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Beijing Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park

Updated on June 11, 2009

remnants of the ancient Beijing inner city wall

In 1419, during the early Ming Dynasty, Emperor Yongle ordered the construction of an inner city wall to protect the imperial city of Beijing, including the Forbidden City. Originally spanning 40 kilometers in length, much of the old city wall has been destroyed over the years to make room for subways, highways and new buildings. Fortunately, parts of the old city wall remain, and beginning on November 25, 2001, the Chinese government began removing all of the shanty houses and other residences and buildings that were built up using the city wall as part of their structures, which may have actually saved this long section of the wall by hiding it in a maze of hutongs (alleyways) for many years. In 2002, the Beijing Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park officially opened, displaying the remaining parts of the ancient city wall in a pleasant park that runs in a straight line along the approximately 1.5 kilometer section of the wall that still remains. A reliable Beijing tour company can take you there, with this park making a fascinating compare/contrast site when combined with a Great Wall tour of the ancient Ming Dynasty Wall near Beijing in the same day. It is also very easy to access the park via the Chongwen subway station on the 2nd (loop) line of the Beijing Subway system.


westernmost section of the Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park

flowers and partial reconstruction add to the ambiance

Parts of the city wall in the park have been reconstructed from the original bricks of the wall that had been "borrowed" by some of the residence owners when they built their own houses along the wall. The grounds of the park have been beautifully landscaped with trees and flowers, making the park especially nice in the spring, summer and fall.

Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park

section of old railroad tracks uncovered

During construction of the Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park, workers uncovered a section of the old railroad tracks that had actually run through the old city wall. A hole had been punched in the city wall so that the train could pass through, and this section of the old city wall has also been reconstructed to its original state.

old railroad tracks uncovered during reconstruction

central sections of the Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park

Original sections of the wall combined with sections that have been reconstructed from the original bricks from the wall help to show what the wall would have looked like centuries ago.

restored and unrestored sections of the Ming Dynasty City Wall

more restoration on the western end of the wall

The westernmost section of the ancient city wall is undergoing heavy restoration, including the restoration of the hole that was knocked through the original city wall to allow the railroad to pass through.

western sections of the Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park

Reconstruction workers on the western section of the old inner city wall.
Reconstruction workers on the western section of the old inner city wall.
Reconstruction work continues.
Reconstruction work continues.
The reconstructed railway pass now serves as the western entrance to the Dongbianmen southeast watchtower.
The reconstructed railway pass now serves as the western entrance to the Dongbianmen southeast watchtower.
The last 100 meters or so leading to the southeast watchtower is the original wall, which has been spared destruction over the years due to its proximity to the tower.
The last 100 meters or so leading to the southeast watchtower is the original wall, which has been spared destruction over the years due to its proximity to the tower.

Dongbianmen (Dongnan Jiaolou) - The Southeast Watchtower

Dongbianmen, also known as Dongnan Jiaolou (the Southeast Watchtower) served as a lookout point on the southeastern perimeter of the ancient inner city wall. The 100 meters or so of city wall directly west of the watchtower are the original wall, which has survived destruction due to its location adjacent to the watchtower itself.

Dongbianmen (Southeast Watchtower)

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