Explore History: Bell & Drum Tower Beijing Unveiled
Step into the heart of Beijing at the enchanting Bell and Drum Towers, nestled in No. 9 Zhonglouwan Hutong of the vibrant Dongcheng District.
These majestic landmarks stand as timeless sentinels, echoing the rich history of the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties through their ancient timekeeping traditions.
Think about it: these amazing towers first appeared in 1272 and have been given a few awesome makeovers to stay tall and impressive!
Explore Heart of Beijing
These two towers are like the beating heart of Beijing’s central area.
Let’s dive into what makes each one special:
- Drum Tower: Big and Red
This tower is a giant, standing at 46.7 meters tall and covered in bright red paint. It’s got two stories and is home to 25 massive drums. It’s not just big; it’s also beautiful, with a fancy design that includes grey tiles and shiny green edges.
- Bell Tower: Majestic in Grey
Right next to the Drum Tower, the Bell Tower rocks a cool grey color. It’s a bit taller at 47.9 meters and has two stories too. This tower keeps a huge bronze bell safe inside, along with a unique wooden frame that’s shaped like an octagon.
Both towers face from north to south and are super important for understanding Beijing’s history.
They’re not just old buildings; they’re a journey back in time to when emp
erors ruled and time was told in a way cooler than just looking at a smartphone!
Drum Tower Details: A Tower of Rhythms
Standing Tall and Colorful: The Drum Tower is super tall, stretching up to 46.7 meters!
It’s decked out in red and looks out from north to south. Imagine a building as big as a football field; that’s about how much space it takes up.
It’s got a cool double roof and is made mostly of wood, with some fancy grey tiles and green edges.
Lions, Drums, and Secrets: At the front, two stone lions guard the door.
Inside, there are 25 big drums. One of them even played at the 1990 Asian Games!
Plus, there’s a special stone called the Kirin stele that’s pretty old and important.
Every now and then, the tower fills with the sound of drumming, just like in ancient times.
This drumming used to help tell the time, with a special pattern that meant “evening drums and morning bells.”
Imagine hearing that every night!
Bell Tower Details: The Tower of Echoes
A Tower Built Strong: Right next to the Drum Tower is the Bell Tower, standing at 47.9 meters tall and made of brick and stone.
It’s got a big platform at the bottom and a tall tower on top, all covered in black tiles with green trim.
It looks like a castle with doors and windows all around and a marble railing that shines in the sun.
A Bell That Tells History: Inside, there’s a giant bronze bell that’s really heavy—like, 63 tons heavy!
It’s one of the biggest in China and has been around since 1420.
When it rings, its deep sound can be heard far away.
Long ago, it rang every morning and evening to tell everyone the time.
Both towers are not just buildings; they’re like time machines to the past.
They show us how people long ago kept track of days and celebrated important moments.
Visit the Towers: Times and Tips
Ready to explore the ancient wonders of Beijing?
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Bell and Drum Towers, from opening hours to easy travel tips!
Busy Season Fun (April 26th to October 25th)
- The doors open at 9:30 AM and close at 5:30 PM. Make sure to grab your tickets by 4:30 PM for both towers together, or by 5:00 PM if you’re choosing just one. Want to buy tickets online? Do it by 4:30 PM to get in before the last entry at 5:20 PM!
- The Drum Tower has a cool exhibit on the ground floor, open the same hours. Just remember, it’s closed on Mondays (but not on special holidays).
Quiet Season Visits (October 26th to April 25th, next year)
- This time, it’s a bit shorter: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Last chance to buy tickets for both towers is at 3:30 PM, or for one tower at 4:00 PM, with online sales ending at 3:30 PM too. Be sure to be there by 4:20 PM to get in!
- The Drum Tower’s exhibit sticks to the same hours and also takes a break on Mondays, unless it’s a holiday.
Getting There Is Easy!
- Subway Route 1: Hop on Line 8 of the Beijing Subway. Get off at Shichahai Station, leave through exit A2, then take a short walk—350 meters north for the Drum Tower or 600 meters to find the Bell Tower.
- Subway Route 2: You can also use Line 2 or 8 and get off at Gulou Dajie Station. This time, head out of exit G and walk 700 meters south for the Bell Tower or 800 meters to reach the Drum Tower.
Cool Bell and Drum Towers City Walk!
Discover the heart of Beijing with a fun walk around the iconic Bell and Drum Towers area!
1️⃣ Bell and Drum Towers: This is the spot where everyone takes awesome pictures. It’s like saying, “Meet me at the Drum Tower!” and you can really feel the heart of Beijing here.
