Jingzhou’s impressive city walls were first built during the Ming Dynasty in 1344 CE and underwent restorations and upgrades during the Qing Dynasty (1644 CE), and today they stand as some of the best preserved in China.

The locals tend to liken the wall to a dragon – an easy thing to do with walls in China – snaking its way over hills, through lakes and alongside a river, which is actually the moat that encircles the entire circumference. At 11 km (7 mi) long and 9 m (30 ft) wide, the impressive stature of the wall provides a great vantage point for observing the beauty of the surrounding lakes and greenery.

As you venture around the walls keep an eye out for a series of gaps in the city gates. These areas were called the Urn Cities (Wèng Chéng;瓮城) and they were used to trap, bottleneck and confuse invading soldiers. The wall has six gates, each varying in size and each with a tower. You can view the Yangtze from the South Gate, and from the big North Gate you can see some of the extant ancient architecture of inner Jingzhou.

jingzhou ancient city wall