Notes on the Geography of China: Xi'an: Photo 3
The view from the top. The wall is rectangular and has a total length exceeding eight miles. Classic manuals stipulate that capital cities should be oriented to the compass points and be penetrated by three gates on each side, dividing the city into nine superblocks. Xi'an doesn't quite conform--some gates have been added; others, blocked--but it comes very close to the ideal. Strikingly, it is much smaller than Tang Changan, whose wall encompassed not only Ming Xi'an but an area perhaps seven times as great--very nearly as great as the area of the modern city of 6,000,000.
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