and aboard, and after years of efforts, a standardized management system has eventually been established in a bid to protect the city walls in a scientific manner.

Wu said that more than 8,000 monitoring sites have been set up, which cover the city walls, ancient buildings, surrounding waterways, subways as well as tourist activities. Based on statistics collected from these monitoring sites, a four-level early warning system has been devised to assist with the monitoring work. Thus, based on different warning levels, pre-set response measures and contingency plans can be immediately carried out whenever any problems pop up.

Various measures to revive the walls with modernity

Not long ago, the Xi'an City Wall orchestrated impressive light shows to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, presenting a festive mood that exuded from the colorfully-lit ancient city.

In recent years, apart from preserving cultural heritage and relics, the tourist attraction has also dedicated itself to carrying forward traditional Chinese culture and offering cultural relics a new life in a modern context.

According to Wu, there are two representative light shows being performed at the wall's southeastern corner tower and southwestern corner tower, respectively. One depicts how the "warrior of the city wall", a unique character designed to represent the ancient structure, pursues a happy life, coupled with traditional paper cutting and 24 exhibited national treasures from the Shaanxi History Museum. Tourists and local citizens are able to enjoy a feast for their eyes and gain knowledge about Chinese cultural relics.

The management committee has fully leveraged the wall's tourism resources and introduced a series of cultural and art activities, attracting a large number of tourists from near and far to check out the site. Looking ahead, the imposing city wall is expected to be transformed into a world-class attraction featuring heritage protection, cultural exhibition, sightseeing, educational and entertainment venues.

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Hongyu)


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