Beijing Bell Tower
The Bell Tower was also first built in 1272 and rebuilt in 1420. But it was once again destroyed so that the present structure dates from 1745 (the reign of Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong). To prevent further destruction it wasconstructed of stone, in contrast to its previous wooden incarnations. The centerpiece of the tower is the biggest bell of ancient China. This bronze bell dates from the time of Emperor Yongle (1402-24), is 5.55 meter high, 3.4 meters in diameter and weighs some 63 tons. Along with the Drum Tower, the Bell Tower served the function of timepiece for all of Imperial Beijing with drum and bell combinations reverberating out over the old city at an interval known as a Geng (two hours). The bell would be stricken 108 times following a pattern of 18 fast beats, 18 slow beats and 18 beats that were neither fast nor slow. The number 108 symbolized a year in imperial China. The two towers continued to act as clocks for Beijing residents right up until 1924 when the last Qing Dynasty emperor vacated the Forbidden City. Standing at 47.9 meters, it’s another steep climb to get up the Bell Tower, but is again worth the effort.
Admission: ¥15. Open: 9am-4:30pm.
Tel: +86 (010) 8403 6706.
Directions: The Bell Tower is right behind (north of) the Drum Tower. It’s about 15 minutes walk directly south along Jiugulou Dajie from Gulou subway station. Turn left at the southern end of Jiugulou Dajie and you will see it.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去钟楼，谢谢。 (Please take me to the Bell Tower. Thank you.)