The Bell and Drum Tower
Category: Cultural Relics Sites
Address : DiAnMen Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Open Time : Daily 9:00am - 4:30pm
Phone : 86-10-65230463
Entrance fee: RMB15 (Bell) & RMB20 (Drum)
Introduction of Beijing Bell and Drum Tower
The bell and drum were originally used as musical instruments in China. Afterward, however, they were used for telling time. As early as in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), there was 'a morning bell and a dusk drum'. Telling the time by bell and drum played an important role in helping people live and work regularly when there was no other means to keep track of the time.
As a result, bell and drum towers became public architectures, and were widely constructed in almost every city throughout the country since the Han Dynasty. In the history of their construction, the bell and drum towers of Beijing are the largest and highest. Their layout is unique, in that they were placed fore-and-aft, not as the traditional sense of standing right-and-left horizontally.
Lying to the north of Beijing-south axis line in Dongcheng District, the bell and drum towers are visibly prominent constructions and represent the symbol of this old city. They were built in 1272, and rebuilt twice after two fires. At one period in history they were the time-telling center of the capital city during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties (1271-1911).
Bell Tower - This brick and stone towers have two floors: there is an arched door on all four sides of the tower on the first floor, and you can go up to the second floor through stone stairs. The same exists on the first floor. An arched door was also built on the four sides of the second floor.
Additionally, there is a stone window on each side of the four doors. Hanging on an eight-square wooden frame of the second floor, the bell in this tower is the largest and heaviest in China. It is 7.02 meters (23 feet) high including the pendants, with a weight of 63 tons (138,891 pounds). The bell was made of copper, and you can hear its round and clear sound from far away. The two 2-meter-long (2 yards) wooden logs hanging sideward are used to ring the bell.
Drum Tower - Located 100 meters (109 yards) south to the bell tower, the drum tower was placed on a 4-meter-high (13 feet) stone and brick base. It is 46.7 meters (153 feet) high, a little bit lower than the bell tower that is 47.9 meters high (157 feet).
This tower is also a two-storey of building; the first floor contains the China Committee for the Promotion of the Minority Art. The second floor contains the exhibition area. Originally, there was one big drum and 24 smaller drums, but only the big drum remains. The method of beating the drum is to beat it quickly for 18 times and then slowly for 18 times. Altogether there are three rounds and 108 tollings. People knock the bell and the drum 108 times, because 108 times represent one year in ancient times.
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