Beijing City Fortifications
The Beijing city wall was a series of fortifications built between 1436 and 1553. The Inner city wall was 24 km long 20 metres thick at ground level and 12 metres thick at the top. The wall was 15 metres high, and it had nine gates. This wall stood for nearly 530 years, but in 1965 it was removed to allow construction of the 2nd Ring Road and the Line 2, Beijing Subway. Only one part of the wall is extant, in the southeast, just south of Beijing Railway Station. The Outer city walls had a perimeter of approximately 28 kilometres. The entire enclosure of the Inner and Outer cities formed a "凸" shape with a perimeter of nearly 60 kilometres.
Beijing was the capital city of the last three Chinese imperial dynasties (the Yuan, Ming, and Qing). It was also secondary capital to two northern dynasties (the Liao and Jin), and is therefore often referred to as an ancient capital of five dynasties (五朝古都). It had an extensive fortification system, consisting of the Forbidden City, the Imperial city, the Inner city, and the Outer city. Fortifications included gate towers, gates, archways, watchtowers, barbicans, barbican towers, barbican gates, barbican archways, sluice gates, sluice gate towers, enemy sighting towers, corner guard towers, and a moat system. It had the most extensive defense system in Imperial China.
After the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, Beijing's fortifications were gradually dismantled. The Forbidden city has remained largely intact, becoming the Palace Museum. Some fortifications of the Imperial city remain intact, including Tiananmen, the gate tower and watchtower at Zhengyangmen, the watchtower at Deshengmen, the southeastern corner guard tower, and a section of the Inner city wall near Chongwenmen. Nothing of the Outer city remains intact. Yongdingmen was completely reconstructed in 2004.
Read more about Beijing City Fortifications: History, Dismantlement, Defence, Inner City, Outer City, Imperial City, Forbidden City, Moats, Canals, and Other Watershed Systems, Influences, Preservation
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