Impressive and imposing, this 8.5-mile fortification encircles historic Xian, 40 feet high and nearly 60 feet thick at the base. It counts 98 ramparts, four complex gate structures, and a deep moat. The wall’s construction began in the Ming Dynasty (618 – 907). These days, the decorated south gate, Yongning, and the Bell Tower are sites of city celebrations rather than military defenses. There are several options for hiking or bicycling around the wall, combining fun physical activity with remarkable history.