Xi’an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People’s Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang’an before the Ming Dynasty.
Xi’an is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. Xi’an is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army.
The fortifications of Xi’an, which is an ancient capital of China, represent one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls. Construction of the first city wall of Chang’an began in 194 BCE and lasted for four years. That wall measured 15.9 mi in length, 39–52 ft in thickness at the base. The area within the wall was ca. 13.8 mi². The existing wall was started by the Ming Dynasty in 1370. It encircles a much smaller city of 5.4 mi². The wall measures 8.5 mi in circumference, 39 ft in height, and 49–59 ft in thickness at the base.
Photo Credit: Mikael