The Bell and Drum Towers are known as the ‘morning bell and dark drum’ or ‘sister buildings’, as the Drum Tower is located to the Northwest of the Bell Tower.
The Bell Tower, is a stately traditional building, that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. From this important landmark extend East, South, West and North Streets, connecting the tower to the East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty.
The wooden tower, which is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China, is 36 meters (118 feet) high. It stands on a brick base 35.5 meters (116.4 feet) long and 8.6 meters (28.2 feet) high on each side. During the Ming Dynasty, Xi’an was an important military town in Northwest China, a fact that is reflected in the size and historic significance.
The tower was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers.
Take the Metro line 2 and conveniently get off at Bell Tower Station.
The Drum Tower is located northwest of the Bell Tower of Xi’an, across the Bell and Drum Tower Square. Both of them are called the ‘sister buildings’ or ‘morning bell and dark drum’. In ancient China, especially from the Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368), the drums were used to signal the running of time and on occasion were used as an alarm in emergency situations.
It was initially built in 1380 during the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and was renovated twice in 1699 and 1740 in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is a two-storied post and panel structure, 34 meters (about 112 feet) high and 52.6 meters (about 172 feet) long from east to west as well as 38 meters (about 124 feet) wide from north to south. The architecture style of the Drum Tower is a combination of the styles of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the Qing Dynasty. However, it also has some innovative features. For example, it should be mentioned that there is no iron nail used anywhere in the Tower.
Upon arrival you will see that there is an arched doorway in the centre of the south and north walls, doorway being 6 meters (about 20 feet) in both height and width. The north entrance leads to Beiyuan Men and south to the West Avenue. Visitors can go upstairs to the second floor, and enjoy the views around the Drum Tower. On the second floor, there is a drum culture exhibition which can help you know more about drums. Meanwhile, you will notice that there are twenty-four drums in its north and south sides. They stand for the Twenty-four Solar Terms which is a kind of weather calendar created by the Chinese ancients in order to guide the agricultural production.
In modern times, the Drum Tower is not used as a timer any more, but there are some new attractions for visitors to enjoy. In the year of 1996, a new drum, covered by a whole piece of cowhide was given a place on the Tower. It is the biggest drum in China at present. What is more, visitors will enjoy musical performances inside it. These performances will enlighten one on the power of ancient Chinese culture.
Bell Tower only: CNY 30
Drum Tower only: CNY 30
There are joint tickets available for CNY 50.
March 26-October 25: 08:30-21:00 (Ticket selling stops at 20:30.)
October 26-next March 25: 08:30-18:00 (Ticket selling stops at 17:30.)
Location: Beiyuanmen No.74, Lianhu 北苑门74号，连湖
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