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China Facts

City Wall



City Wall



Xi'an City Wall

 is the best preserved, oldest and largest ancient city defense system in China. It is also one of the most important landmarks of the Xi'an city. The original foundation of the Xi'an City Wall was based on the ruins of the Imperial City Wall of Changan City - the capital of the Tang Dynasty. In 904 AD when the capital of the Tang Dynasty was moved eastward, the Governor-general Han Jian had the city renovated and turned it into an army garrison and named it "New City". Since then the city had been used continuously by Song and Yuan Dynasties, and its features kept unchanged. The Ming Dynasty was set up in 1368 and the army entered the city in 1369. Afterward the city was renamed as "the Prefecture of Xi'an".

In 1370 the First Ming Emperor

Zhu Yuanzhang

 conferred the title of "King of Qin" on his second son Zhu Shuang and sent him to rule in Shaanxi. The King's official residence was chosen and built in Xi'an City. According to the Ming Dynasty's stipulation, when the title of King was conferred upon the Emperor's son, his costume, carriage, flag and residence had to be one grade lower than the emperor's. The old city was dilapidated and its size was small, so it was not up to the standard. In 1370, the government began to extend the size of the

Xi'an City

, and build the huge project of the residence for the King of Qin. It was completed smoothly within eight years. When the city began to take shape, it was divided into inner city and outer city. The outer city is 13.7km in circumference and it occupies an area of 11.5 sq. km. The structure of the City Wall was earth-rammed.

Around the City Wall there are jutting ramparts, sentry towers, corner towers, gate towers, battlements and a series of city defensive fortifications which were scientifically and compactly laid out with very strong defense capability. The inner city was the residence for the King of Qin. It was built at the high terrain in the north-eastern part of the city, from where the whole city could be well under control by its advantage of geographical position. The residence was enclosed by two successive walls and a protective moat. The principal part of the architectural complex was built according to the traditional pattern of "Palace in the front and bedchamber at the back". The important palaces and temples were longitudinally arranged in a round pivot order. They looked magnificent and splendid. During the 200 years reign of the Ming Dynasty, the inner city continuously served as the military and political center of


, where the successive 14 Kings of Qing acted on the order of the Emperor to rule Shaanxi. The Xi'an City Wall has a history of over 600 years since it was built in the early Ming Dynasty. Nowadays, this historical relic is not only an important material object for the study of ancient military science but also a sightseeing and entertainment resort for visitors.

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