The Ming Dynasty City Wall of Nanjing, China


The Ming Dynasty City wall runs for 16 square miles, making it the longest city wall in the world. It was built by the first Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, popularly known as HongWu and took 20 years to construct. It is said that 200,000 workers cemented the bricks stamped with details of the brick maker and overseer. We saw the same imprints on the Emperor’s tomb. The mortar contained a mixture of glutinous rice, tung oil and lime.

This old city wall was built during the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644, and runs all the way along the west bank of Xuanwa Lake. Many of these segments are extremely well preserved and modern buildings have been constructed on top of them in some places. In other spots, people have made homes inside the walls. Long sections of the wall had no entry or exit points. There was only one gate south of Nanjing and another in the east. The Government added gates after the 1911 Revolution for a total of 24 gates.

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a Ming Dynasty City Wall Gate, Nanjing
Day 4 old ming wall.jpg
section of the Ming Dynasty City Wall, Nanjing

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There is an interesting story about 1927 when the Guomindang attacked Nanjing, then known as Nanking. The city wall was so impregnable that the resident foreign community became trapped inside the City and escaped by making ropes from sheets to climb down the wall. The Nanjing Government is slowly restoring some of the City gates. Five gates remain from the original Min Dynasty and four gates from the Republican era. We only had time for a brief sighting before continuing on to Fuzi Confucious Temple and Market…

 

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