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.
Often 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 city of Xi'an has well-preserved walls with a water filled moat that is a tourist attraction incorporating small parks surrounding a busy and modern area of the city.
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.
Generally, these are referred to as city walls or townwalls, 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.
The practice of building these massive walls, though having its origins in prehistory, was refined during the rise of city-states, and energetic wall-building continued into the medieval period and beyond in certain parts of Europe.
Conwy's circuit of townwalls (above right) is a particularly fine example of this approach, surviving complete for over three-quarters of a mile with 21 towers and three original gateways.
Elsewhere, as at Flint, the constable of the castle often served as the mayor of the town.
Restrictions against the Welsh varied in severity from town to town, but these unequal privileges caused tensions and frustrations that culminated in the Glyn Dwr revolt, a remarkable national uprising during the early years of the 15th century.
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