Bell Tower, which marks the geographical center of the ancient capital Chang’an (Xian), was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of Ming Dynasty, as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers.
From the Bell Tower 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.
Located on brick base of 35.5 meters long and 8.6 meters high on each side, this 36 meters high, wooden tower is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China.
With three layers of eaves and two stories, this tower has a staircase spirals up inside. 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.
There is a plaque set in the west wall on the second floor records the relocation of the tower in 1582. Originally built in 1384, stood near the Drum Tower of Xian on the central axis of the city, Bell Tower marks the center of the city in Tang Dynasty and the following the Five Dynasties and the Song and Yuan Dynasties. However, as the city grew, the geographical center changed. Thus, the Tower was moved 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) east of the original site in 1582. Besides, all parts are original. What an incredible achievement in the architectural history in China!
Originally, the northwest corner of the tower is the house of 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. Besides, on each side of the base, there is a 6 meters high arched door. When night falls, lanterns hung from the eaves illuminate the tower, making it even more enchanting.
Grass and flowers is planted in the fenced areas, from where, visitors could see tender plum blossoms and bright new grass surrounding the old tower in early spring. Moreove, not far from the tower, modern shopping malls and a brightly decorated square will be nice places to go.
CNY 27 for the Bell Tower only and CNY 27 for the Drum Tower only;
CNY 40 for the joint ticket of Bell Tower and Drum Tower
8:00 - 22:00 (Apr. 1 - Oct. 31); 8:00 - 17:30 (Nov. 1 - the next Mar. 31)
Almost every coner of Xian has bus to the Bell Tower. You can take bus 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, 252, 300, 302, 502, 600, K600, 603, 604, K605, 606, 608, 609, 611, 612, K618, K630, 706, Tourist Bus Line 7, Tourist Bus Line 8 (610), Airport Shuttle Bus No.1...and get off at Bell Tower Stop.