Xian Bell Tower Facts
Marking the geographical center of the ancient capital Xian and enduring more than 600 years, Xian Bell Tower is the iconic building, which was used to announce the time and now turns to be a museum with cultural relics and traditional artworks, as well as amazing performances at daytime and stunning scenery at night.
Type: Sights & Landmarks, Ancient Ruins
Best Seasons: All year round
Recommended Visiting Time: 2-3 hours
Opening Hours: 8:30am-20:30pm (April 1st to October 10th) / 8:30am-18:00pm (0ctober 11th to March 31th)
Tickets: CNY 30
Address: Intersection of East Street and West Street in Beilin District of Xi'an City
Xian Bell Tower is one of the symbols of Xian City. It was built for the purpose of alerting some important things happening, such as attacks. Among all the bell buildings in China, the Xian Bell Tower is the biggest and best-preserved bell tower. A visit to the Bell Tower is strongly recommended to be taken at night when you can have a florid view from outside. From inside the Bell Tower, you can have a panoramic view of the whole of Xian City. If you are lucky, you would come across an interesting show in the Bell Tower.
Standing on a quadrate brick-wood-structured pedestal, the 36-meter tall (118 feet) Xi’an Bell Tower is 35.5 meters (116 feet) long at each side and is crowned by three-layer eaves, and a winding staircase leads you to the top of the tower inside. The Bell Tower is resplendent and magnificent, on the top of which stands a gilded bottle-shaped ornament that shines brightly in the sun. A 6-meter (20 feet) tall arched gate opens in the west, east, north, and south sides respectively, through which all traffic passes.
Dark-green glazed tiles decorate the eaves of the tower, with the carved beams and painted rafters being adorned in a royal style. The windows are delicately decorated with bas-reliefs, and each bass-relief tells a historical story.
Have you wondered why the bell tower was built for? There is a legend behind the construction of the tower. In the Tang dynasty, the earthquake always occurred in Xian and people believed that giant snake underneath the ground is the cause. To expel the snake, people built the bell tower, and every time the bell and chime ring, the misfortunes are believed to be drove away. Whether the legend is real or not, the bell later was to announce the time and emergency situations in the ancient time. During the Chinese revolution wars, the tower has even been used as a jail for political prisoners and still remained after the attack of Japanese army's bomb. Later, it was used as a central stage for the celebration of Labor’s day and National Holiday. At present, it has become an exhibition hall of the historic and cultural relics of Xian city and selected artworks of traditional Chinese painting, all of which tell the coming visitors about the story behind this ancient capital, Xian. Normally, there will be music played by ancient Chinese chime bells and the dance show featured in Tang dynasty style. Underneath it, there is a square connecting Bell Tower with Drum Tower. Since they are right next to each other, the Bell Tower and Drum Tower are always recommended to visit together.
Though the Bell Tower is not used as a timer anymore. In the heart of Xian City, it tells its own history by displaying the ancient culture relics and traditional Chinese art works as an exhibition hall. Some of these collections have the history of more than 1000 years. Besides the exhibits, The Bell Tower itself is a priceless cultural and historical relics as the example of Chinese architecture.
There are performances at the nearby Drum Tower during the day time. Each performance lasts about 10-15 mins. The performance at Drum Tower is the Tang dynasty styled dance show with the Traditional Chinese Chime and Bell music.
Located in the city center, the bell tower is easily accessible by bus and subway, and the drum tower is right close to the bell tower within 200 meters. It is about 40km away from Xian Airport to the Bell Tower and there is direct shuttle bus leaving for Bell tower from the airport, and whole duration is about 1.5 hours. Xian Railway station is also located at downtown area, only 3km from the bell tower, and taking a taxi may cost about 15min to get there. If you get to Xian from Xian North Railway Station, you can take subway line 2 from the Railway station to Zhonglou Station (钟楼站), about 14km (40min by subway).
The nearest station to the Bell tower is Zhonglou Station (钟楼站) , and the exit C is right close to the ticket office of Xian Bell Tower.
Bell Tower North Station: Take Bus 4, 12, 26, 36, 37, 229, 235, 600, 606, Tourism Bus No. 7
Bell Tower South Station: Take Bus 6, 11, 16, 26, 29, 35, 36, 46, 203, 208, 215, 603, 605, 608, 609, 616
Bell Tower East Station: Take Bus 7, 8, 47
Bell Tower West Station: Take Bus 15, 32, 43, 45, 201, 205, 215, 218, 221, 222, 251, 252, 286, 300, 604, 611, 612, 618, 622, Tourism Bus No.8/610
As the ancient capital city of China for 13 dynasties, ruled by 73 emperors, Xian has left massive cultural heritages and relics for you to explore. Within about two days, you can finish visiting the main sites, which include the incredible man-made wonder, the Terracotta Warriors, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Muslim Quarter where you can get to try the local cuisines. Besides, biking around the Ancient City Wall and tracing back the history at Shaanxi History Museum and watching the Tang Dynasty Show, all of these activities are definitely unmissable for your stay in Xian. Now, it is available to have 72 hours Visa-Free Transit in Xian, and you can go for a history and culture tour or photography tour to explore all the stunning attractions in the city even without applying for a visa.
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