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Home > Attractions > Cultural

Bell Tower


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china.org.cn says
Standing at the crossing of the East, West, South, and North avenues in city proper, the Bell Tower is a symbol of Xi' an. The tower was originally built in 1348, toward the end of the Yuan Dynasty, and was moved to the present site in 1552, during the Ming Dynasty. It was rebuilt and enlarged during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

There used to be a huge iron bell hung in the tower, which was used to strike the hours. After the bell fell from its operating position it was placed on the northwest corner of base.

The bell tower is a wooden structure topped with dark green tiles. It is a grand ancient building with traditional Chinese architectural features. The Bell Tower is beautifully lit at night.

From the top the Bell Tower, visitors can get a bird's eye view of the surrounding areas and the building's brightly-decorated eaves.

The tower has three layers of eaves but only two stories. Inside, a staircase spirals up. The grey bricks of the square base, the dark green glazed tiles on the eaves, gold-plating on the roof and gilded color painting make the tower a colorful and dramatic masterpiece of Ming-style architecture. In addition to enhancing the beauty of the building, the three layers of eaves reduce the impact of rain on the building.

On the second floor, a plaque set in the west wall records the relocation of the tower in 1582. When it was first built in 1384, it stood near the Drum Tower on the central axis of the city, and continued to mark the center of the city since Tang Dynasty and the following the Five Dynasties and the Song and Yuan Dynasties. As the city grew, however, the geographical center changed. Therefore, in 1582, the Tower was moved 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) east of the original site. Except for the base, all parts are original, and history tells us that the relocation was accomplished quickly and inexpensively, making it a truly notable achievement in the architectural history in China.

Originally, the northwest corner of the tower housed the famous Jingyun Bell from the Tang Dynasty. Legend has it that although nothing had changed in the tower, the Jingyun Bell fell silent during the Ming Dynasty, so the current bell, a much smaller one weighing only 5 tons, was cast. The original Jingyun Bell can now be seen in Forest of Stone Steles Museum.

The engravings on the doors of the Tower reflect the decorative fashion of Ming and Qing Dynasties, recounting popular stories of ancient China.

On each side of the base, there is an arched door 6 meters (19.6feet) high. In the past, vehicles were allowed to pass through the arches and under the tower, but as the city has grown the volume of traffic has become too great, so a bright, spacious pedestrian subway has been constructed under the tower. The entrance to the tower is from this subway.

A fenced-in area around the tower is planted with grass and flowers. In early spring, the tender plum blossoms and bright new grass surrounding the old tower provide a harmonious contrast. Not far from the Tower, modern shopping malls and a brightly decorated square reveal the prosperity of the city. When night falls, lanterns hung from the eaves illuminate the tower, making it even more enchanting.

Admission: the admission fee for Bell Tower is 27 yuan, and 40 yuan for Bell Tower and Drum Tower together.

Opening hours: It opens from 8 am to 10 pm from April 1st to Oct. 31st. While, it opens from 8 am to 5:30 pm from Nov.1st to Mar. 31st.

How to get there: You can take Bus No. 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 26, 29, 32, 35, 36, 37, 43, 45, 46, 118, 201, 203, 205, 206, 208, 214, 215, 216, 218, 221, 222, 229, 235, 239, 251, 300, 302, 502, 600, K600, 603, 604, K605 to Bell Tower.
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The Bell Tower and The Drum Tower are only 5 min walk apart, both worth seeing inside by day, and great lite-up at night. Continue your self-tour by walking along West St and or South St, you will get a great feel of this city's Daily Life.

  • Average cost: 27RMB

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