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Magnificent night view of Datong city wall

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Datong city wall is one of the most well-preserved city walls in China. It's bigger and taller than the ones in Pingyao and Xian. Though it was rebuilt, that process was based on a very accurate blueprint from nearly a century ago.

In many historical Chinese cities, the ancient city walls stand downtown, forming a spectacular combination of the past and present — of a historical relic and a modern metropolis. Datong’s city walls are no exception.

The ancient city wall of Datong was built in the fifth year of the Hongwu Period during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) by Xu Da, a senior general of the dynasty. In building it he utilized old ramparts of the previous Northern Wei, Tang, Liao, and Yuan dynasties. The Datong city wall has four sides, covering an area of 3.28 square kilometers.

If you pay a visit to the city walls in the evening, you will see great differences between day and night. Lighting on the interval towers are switched on as night falls, creating a surreal and romantic scene.

Standing on this wall, one can’t help but imagine rows of archers, guns, cannons and soldiers trying to defend the city from invaders.

In ancient times, each city's walls were made of different layers varying in scale and form. There were strict rules for height, width, as well as number of gates and towers depending on whether the city was the capital, a provincial capital or a county.

The study of these ancient walls has helped experts to learn more about traditional Chinese culture and history.



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