The Drum Tower of Xi’an, located
in the heart of Xi'an in Shaanxi province of China, along with the
Bell Tower it is a symbol of the city. Erected in 1380 during the
early Ming Dynasty, it stands towering above the city center and
offers incredible view of Xi'an.
The Drum Tower got its name from the huge drum located within the
building. In contrast to the Bell Tower, where bell was stricken
at dawn, 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. The impressive arrays of drums are
only on show and visitors are not allowed to touch any of them.
But there is an extra drum near the front entrance where visitors
can pose for pictures for a small fee.
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.
The Bell Tower of Xi'an, 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.
The tower base is square and it covers an area of 1,377 square meters.
The tower is a brick and timber structure and close to 40 meters
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.