Beijing Bell and Drum Towers

Opening Hours & Ticket Prices

Opening hours: 9:00am-5:00pm
Drum performance times: 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:45pm
Entrance fee: 20 CNY for Drum Tower, 30 CNY for Drum and Bell Towers
Average time for this activity: 0.5 to 1 hour

The Drum and Bell towers are situated at the northern end of the central axis of the Beijing Inner City, which are the symbol of the old city. They were first built in 1272 and rebuilt twice, they were the time-telling center of the city during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Bell and Drum Towers were initially used as musical instruments. It soon became a way for people to tell the time and a significant part in the everyday lives of residents, aiding people to work and sleep at expected times.

Drum Tower

The Drum Tower was built in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Khan. In 1420, under the Ming Emperor Yongle, the building was reconstructed to the east f the original site and in 1800 under the Qing Emperor Jiaqing, large-scale renovations were carried out. The first level of the Drum Tower is a solid square terrace four meters high, 55.6 meters long and 30 meters wide. In ancient days, the Drum Tower was the time keeping center for the whole city and was equipped with bronze clepsydras (water clocks) and drums that were beaten to mark the hours. In ancient times the upper story of the building housed 24 drums, of which only one survives.

Bell Tower

The original Bell tower was destroyed by fire. The tower we see today was built in 1747. It hosting the biggest and highest bell tower in China. The Bell Tower originally housed a huge iron bell. But because its tolling was not loud enough, this was replaced by a massive cast bronze bell over 10 inches thick that is in perfect condition today. The iron bell was moved to the back of the Drum Tower where it has remained for over 500 years. As recently as 1924, the bronze bell could be heard ringing out the 7:00 p.m. chime from a distance of over 20 kilometers.

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