2️⃣ Yandai Xiejie (Tobacco Pouch Street): A street full of history and yummy snacks! With old buildings all around, it’s a fun place to explore and taste some delicious treats.
3️⃣ Sugar House Cafe: Imagine sipping coffee on a rooftop, surrounded by beautiful lanterns, and seeing all of Beijing around you. You can see the Bell and Drum Towers, China Zun, and even people ice skating at Shichahai from here!
4️⃣ Freedom Land Camping Bar & Cafe: It’s decorated all festive for the New Year, making it a super cool spot for photos. The vibe on this old rooftop is just amazing.
5️⃣ & 6️⃣ Stroll around Shichahai or Beihai Park: Take a leisurely walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Both places are great for a relaxing day out.
7️⃣ Zhishanmen Street: Walking here is like stepping into a lantern festival! The street is full of lights, and you can see the White Pagoda of Beihai Park in the distance. It’s really special.
8️⃣ Jingshan Park (At the top, near Wanchun Pavilion): This park is right in the middle of Beijing and going to the top gives you the best view ever!
You can see all the famous buildings from here – like the super tall China Zun, the unique CCTV headquarters, the Forbidden City, Beihai’s White Pagoda, the Bell and Drum Towers, and more. Watching the sunset here is just beautiful.
Recommended Hotels to Stay in Bell Tower & Drum Tower Area
Fancy Option: Ancient City Old Courtyard Boutique Hotel – Ever imagined sleeping like royalty in ancient Beijing? This hotel makes that dream come true! Step back in time with the comfort of cozy beds and modern amenities. Spend your days exploring quaint streets and your nights resting like kings and queens! ($250-500/night)
Middle Option: CitiGO Hotel Nanluoguxiang Beijing – Imagine a place that looks like historic Beijing from the outside but feels super sleek inside. It’s just steps away from the charming old hutongs, and the local cuisine here will have you coming back for more! ($100-250/night)
Budget Pick: Peking Youth Hostel – On a budget but still want to soak up Beijing’s history? This is the spot! Affordable, comfortable, and close to all the cool places you’ll want to check out. All this for just $30-80 a night!
Curious about the best places to stay in Beijing? Check out this post “7 Must-Stay Locations in Beijing for an Unforgettable Trip” for top accommodation picks!
- Jingshan Park: Experience panoramic views of Beijing from the historic Jingshan Park, a peaceful oasis above the city.
- Beihai Park: Explore Beihai Park, where ancient temples and a stunning lake offer a serene escape in the heart of Beijing.
- Forbidden City: Step into the past at the Forbidden City, the palatial heart of ancient China, filled with centuries of history.
- Tiananmen Square: Discover the vast expanse of Tiananmen Square, a symbol of China’s history and power in the center of Beijing.
- Lama Temple: Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance of the Lama Temple, a beautiful and active site of Tibetan Buddhist worship.
- Confucius Temple: Visit the Confucius Temple to delve into the world of Confucianism and its profound impact on Chinese culture and education.
Q: What are the Bell and Drum Towers in Beijing?
A: The Bell and Drum Towers in Beijing are historic buildings that served as the city’s timekeeping centers in ancient times.
They are significant cultural landmarks where traditional Chinese architectural styles meet the modern cityscape.
Q: How old are the Bell and Drum Towers?
A: The Bell Tower was rebuilt in 1745 during the Qing Dynasty, although it dates back to the 13th century.
The Drum Tower, slightly older, was constructed in 1272 and underwent several reconstructions, the last major one in the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty.
Q: Can visitors climb the Bell and Drum Towers?
A: Yes, visitors can climb both the Bell and Drum Towers to enjoy panoramic views of Beijing.
Be prepared for steep stairs, especially in the Bell Tower, which leads to a magnificent view and close-up look at the ancient bell.
Q: Are there any performances at the Bell and Drum Towers?
A: Yes, traditional drumming performances are held at the Drum Tower, offering visitors a glimpse into the historical function of the towers and a taste of traditional Chinese culture.
The schedule can vary, so it’s best to check in advance.
Q: What is the significance of the Bell and Drum Towers in modern Beijing?
A: Today, the Bell and Drum Towers stand as symbols of Beijing’s rich history and cultural heritage amidst the modern urban landscape.
They are popular tourist attractions that provide insight into ancient Chinese timekeeping methods and serve as a reminder of the city’s transformation over centuries.
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