DAY 2 – BELL TOWER, Xian, China
After the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, we taxied back to the city centre of Xian. Before dinner, we decided to pay the beautiful Bell Tower a proper visit. Situated at the heart of a roundabout, the Bell Tower could only be accessed via an underground passage. We paid the admission and climbed the stair up to the podium deck of the building. Ornate architectural carving, including the magnificent window screens, were well restored. Since construction in 1384 during the Ming Dynasty, the Bell Tower had been restored a number of times. The tower was damaged in the Second World War, and since then five restorations had taken place to restore the building into its former glory. Originally built to house the bells to announce time for the city, Xian’s Bell Tower had also performed multiple functions throughout history: stage for public announcement, military beacon, temporary prison, and even the first ever film cinema in Xian. We stayed on the podium deck for quite some time to admire the architecture and the urban scenery at all four directions, until we were urged by hunger to leave for a dumpling dinner nearby at a traditional restaurant called De Fa Chang (德發長).
Bell Tower in the centre of the roundabout with Drum Tower in the background.
Close up of the colourful timber architectural elements of the Bell Tower.
Across the street from the roundabout stands the equally important Drum Tower.
The Bell Tower and roundabout in 1960.
The beam and purlin system that supports the big roof of Bell Tower.
Close up of the beams and purlins.
Walking out to the deck of the upper level.
A smaller version of the famous Jingyun Bell (cast in AD711 during Tang Dynasty) was on display on the Bell Tower.
Stair back down to the base of the Bell Tower.
Bell and Drum Tower Square adjacent to the Bell Tower roundabout.
The Drum Tower as seen from the Bell and Drum Tower Square.
Dumpling dinner at De Fa Chang Restaurant.