Beijing

Beijing Travel Guide

Beijing Drum Tower and Bell Tower

Beijing Drum Tower

Beijing Drum Tower

Beijing Drum Tower sits opposite its sibling, the Bell Tower, on an axis directly north of the Forbidden City. The tower was built in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Khan and was renovated several times during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Standing 47 meters tall, the structure once dominated the skyline and still affords stunning views of the surrounding hutongs from the second story.

During the Qing Dynasty, the tower was used to keep time during the night hours. The drums were sounded 13 times at 7pm and then once more every two hours, helping civil and military officials to keep their schedules.

Although the popularization of modern watches made the Drum Tower obsolete as an official timepiece, you can still climb to the top of the Tower to view an hourly drum performances.

Opening hours : 9:00am until 5:00pm
Time of Drum Performance : 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:45
Average time for this activity : 0.5 hrs

Virtual Tour of Beijing Drum Tower


Beijing Bell Tower

Beijing Bell Tower

Beijing Bell Tower sits opposite its sibling, the Drum Tower, on an axis directly north of the Forbidden City. The tower was built in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Khan and was renovated several times during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Standing nearly 48 meters tall, the structure once dominated the skyline and still affords stunning views of the surrounding hutongs from the second story, which is reached by a set of 75 steep stone stairs.

The tower houses a huge copper bell, which was used as part of the former imperial timekeeping system. The bell is also linked to a gruesome legend. The story goes that the emperor called together the greatest artisans in the land to forge the great bell. However, three years later, they still had not succeeded. The chief artisan’s daughter, who was very clever, suggested that the furnace was not hot enough. The chief artisan agreed but did not know how to solve the problem. When the day came to cast the bell, the furnace temperature was still not high enough. Suddenly, the chief artisan’s daughter burst into the room and jumped into the furnace. For one moment, the fire blazed and the copper finally reached the right temperature, so the artisan fought back his grief and successfully cast the bell.

Opening hours : 9:00am until 5:00pm
Average time for this activity : 0.5 hrs

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