Bell Tower

Bell Tower has become the symbol of the ancient Xian City since it was built in 1384. From this important landmark extend East, South, West and North Streets, connecting the Tower to the East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty.

The Change of Bell Tower’s Role in Ancient and Modern Times

According to one legend, the Bell Tower was originally built to restrain the dragon that caused an earthquake in the Ming dynasty. Actually it was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers.

Bell Tower

And the other role of the Bell Tower is timing. In early morning of ancient times, the Bell Tower had the mission of ringing the bell day after day and giving the correct time to the whole city.

Now the Bell Tower is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China.

Brief Introduction of Bell Tower

The tower is a brick and timber structure which is 36 meters high and 35.5 meters wide with its base occupying an area of 1,377 square meters. There are three layers of eaves on the external exquisite carved beams and internal is up and down layers. The engraved arcs under each eaves are dramatic masterpieces in ancient timber constructions. Appeared in the construction of Shang Dynasty, the arc is unique in the history of world construction. It not only makes the tower more beautiful, but also makes the construction firm and reduces the impact of rain on the building.

Bell Tower

What to See

Jingyun Bell (景云钟)

The original giant clock in the Bell Tower not this current one, but another one called “Jingyun Bell” which was cast in Tang Dynasty. In early Ming Dynasty, the “Jingyun Bell” was moved to the Bell Tower, but strangely it couldn’t ring any more... As for the reason, some people believe that it is ancient and spiritual and do not want to be moved, which adds a mystical air to it. In 1953, JingYun Bell moved to Xi'an Beilin Museum and is now on display in Dongting. In 1997, an imitative iron bell imitating the Jingyun Bell was hung in the Bell Tower, with the proportion of 1 to 1. The bell that had been silent for hundreds of years begins to ring again in this ancient city.

Bell Tower

Inscription (碑刻)

On the first floor of the Bell Tower, the west wall is inlaid with 3 inscriptions, and each of them tells us different stories. They are of great historical value. The first one is the inscription records about the Xian Municipal People’s Government renovating the Bell Tower in 1953; the second one is the Records of Renovation of Xian Bell Tower (重修西安钟楼记) monument written by the Shaanxi governor Zhang Kai during the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period; the third one is the Songs of Xian Bell Tower Moving Eastwards (钟楼东迁歌) written by the Shaanxi Provincial Supervision Officer Gong Maoxian.

Bell Tower 

Door & Window Relief (门窗浮雕)

Every door and window of the Bell Tower is decorated with relieves. They all have exquisite and complicated features, which show us the popular decorative art in Ming & Qing Dynasty. And each relief contains an ancient allusion.

Couplet (楹联)

On the second floor of the Xian Bell Tower, there’s a couplet on each four doorpost. They’re all very beautiful and outstanding literary works.

Performances at Bell Tower

Show time of Bianzhong (编钟表演): There are ten performances everyday on 09:00, 10:30, 11:30, 14:30, 16:00, 17:00.

Show time of Morning Bell (“晨钟”表演): There is a performance simulating the forms in ancient time that the imitative Jingyun Bell will be struck 24 times at 08:30 by thirteen archaized warriors. And the performance lasts 15 minutes.

Besides, many art exhibitions often held here all year around.

When to Visit

Bell Tower can be visited all year round.

How to Get Here

By Bus

Almost every city bus of Xian can get you here. You can take Bus 7, 8, 601, 611 or 618, etc., and get off at the Bell Tower Station.

By Metro

Take No. 2 Metro line, and get off at the Bell Tower Station.

Great Mosque of Xian

Ticket Price

Entrance Fee: CNY 35 per person


Extra CNY 10 for you to experience hitting the bell for three times.

Opening Hours

08:00-22:00 (April-October)

08:00-17:30 (November-March)

Travel Tips

The Bell Tower is close to other popular attractions, so I highly recommend you visit Drum Towers, Great Mosque, Xian Old City Wall, etc. after the Bell Tower sightseeing.

More Attractions in Xi'an