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Bell Tower

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A Brief Introdution
The tower was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival ruler. It is a stately traditional building, that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. From this important landmark 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 (1368-1644).

The bell was sounded at dawn and the drum at dusk each day in ancient time, a means of telling time. Xian was not exception. The two are located in the center of the Xian city connecting the four roads from east, south, west and north within the city wall. Atop the Bell Tower you will have a panoramic view of the Xian City.

Architecture & Structure
The wooden tower, which is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China, is 36 meters (118 feet) high. It stands on a brick base 35.5 meters (116.4 feet) long and 8.6 meters (28.2 feet) high on each side. During the Ming Dynasty, Xi'an was an important military town in Northwest China, a fact that is reflected in the size and historic significance of its tower.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

Legends Stories
In Ming Dynasty, several earthquakes struck Guanzhong area, thousands were dead and injured. Then a legend appeared: There was a great river flowing across the center of Xi'an City. A dragon in the river was always active and caused trouble, so an earthquake occurred. An official of Xi'an government believed these words, so he ordered the blacksmiths of the whole city to make a several thousand feet of long iron chain in order to lock the dragon and sink it to river. He then ordered 5,000 craftsmen to repair the Bell Tower day and night in order to use the tower to restrain the dragon. He believed this would suppress the dragon firmly under the river and so it would no longer be active and cause trouble again. After establishing the Bell Tower, earthquakes never occurred in Xi'an again.

Information
Admission Fee:

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

Opening Hours: 8:00 - 22:00 (Apr. 1 - Oct. 31); 8:00 - 17:30 (Nov. 1 - the next Mar. 31)

Recommended Time for a Visit: One hour

Transportations: 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.

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