were common from the ancient period
into the medieval period
. Generally, these are referred to as city walls
, although there were also walls, such as the Great Wall of China
and the Atlantic Wall
, which extended far beyond the borders of a city
and were used to enclose vast regions.
City walls were still occasionally used as late as the 19th Century although by this time they were generally of wood (rather than stone) construction and used only around small frontier settlements. City walls also had towers and were frequently surrounded by trenches.
The practice of building these massive walls had been developed sometime before the rise of the Sumerian Empire and was connected with the rise of city-states.
Oftentimes the walls proved impenetrable to attacking armies which then laid siege to the city.
Within walled cities, the poor and "noxious trades" were generally located near or outside the walls.
Chinese cities occasionally have remnants of city walls that were built in the Ming Dynasty and designed to withstand artillery bombardment. Chinese cities generally outgrew their walls, which fell into disrepair in the Qing dynasty. The walls of Xian are still well-preserved.
The walls of Beijing were demolished during the 1960s to open large streets around the city. A metro line also follows the location of the former city walls.
Walled villagess can still be found in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
- Dubrovnik City Walls - highly preserved city fortificatiom including towers, gate, rampart walk and two citadels guarding the docks.
- Ston walls built in 14th-16th century, at the isthmus of the Pelješac peninsula, to the north of Dubrovnik; 890 meters long town wall and 5 km Great Wall outside the town
- Karlovac city walls, built in 1579 as a six-point star with bastions.
Fragments of London Wall the wall that once surrounded the Roman town of Londinium are still visible just outside the Museum of London.
The remnants of the city walls of York are both a shortcut above the streets and, as in many places, a tourist attraction.
The German Democratic Republic claimed that the Berlin Wall was not defensive; but rather was intended to prevent unauthorized emigration.
- The walls of Akko (Acre) - 18th century modern Ottoman fortification able to withstand cannons attack. The wall has been restored and now includes rampart for tourists.
Morocco and Western Sahara
In the 1980s Morocco built a system of sand wall defenses, the Western Sahara walls, to keep the Polisario out of the Western Sahara.
Portions of a Roman wall are still standing in Barcelona, and many Spanish cities, such as Avila and Toledo, have medieval walls.
Wall Street, in New York City, is named after New York's old city wall, long since dismantled.