Bell Tower

The Bell Tower is a classical building with carved beams and painted rafters. It stands in the center of the downtown area where the North Street, the South Street, the West Street and the West Street meet. It houses a huge bell which was originally used to strike time every morning in ancient times. This is how the tower got its name. It is the symbol of Xian and an important historical monument in Shaanxi Province.

The Bell tower was first built in Yingxiang temple in 1384, which used to mark the center of the city. It was moved to its present site in 1582 as a result of the city's expansion program. In ancient time, the emperor was referred as a "real dragon". And every emperor was afraid of being replaced by someone as "real dragon". So the Bell Tower was constructed to repress the "spirit of dragons". In order to control the surroundings areas, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of Ming Dynasty built the Bell Tower in Xi'an earlier and taller than any other one in the country. And it is the biggest and best-preserved bell tower of all the ancient ones.

The Bell Tower was built in 1582. The base of the tower is 1,337.4 square meters in size, 8.6 meters high and 35.5 meters wide. The whole building, 36 meters above ground, is a brick-and-wood structure. Three storeys of eaves can be seen from the exterior of the building, but where are only two storeys inside. The eaves are supported by colored Dou gong, a traditional structural system in which brackets are joined with columns and crossbeams. The use of Dou gong, made the whole building firm and beautiful. The tower is in the architectural form of timber structure with triple water drips and a pavilion roof. It is covered with dark green glazed tiles, applied with gold size and painted in dark green, looking splendid in green and gold. There is an iron bell of the Ming Dynasty in the tower with 2.5 tons in weight. In the ancient time, the bell in the tower was stricken to tell people time in the morning.

Now, there is a large square between the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower named Bell-drum Tower Square. It was built in 1996 and divided into three hierarchies-underground, ground and over ground. Its grassland is very green while flowers are colorful. There is a modern mall under the square named Century Ginwa Mall. On the northern side, the famous Tong Sheng Xiang Beef and Lamb Paomo Restaurant and Da Fa Chang Dumpling Restaurant are located there. Both are famous restaurants in Xian.

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