As the sun began to set on my final evening in Xi’an, China, I remained atop the famous 8.7 mile long city wall to take in the sunset and see how the city’s modern buildings looked in juxtaposition to the ancient city walls. After a two-hour bicycle ride atop the wall, this would be a great way to spend the early part of the evening.
While most well known as the home of the Terra Cotta Warriors or as the final stop on one route of the famed Silk Road, Xi’an’s wall and culture set it apart from other cities I have visited in China. The modern and ancient contrast is visible from every location within the city walls.
After watching sunset, I headed first to the wall’s South Gate to get a view of the city’s central bell tower. While impressive during the day, its colorful nighttime lights give it a special aura as traffic fills the streets which encircle the tower.
I continued walking on the wall and encountered one of the most impressive architectural features on the wall outside of its many ramparts: the bell towers. This was the South Exit’s bell tower.
Another impressive part of the wall is how well it is illuminated for pedestrians and the several straggling bikers as night falls. Beautiful lanterns line the top of the wall for as far as the eye can see.
With nightfall, I continued down to street level inside of the park’s confines to see how the wall looked from the outside. I was pleasantly surprised to have a striking view of the city, the city’s wall, and the South Gate.
Even if you go to Xi’an just to see the Terra Cotta Warriors and the famous Muslim Quarter, make sure to spare an evening in your itinerary for the famous city wall.