Beijing City Wall

There were basically four city walls in Beijing. The wall surrounding Forbidden City can be considered one of the most famous city walls. Besides that, there is another higher and larger walls surrounded the wall of Forbidden City which was named as Imperial City. The Inner City and the Outer City are another two city walls which were left by the ancestors.

Forbidden City Wall

Forbidden cityforbidden city wallThe Forbidden City which was located more to the south part of inner city was the palace for both Ming and Qing Dynasty. It is 960 meters length and 760 meters width at a total area of 0.72 square kilometers. There are a total of eight city gates throughout the Forbidden City, Donghuamen at the east, Xihuamen at the west, Xuanwumen (later renamed as Shenwumen in Qing Dynasty) at the north, and the rest Chengtianmen (later renamed as Tiananmen in Qing Dynasty), Duanmen, Wumen, Zuoyemen and Youyemen. There are 7 main buildings which were constructed on the central axis of Forbidden City. By using Qianqingmen as the boundary, the three buildings in front were purposely for official used while the rest of three behind were for residential purposes. Besides that, there is a moat with 52 meters width surrounded the Forbidden City.

Imperial City

Imperial cityimperial city wallImperial City was built within 1406 to 1420 by using bricks and painted in red color. The top of the Imperial City was covered by yellow glazed tiles. The overall length of Imperial Wall has reached over 9000 meters with 6 meters height. The imperial gate which named as Damingmen (renamed as Daqingmen in Qing Dynasty and later Zhonghuamen in Republic of China) was located at the south of this wall. City gate was named according to the compass direction, which means that the gate at the east was called Donganmen, Xianmen at the west and Beianmen at the north (Later, renamed as Dianmen in Qing Dynasty). However, most of the walls were destroyed in the early of Republic of China. Nowadays, only two sections of Imperial Wall still can be found standing on both sides of Tiananmen.

Inner City Wall

Inner City WallInner City was built within 1370 to 1419, with the overall length of 24 km and 9 city gates.
The south gate of Inner City was Qianmen with Chongwenmen on the left and Xuanwumen on the right.

The rest of the gates were Chaoyangmen, Dongzhimen, Fuchengmen, Xizhimen, Andingmen and Deshengmen.


Outer City Wall
Outer City WallDuring Ming Dynasty, the people living around Qianmen were increasing and in order to avoid attacks from outsiders, Emperor Jiajing decided to construct an Outer City. The construction was taken place in 1553 and was completed within a year.
The roads throughout Beijing inner and outer city were mostly in one of the compass directions. The streets which heading towards city gate were relatively larger when compared to others. However, there were slightly difference between the inner city and outer city. As for inner city, the city wall was built before the formation of a town. Besides that most of the major roads were named according to the name of city gates.