This is one of the side entrances into the Xi’an city, which means that the perspective view you are looking from all the way to where the guard stands is the thickness of that ancient wall. Here is the most complete ancient city wall in China. It is allegedly almost 640 years old (short CNN travel article here), hence qualifying it for this week’s challenge!
To me, this wall is a biggggg big big deal, and this trip is one I eyed really long for. I had been working on ancient city conservation for many Chinese cities, and had sadly seen for myself the demise of centuries-old cities that spanned many different dynasties. Mapping their stories were very humbling exercises – you see the rise and fall and development of the reigning power and you just know that life is that ephemeral. Power comes, power goes, sometimes attributed to Man, sometimes attributed to forces of Nature.
On the other hand, I am doubtful whether the wall is really that old. In China, there are always the official stories, and the real stories. A pity I did not take proper notes of where my heresies came from, but I have strong reason to believe they were reconstructed in modern days. In any case, it is still no mean feat to keep the original structures, even if they came in just remnant chunks of broken footings. I did not have the opportunity to work on this city, so I did not get to map the actual material growth of this capital. 😦
The AQI was more than 250 when we were there (280, I remember). It was a tough decision, but we ultimately still chose to cycle around the entire city wall. It was also a tough call to not look outside the wall and see the towering new buildings 😦 . This bike journey is one moving picture of: the amount of vanity in modern man overshadowing the amount of respect they ought to have for history and culture and the roots of these said modern man. Well, I guess, that too is a result of the rise and fall of civilisation – a certain watershed period obliterated all senses and feels for their roots and cultures. 😦
In response to Nancy Merrill’s
A Photo a Week Challenge: Over 100 years old.