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Bell Tower Xian


Xian Bell Tower


  • The Bell Tower is an imperial conventional building, which is the geographical midpoint of the old capital. North, West, South and East Streets extend from this landmark, connecting the Tower to the North, West, South and East Gates of the Ming Dynasty‚Äôs City Wall.
  • Best-preserved and the biggest of its kind in China, the wooden tower is 36 metres high. The Bell Tower stands on a base of bricks 35.5 metres long and 8.6 metres high on each side. Xian was a main military city in Northwest China during the Ming Dynasty, a fact which is revealed in the historic significance and size.
  • Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang built the tower in 1384 in order to control the nearby countryside as well as give early warning of attack by enemies.
  • The Bell Tower has only 2 stories but 3 layers of eaves. A staircase spirals upward inside. The tower has been made a multicolored and remarkable work of art of Ming-style construction by the grey bricks making the square base, the dark green glossy tiles fixed on the eaves, gold plating on the ceiling and golden color painting. In addition to increasing the splendor of the building, the 3 layers of eaves decrease the effect of rain on the tower.
  • There is a plaque in the west wall on the 2nd floor, which mentions the shifting of the Bell Tower 1582. When it was initially constructed in 1384, it was near the Drum Tower of Xian on the central axis of the city. When the city expanded, the geographical center shifted. For that reason, the Tower was shifted 1,000 meters to east of the original location in 1582. All parts are original except the base. The shifting was completed inexpensively and quickly, making it a really remarkable accomplishment in the Chinese architectural history.
  • Initially, the northwest nook of the tower contained the renowned Jingyun Bell of the Tang Dynasty. Legend is that even though nothing happened here, during the Ming Dynasty, the Jingyun Bell became quiet, therefore the present bell, weighing just five 5 tons, was cast. The original Bell can be seen in Forest of Stone Steles Museum.
  • The carvings on the doors reveal the decorative fashion of Qing and Ming Dynasties.
    There is an arched door of 6 meters height on each side of the base. Earlier, automobiles passed through the arches, but since the city has expanded, the traffic too has increased, therefore below the tower a large and bright pedestrian subway has been built. This subway has now become he entry point to the tower.
  • Flowers and grass have been planted around a fenced-in area of the tower. The tender plum blooms and brilliant new grass surrounding present a pleasant contrast in early spring. A brilliantly decorated square and latest shopping malls near the Tower reveal the affluence of the city. Lanterns suspended from the eaves light up the tower when night falls, making it even more delightful.
  • The Bell Tower certainly deserves a trip when you visit Xian.