In the centre of the old city, and marking the entrance to the Muslim quarter, there is a beautiful tower, very similar to its neighbour – the Bell Tower.
The main difference is that instead of bells it has large drums all around it. We had no opportunity to assist a drum performance, but, no doubt, with that size and quantity it shall be a hell of a noise.
In many aspects, the bigger Chinese cities are getting an "American look", given by architecture, space, lights, and organization.
One thing, fortunately they are not copying: the concept of town. Xi'an has what almost all American cities miss: a centre. And nowhere I saw such a well defined centre: a square wall 15 km long defines the centre of town, and inside it two big avenues split the rectangle from north to south and east to west. Where they cross, a beautiful tower occupies the square. Perfect and wonderful geometry.
Xi'an Drum Tower is another iconic tower located west of Xi'an Bell Tower. The north entrance is facing the ancient Muslim Quarter of Beiyuan Men Street.
It was built in 1380 by Emperor Hongwu of Ming Dynasty. Traditionally, Drum tower was used as timer for the city.
The Drum Tower is also supported by brick base with gates and walls. It has Tang and Qing Dynasties's architectural design. Unlike the Bell Tower, the shape of the structure is rectangle instead of square.
I did not visit inside the Drum Tower, so more information wait until the next time i visit.
After visiting the Drum Tower, walk around Beiyuanmen, Muslim Quarter.
In Chinese: 鼓楼， gu lou
Xi'an Bell Tower symbolized the center of the ancient capital of Xi'an as an important military town during Ming Dynasty. As it is located in the center between the major streets, East Street, West Street, North Street, and South Street.
It was built by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang in 1384. It was used as military office and city hall during ancient dynasties. Several large bronze-cast bells from Tang Dynasty are displayed inside the Bell Tower.
Today, this tower remains as of the important structure in the city center of Xi'an. This square structure is supported by brick base with walls and gates. The Ming dynasty architectural building reflects the beauty of ancient China in modern Xi'an. It has spectacular view of the town when it is light up together with street lights, and neon lights of buildings surrounding the tower.
Continue walking on West Street, you will see The Drum Tower.
In Chinese: 钟楼， zhong lou
These 2 towers date to the Ming Dynasty. They were sounded at dawn and dusk. You can visit one or the other or both. In addition, performances are held in each at specified times. Please check in advance if you would like to see these. Both structures are easily reached by either foot or public transportation and are located withn the city walls.
The Bell tower in the center of Xian, is one of the many historic monuments in Xian
There is a cost to enter, (not that great) and it is certainly worth a visit.
There is a collection of Quin Chime Bells housed here which are played during the day at intervals.
The tower itself is very interesting and you can get some great views from the top.
If you choose not to visit these attractions during the day - which we didn't have time to do - you must go for a walk and view these amazing buildings at night.
Bell Tower – cost to enter - CNY 40 for Bell Tower and Drum Tower – free if from outside?? Visit this day and night – beautifully lit up.
This 36m high tower marks the centre of the ancient city. It was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a watch tower and was located next to the Drum Tower. It was moved to its present site in 1582 and restored in 1739. A bell, located in the north west corner at the base of the tower was struck to indicate the passing hours. Streets linking the tower to the main gates of the wall are named after them - North, East, South and West Streets. Originally vehicles could pass under the tower but traffic is now so heavy it is directed around it. Visitors can access the tower by the modern underpass built under it.
The Drum Tower was initially built in 1380 during the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty. It is a smaller building (34m high) and marks the boundary of the Muslim Quarter in Xi'an.
Unfortunately lack of time meant that I could only admire these buildings from the outside
Inside the Drum Tower there is a drum museum, where a variety of drums from different countries are on display, some of which can be dated back thousands of years. There is a drum show performed here every day.
Open: 8am-10pm. Admission: RMB40 (which also includes the Bell Tower).
The Drum Tower is located northwest of the Bell Tower, across the Bell 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.
The Drum Tower 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. 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 drum tower is surrounded by 24 drums along the north and south walls which represent the 24 solar terms of the weather calendar. Inside the Drum Tower there is also a drum museum, where a variety of drums are on display, some of which can be dated back thousands of years. There is a drum show performed here every day.
Open: 8am-10pm. Admission: RMB40 (which also includes the Bell Tower).
You get some good views of the city centre from the bell tower. You can see the work being carried out on the new metro system to the north, which was being undertaken when I visited in July 2008. You can also see the South Gate from here.
I think, everyday, there is a Qin Chime Bells performance inside the Bell Tower where they place 39 different bells of various sizes. The performance times are at 9am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 8pm and 9pm.
The Bell Tower is a strategically important building that marks the geographical centre of the ancient capital of Xian. From this important landmark extend East, South, West and North Streets, connecting the Bell Tower to the East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall. It was built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty and is one of the grandest of its kind in China. The Bell Tower also contains several large bronze-cast bells from the Tang Dynasty. The tower base is square and it covers an area of 1,377 square meters. The tower is a brick and timber structure and close to 40 meters high. The bell standing outside, is a replica of the original Tang dynasty bell which can be seen in the Forest of Stele Museum.
On the second floor, a plaque set in the west wall records the relocation of the tower in 1582. When it was first built it stood near the Drum Tower on the central axis of the city. As the city grew, however, the geographical centre changed. Therefore, in 1582, the Tower was moved 1,000 meters east of the original site.
Open: 8am-10pm. Admission: RMB40 (which also includes the Drum Tower).
Just like the Drum Tower, the Bell tower is situated in the heart of the city. Located at the main entrance to the Muslim Quarter, you should still use the pedestrian tunnel that will take you under the drum tower and to the ticket office that is located in this tunnel.
As mentioned before, you can purchase a single entry into both the drum tower and the bell tower for approx. 50 Yuan each or you can purchase a double entry pass for 70 Yuan.
The wooden Bell Tower, like the Drum tower, is a traditional Chinese building that houses bells…funny that!
You can enjoy the ringing of the bells daily at:
The Drum Tower is situated in the heart of the walled city that is Xian. Located on a busy street intersection, there is a pedestrian tunnel that will take you under the street. The ticket office is also located in this tunnel.
You can purchase a single entry into both the drum tower and the bell tower for approx. 50 Yuan each or you can purchase a double entry pass for 70 Yuan.
The wooden Drum Tower is a traditional Chinese building that houses spectacular drums of all sizes and colors.