It was 22 April 2013, a rainy day, we started early from our hotel. As I being an Archeological lover, though we are not so familiar about the destination, we have opted for the Forest of steles (it has 7 exhibition halls displaying 3000 steles). We took a bus to Forest of steles (碑林) and walked all the way long for about 20 minutes. Later we roamed around observing the streets and tried some local cuisines. After reaching the destination it was piao liang (beautiful in Chinese) all the trouble we took to reach this place has looked nothing. Before we left to Drum and Bell tower of Xi’an, we went to City wall of Xian and spent some good time there till 5pm.
Since our hotel was near to Bell Tower and Drum Tower. While walking to our hotel at nights on 20 & 21. We discovered that it was more magnificent and spectacular at night. So we planned our visit at night time.It was 6.30 pm since we reach the Bell tower, By the time we reach there it was lit-up. We were awestruck with beauty of these magnificent buildings at night.
History of the Bell Tower of Xi’an (Chinese: 西安钟楼), built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty, is a symbol of the city of Xi’an and one of the grandest of its kind in China. The Bell Tower also contains several large bronze-cast bells from the Tang Dynasty.
Stories behind the tower:
There are several legends regarding the Bell Tower, one of them tells: In Ming Dynasty, several earthquakes struck Guanzhong area, thousands were dead and injured. Then a legend appeared: There was a great river flowing across the center of Xi’an City. A dragon in the river was always active and caused trouble, so an earthquake occurred. An official of Xi’an government believed these words, so he ordered the blacksmiths of the whole city to make a several thousand feet of long iron chain in order to lock the dragon and sink it to river. He then ordered 5,000 craftsmen to repair the Bell Tower day and night in order to use the tower to restrain the dragon. He believed this would suppress the dragon firmly under the river and so it would no longer be active and cause trouble again. After establishing the Bell Tower, earthquakes never occurred in Xi’an again.
According to another legend:
The forefather of Ming Dynasty named Zhu Yuanzhang was born poor and his parents passed away early. He depended on tending sheep for others when he was very little. When he grew up, he left home and became a monk. When he became the emperor, he was afraid that the real emperor (“dragon son of heaven”-means king sent from heaven, a dragon is the symbol of the emperor) in the country somewhere will fight for the throne with him. He then ordered to build the bell towers to suppress the “dragon power”. Xi’an was the emperor city in ancient times and it was the place of emperor’s throne and the “dragon power” was very strong of course. Zhu Yuanzhang was afraid, so the Bell Tower in Xi’an was built not only quickly, but also very tall.
Walking towards Drum tower through an underground access: After an hour or so we went to Drum tower through an underground access.Once we Reached Drum tower we were awestruck with the beauty of this building. It transformed into a completely new place. Lights played a major role in displaying its architecture and beauty.
History of the Drum Tower (西安鼓楼): Along with the Bell Tower it is a symbol of the city. Erected in 1380 during the early Ming Dynasty.
The Drum Tower got its name from the huge drum located within the building. Drum was beat at sunset to indicate the end of the day. On the Drum Tower’s first floor, lies a hall which hangs many large drums. Each was decorated with intrinsic and beautiful Chinese writing, which symbolizes good fortune.
Inside the Drum Tower there is also a drum museum, where a variety of drums are on display, some of which can be dated back thousands of years. There is a drum show performed here every day. The top of the tower commands a panoramic view of the city.Visitors can go upstairs to the second floor, and enjoy the views around the Drum Tower. Meanwhile, you will notice that there are twenty-four drums in the north and south sides of the Drum Tower. These drums stand for the Twenty-four Solar Terms which is a kind of weather calendar created by the Chinese ancients in order to guide the agricultural production.
In modern times, the Drum Tower is not used as a timer any more, but there are some new attractions for visitors to enjoy. In the year of 1996, a new drum, covered by a whole piece of cowhide was given a place on the Drum Tower. It is the biggest drum in China at present.
I can assure you that going there during the night is an awesome experience. I spent around 1hour taking Pictures. My friends were like “gash! When will you finish?” But the time I spent really paid me off. I’ve captured some terrific pictures.After finishing the photo session we went to explore the local foods in the Beiyuanmen muslim street .