The Bell Tower, is a stately traditional building, that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. 626-year-old Xi’an Bell Tower, one of the top ten attractions in Xi’an, is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China. The tower was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers.
The wooden tower, which is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China, is 36 meters (118 feet) high. It stands on a brick base 35.5 meters (116.4 feet) long and 8.6 meters (28.2 feet) high on each side. During the Ming Dynasty, Xi’an was an important military town in Northwest China, a fact that is reflected in the size and historic significance.
The Bell Tower is resplendent and magnificent, on the top of which stands a gilded bottle-shaped ornament which shines brightly in the sun. A 6-meter (20 feet) tall arched gate opens in the west, east, north and south sides respectively, through which all traffic passes.
Dark-green glazed tiles decorate the eaves of the tower, with the carved beams and painted rafters being adorned in a royal style. The windows are delicately decorated with bass-reliefs, and each bass-relief tells a historical story.
A fenced-in area around the tower is planted with grass and flowers. In early spring, the tender plum blossoms and bright new grass surrounding provide a harmonious contrast. Not far from the tower, modern shopping malls and a brightly decorated square reveal the prosperity of the city. When night falls, lanterns hung from the eaves illuminate the tower, making it even more enchanting.
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.