- Bell Tower, Xian
- Side Scene of Bell Tower, Xian
|Kind Notice: The Bell Tower has been closed for maintenance since November 5th, 2012 and will be reopened on February 6th, 2013.|
The Bell Tower, together with the Drum Tower, is cosidered the well-know landmark of Xian. It is located in the city's center, at the intersection of the North, South, East and West streets. Built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), the Bell Tower of Xian took the lead with regards to its size, historical and artistic value. Till now, this bell tower has been the biggest and the most intact one among those remaining ones.
Constructed on a quadrate foundation, the tower is 36 meters (118 feet) high and covers an area of 1,377.4 square meters (1,647 square yards). The quadrate foundation is 8.6 meters (28 feet) high and each of the four sides is 35.5 meters (38.8 yards) long. Built with bricks and wood, the tower has three layers of eaves. Upon the eaves covers the bottle green colored glaze. Inside the tower there is color painting on the wall, carved beams, painted rafters as well as the gold-decorated top. Visitors can go up the tower by climbing the spiral staircase.
Originally built in 1384, during the reign of Emperor Taizu of the Ming Dynasty, the Bell Tower was named after the iron bell that was hung on the tower. The original location of the tower is at the current street corner of Guangji Street (on the north side of the West Street), just opposite to the Drum Tower. Being about one kilometer away from its current location, the tower is originally situated on the axial line of Chang'an City of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). It was also the city center of Chang'an during the Five Dynasties (907 - 960), Song (960 - 1279) and Yuan (1271 - 1368) Dynasties.
In early period of the Ming Dynasty Chang'an City was extended. Gradually, the city center moved eastward, thus the Bell Tower gradually deviated from the new city center. Till 1582, during the Ming Emperor Shenzong's reign, the Bell Tower underwent an overall relocation. The historical records write that the whole body of the tower except the foundation was removed to the new location within a very short time. It was a pride of the Chinese architectural history since it required superduper assembling skill and very precise engineering organizing work.
There was an interesting story about the huge bell on the tower. The bell originally hung there was molded during the Tang Dynasty, called Jingyun Bell (currently in the Beilin Museum). It is said that after the tower was relocated, although its size remained unchanged, the Jingyun Bell could not be sounded any more. Having no other way, they had to change it with a new one. That was what we see today. Weighing five tons, the current bell was made between 1465 and 1487 during the Ming Dynasty, with the sign of the Eight Diagrams on the surface. However, it is much smaller than the former one.
With double eaves, bucket arch and the towery roof, the Bell Tower reflects the typical architectural style of the Ming Dynasty. The relief sculpture on the windows and doors shows the popular decoration arts during that period. Observing them carefully, you will learn the interesting literary quotations and legends of ancient China, such as the story of Mulan and Chang Er Flies to the Moon.
CNY 27 for Bell Tower only;
CNY 40 for the joint ticket of Bell Tower and Drum Tower
Transportation: 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, 252, 300, 302, 502, 600, 603, 604, K605, 606, 608, 609, 611, 612, K618, K630, 706, Tourism Bus No. 7, Tourism Bus No. 8 (610) or Airport Shuttle Bus Line 1 and get off at Bell Tower stop.