Bell Tower, Xian

Bell Tower, Xian (must see)

The wooden Bell Tower in Xian is the largest and best preserved bell tower in China. It stands at the very center of the city at the intersection of the four main streets: North, South, East and West Avenues. The Bell Tower was constructed in 1384 during the reign of the Ming Dynasty and is a symbol of Xian.

According to the legend, during the earlier years of Ming Dynasty, there were frequent earthquakes in the region near Xian. It was believed that the earthquakes were caused by a dragon turning over and over in the river under the city.

The Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, felt very anxious and wanted to subdue the dragon. The Taoist priests suggested to build a bell tower at the center of the city as the sound of a bell is considered the voice of heaven which scares the dragon. The emperor took the advice and ordered to build the biggest bell tower in the country.

The Bell Tower is 36 meters high. It stands on a 9 meter high and 36 meter long brick base. Similar to other Chinese clock towers, Xian Bell Tower was mainly used for time reporting and publishing news in ancient times.

It has also been used for many other purposes in history. During the 1911 revolution, the republic rebels fought fiercely with the Qing imperial army deployed here. In 1927, a cinema was opened here by a student who came back studying in the United States. This was the first cinema in Xian history. During the World War II, the Bell Tower became an alarm station for warning the Japanese air raids because of its high terrain.

Today the Bell Tower is open to public as a museum. It is particularly beautiful at night when lanterns hung from the eaves light up the tower.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Xian. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Bell Tower on Map

Sight Name: Bell Tower
Sight Location: Xian, China (See walking tours in Xian)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Xian, China

Create Your Own Walk in Xian

Create Your Own Walk in Xian

Creating your own self-guided walk in Xian is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Shopping Streets Tour

Shopping Streets Tour

Xian is the former starting point of the ancient Silk Road. It was here that foreign traders came to do business and procure local goods, like Chinese tea, silk and porcelain - all were much sought after internationally, for centuries.

Although the commercial center in China has moved to its coastline in recent years, Xian is still an amazing place where you can do some quality shopping,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Xian Introduction Walking Tour

Xian Introduction Walking Tour

Xian became a cultural and political center of China in the 11th century BC and was the capital city of eleven imperial Chinese dynasties.

For a western comparison, Xian closely resembles Rome. At the beginning of the first millennium, there were two major powers sitting at the ends of the civilized world, the Roman Empire in the west and the Han Dynasty in the east, each commanding roughly the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles
Historical Religious Sites

Historical Religious Sites

Situated at the one end of the historical Silk Road, Xian for centuries has been a melting pot of different cultures and faiths, seeing traders from all parts of Asia come to do business. Many foreigners eventually settled here, bringing along their cuisine, customs and religious practices.

Hence the number of pagodas, Buddhist and Taoist temples, as well as mosques found in Xian, some of...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles