What do a perfectly engineered kill zone and a bicycle built for two have in common?
Answer: You can find them both on the Xian City wall.
Well, let me be more precise. The kill zones are actually outside the wall. Ramparts, or defensive protrusions, are positioned every 120 meters along the perimeter. Each rampart is 60 meters from the crossfire point, which is just within the range of throwing weapons and firearms like crossbows and bows (the wall features 24 watch towers erected on top of the ramparts). Which brings me to my next point, never get involved in a land war in Asia! But you already knew that, right?
As for the bicycle built for two,
the entire wall has a perimeter of about 14 kilometers. It is 10 to 12 meters high and 12 to 14 meters wide at the top, giving you plenty of room to ride that bike built for two without fear of hitting a rampart or fellow bikers.
The city wall didn’t start out looking soooo good.
It took years of engineering and a couple of different dynasties before it achieved its present glory. 2,000 years ago, when the city was known as Chang’an it started as just mounds of rammed earth. The extant wall was built in the third to eleventh year of the Sui Tang dynasty (1370 AD to 1378).
If you fancy seeing the wall, but don’t really feel like paying the dough to get inside, the outside of the wall features some green areas, occasional ping-pong tables and tai chi dancing as well.
How much does it cost: 40 Yuan for entrance. 45 Yuan for single bikes and 90 for a bicycle built for two (I just love writing that) and a 200 Yuan deposit. If you don’t feel like moving your legs at all you can also hire a golf cart and driver, which will set you back 80 Yuan.
When is it open: 8 am to 8:30 pm from April to October 8 am to 7 pm November to March. The south gate is the only gate open until 8:30 pm. The rest of them close at 6 pm.