The Bell and Drum Tower, also called Zhenyuan Tower or Jingyuan Tower, was built in imitation of Xian's Bell Tower and is the biggest drum tower in the Hexi Corridor of the Silk Road zone. Bell and Drum Tower was built in 1507 during the Ming Dynasty. However, it was destroyed by the war in 1648 during the Qing Dynasty. In 1668, Zhang Yong, the superintendent of Gansu, rebuilt the Bell and Drum Tower.
This tower has three stories which is a traditional Chinese architecture with plentiful and splendid cornice and fine carving. The hathpace is 32 meters (105 feet) in width and 9 meters (30 feet) height, and it is 21 meters (69 feet) in length from the bottom of the hathpace to the top of the pavilion. Somebody once said that the tower looks as if it has stretched into the clouds, because the tower is very high.
Inside the foundation, there is a decussate hole which points the directions. It points east, west, south and north that link with the four main streets. On each side of the pavilion, there is a stele which describes different nature scenes in Zhangye and its vicinity. At present, the construction has a huge bronze bell on the southeast corner of the tower. This big bell is 1.3 meters (4.2 feet) in height with a diameter of 1.15 meters (3.77 feet). The bell weighs 600 kilograms and is decorated with various patterns, such as apsaras flying, dragons and tigers. In ancient China, the bell was to tell the time or served as the fire-alarm clock.
For traveling, the Bell and Drum Tower is one of the highlights in Zhangye City. It has been considered a symbolic construction of Zhangye City.
Recommended Time for a Visit: Half to an hour
In the centre of Zhangye City, it’s convenient to walk there. Or take Bus No.1 and get off at Bell and Drum Tower Station.
1. Accommodation: Around this tower, many hotels or hostels can be found. Most of them are equipped very well.
2. Dining: To the northeast of the tower, there is a night market of local snacks. Various cooked wheaten food are sold. The roast meat there is also a good choice.
3. The Great Buddha Temple is close to the Bell and Drum Tower.