The Bell Tower (Chinese: 西安钟楼, Pinyin:
xī ān zhōng lóu), with a history of over 600 years, is located at the center of Xian City, at the junction of the South, North, East and West Roads in the city. It is the largest bell tower in structure and shape and best-preserved one in China.
History of the Bell Tower
The Bell Tower of Xian is located in the center of this city, as a symbol to tell the people that it possesses historical value of this ancient capital in China. Built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty with a height of 36 meters, the Bell Tower covers an area of 1,377 square meters. With several large bronze-cast bells from the Tang Dynasty, it is an unique architecture built by bricks and timbers. The tower is a splendid sight with its dark green glazed tiles, blue and green paintings and touches of gold.
Legend of the Bell Tower
Many legends of this tower gain a mysterious color to this old structure. One of the legends is related to the Chinese totem – dragon. It is said that during the Ming Dynasty, Guanzhong area had experienced earthquakes. Many citizens were injured and they had found the reason of these frequent earthquakes. It was the dragon in the river which was flowing across the center of Xian city. In order to lock the dragon, the Bell Tower was built by the government. One of the officials believed that this tower could suppress the dragon firmly and bring the happiness to the city. And just as he thought, earthquake did not occur in Xi’an again.
Function of the Bell Tower
Ancient Chinese cities were also military castles. In addition to build walls around the city, dig moats and set drawbridge, it also accompanied with the bell tower in the city center as a command center. At peacetime, it was used for reporting time, and so could the drawbridge opening and closing on time. At the state of siege, it was used as city defense command.
What to See in the Bell Tower
【Giant Bell】The bell originally hanging in the Bell Tower bell was the Jingyun Bell casted in Tang Dynasty, which was used in Jinglong Temple before. In early Ming Dynasty, it was moved to the Bell Tower. In 1953, the bell was protected and moved to Xian Stone Steles Museum, and now is exhibit in Dongting of Ermengli.
Xi’an Bureau of Cultural Relics according to the original bell built another giant bell and hung at the northwest corner of the bell tower. The bell is 2.45 meters high and weighs 6.5 tons. The bell skirt’s outer diameter is 1.65 m. Its decoration and inscriptions are resembles as the original bell, with loud and forceful sound, comparable with the original bell.
【Inscription】At the west wall of Xian Bell Tower’s first floor of the hall were inlaid with three inscriptions: the first one was from Xian People’s Government after the renovation in 1953; the second o
ne was left by Shaanxi Provincial Governor Zhang Kaishu in Qing Dynasty; and the third inscription was wrote by Gong Maoxiang, the Shaanxi Supervisory Censor of Ming Dynasty.
【Couplets】On the four doors of the second floor of the tower, there is on couplets on each door.
Show Time of the Performance at Bell Tower
There are six performances everyday on: 9:00,10:30,11:30,15:00,16:00,17:00, performing for 10-15 minutes once. Note: In addition to performances have fixed time daily, organizations can make reservations in advance to enjoy the show, plus time for the evening performances is 19:00-22:00.
Travel Guide of the Bell Tower
【Best Time to Visit】All year round, as it is indoor, especially in Autumn and Spring, while the climate is comfortable.
【How to Get to the Bell Tower in Xi’an】
Metro: Take No.2 Metro line to get Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station.
Self-driving: Located at the junction of Dongdajie Street, Xidajie Street, Nandajie Street, Bedajie Stree, in the center of the city, it is very convenient for self-driving. You can just park you car at the parking lot of the Bell Tower.