Xian Drum Tower, China

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Drum Tower

In the ancient City Xian, opposite to the Bell Tower is another ancient building - the Drum Tower.

It is half a kilometer between the two towers. They are both in the civic center of Xian, the city is also called Changan during the Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907A.D.).

At the time people knew the correct time by the signal from the Drum Tower. The bell is struck during the daybreak and when the sunset the drum is beaten. "The evening drum and morning bell" makes the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower like a couple of twins. They take turns to give the correct time and add mien to each other.

The Drum Tower was built 1380, four years earlier than the Bell Tower. The area of the tower base is 738.55 square meters larger and it is 33 meters high than the Bell Tower. It is grand and unsophisticated as the Bell Tower.

The Drum Tower body is in rectangle shape, and it has two layers up and down. Its base seat is 38 meters wide, 52.6 long and 7.7 meters high. It was build completely with green bricks. Both towers are 6 meters height are allow people and for cars to go through.

When the evening comes, the drum are beaten, this set the warning tone for all the people in the city that they should start to go home, and the enforcement of martial law will soon take place. All the street vendors and pedestrians on the street will have to get ready and go home at once.

After the drum is beaten, the officers and soldiers will patrol the street to make sure no one walk on the city streets in the evening. Signals from the drum and the bell is the method that imperial court maintained the public order in Ming Dynasty (1386 ~ 1644A.D.).

In the 1960s, the local government renovated the entire Drum Tower. The main structure has two layers, up and down layers. There are seven rooms in the front and inside there are three others respectively. The corridors are all around. The outer eaves are decorated with dark green arc and it makes the Drum Tower looks clear and beautiful.

Under the third eaves of the Drum Tower, there is a tablet written by Emperor Qianlong (1736~1796A.D.) for the Drum Tower, when the renovation of the tower is completed. The another tablet is written by an intellectual named Liyunkuan of the same dynasty. Due to the different styles and specialty of the two tablets, many visitors often observed and appreciated them carefully.

In Ch'ing Dynasty, they stopped using the drum and bell for time, it was use only for if there is a war, they were used to send warnings. When the invention of clocks and watches come upon, the bell and the drum become lesser important. Nowadays, to the people in the city the "evening drum and morning bell" is only the events in the past.

In recent years, the Xian government tried to balance the development of the ancient and new constructions in the city, trying to let them stand in harmonious proportion. A large square was build in front of the Drum Tower as if the ancient city wore a new dress. Surrounded the towers are modern buildings; such as new hotels, shopping plazas, restaurants, and office building. If you want to experience and imagine the brilliant years of the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower, it will be your excellent choice!