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History and Layout of Xian Bell Tower

Located in the city center of Xian, the bell tower can be easily found on the map at the intersection of four main avenues of east, west, south and north. It is the iconic site of City Xian, the the largest and well-preserved ancient tower in China.

First built in the Tang Dynasty and then rebuilt and renovated in the early Ming Dynasty (1394), the bell tower at present has endured over 600 years. In 1582, the tower was moved about 1000 meters away to the exact city center from the original site. The whole timber-brick building covers an area of 1,377 square meters (14,820 sq ft) with a bronze-cast bell, and the tower was named after it.

It has two floors and 3 layers of eaves. Both of the two floors offer an amazing panoramic view of Xian city. The solid gray bricks hold underneath the tower with red pillars and dark green tiles, like an abstract Christmas tree. When it is lit up in the evening, the tower glows and looks magnificent in the backdrop of the dark blue sky.

Even the building itself has been rebuilt in the alternation of dynasties, the original bell with inscription of Tang’s emperor has been well kept and moved to Steles Forest Museum for preservation. Instead, another similar bell was cast and placed in the north-western corner of the tower till the present.

Xian Bell Tower Xian Bell Tower at Daytime and Night

Legend and Function of Xian Bell Tower

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.

Xian Bell Tower The Bell and Interior of Xian Bell Tower

Things to Do at Xian Drum Tower and Bell Tower

Appreciate the Cultural Relics and Artworks

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.

Watch the Traditional Performance

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.

Performance at Drum Tower: 9:30 10:15 11:00 11:45 14:00 14:45 15:30 16:20 (Updated in Sept 2019)

*Note: the info above is only for your reference. Please contact us to inquiry about the actual performing time in different season.

Models of Xian Bell Tower and Drum Tower Xian Bell Tower Traditional Tea Art Wares Exhibition at Bell Tower

Enjoy the Stunning Nightscape

This iconic place is so beautiful in the evening when it was all lit up. It is a great people-watching place as all ages come to walk around the square, to take pictures, sit, relax and just hang out. You can also get to the towers, from which you can enjoy the panoramic nightscape of the whole city, modern and ancient, traditional and creative.

Recommended Xian Tours

- 2 Days Xian City Break
- 3 Days Classic Xian Tour
- 4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking

- 6 Days Classic Beijing Xian High-speed Train Tour

Xian Bell Tower Xian Nightscape

Entrance Fee and Opening Time

Opening Time: 8:30am-20:30pm (April 1st to October 10th) / 8:30am-18:00pm (0ctober 11th to March 31th)

Note: The ticket office opens till 20:00pm ((April 1st to October 10th) or 17:30 (0ctober 11th to March 31th)

Entrance Fee: 30 CNY (Bell Tower Only), 50 CNY (Bell Tower and Drum Tower combo ticket)

Nearby Attractions

Xian Drum Tower 西安鼓楼 Pinyin: xī ān gǔ lóu

▶ Address: To the West of Bell Tower, at West Street, Lianhu District, Xian City 西安市莲湖区西大街钟楼西300米路北

▶ Entrance Fee: CNY 30

As the sister building of Xian Bell Tower, Xian Drum tower is about 200 meters away from the Bell tower, across the Bell and Drum Tower square. This timber-brick drum tower was built in 1380 in the Ming dynasty and is used as a museum now. It is about 34 meters (112 feet) high and 53 meters long (172 feet), covering an area of 1998.8 square meters, with two floor, mainly in red and yellow. The roof is covered with gray tiles with trimmed edges, and the foundation is with no other decorations.When night falls, the whole drum tower is magnificent and solemn. A spectacular panorama view of the Xian center is just underneath your feet, and the Muslim Quarter is right behind it.

Xian Drum Tower The Array of Drums Outside the Drum Tower

Ancient City Wall 西安古城墙 Pinyin: xī ān gǔ chéng qiáng

▶ Address: South Street, Beilin District, Xian City 西安市碑林区南大街

▶ Entrance Fee: CNY 54

1.6km away from the Bell Tower (about 20min on foot), the ancient city wall of Xi'an is the oldest and most complete ancient city wall built in the world, and it has witnessed the history of the whole ancient capital Xi'an. Its circumference is 13.74 kilometers and it used to be a military defense facility, including moat, bridge, gate, arrow tower, corner tower, enemy tower, bell tower and so on. At present, you can choose to ride a bicycle along the ancient city wall and enjoy the cityscape from the ancient wall. It takes about two hours to complete one ride.>>Learn More about Ancient City Wall

Ancient City Wall Ancient City Wall

Muslim Quarter 回民街 Pinyin: huí mín jiē

▶ Address: No. 1 Huimin Street, West Street, Lianhu District, Xi'an City 西安市莲湖区西大街1号回民街街口

▶ Entrance Fee: Free

Right behind the Drum Tower, the Muslim Quarter in Xian downtown is actually a block consists of couples of streets for over 1,000 years old. It is very famous for its abundant delicious local Xian snacks and rich culture of ancient immigration. Diverse food, hospitable people, characteristic buildings in Ming and Qing dynasties, traditional mosques, make this block a must-go place for tourists from home and abroad. You can try the Featured Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup, dumplings with spicy and soar soup, Chinese hamburger, and mutton kebab, etc. More than 300 sorts of food are selling here, which makes itself a fantastic site for numerous foodies.>>Learn More about Muslim Quarter

- 2 Days Xian City Break (Pick Up from Hotel, Train Station or Airport)

- 3 Days Xian Mount Huashan Leisure Tour (Best for Families and Seniors)

- 4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking

Muslim Quarter Vendors at Muslim Quarter

How to Get to Xian Bell Tower

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).

Useful Link:Xian Airport to Xian Downtown

Bell Tower Location Map Bell Tower Location Map (Click to Enlarge)

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.

By Bus

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

Travel with China Discovery

If you book a tour from China Discovery, our skilled driver and knowledgeable guide will pick you up at the airport or railway station and escort you to your hotels, restaurant, the pier and other tourist destinations. You won’t need to worry about the complicated transportation anymore and just focus on sightseeing.>>Contact us now

How to Plan Your Xian Tour

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.

If you have more time, you can head to Luoyang, Hukou Waterfall, and the famous Mt. Huashan, which is about 120km away from the city area. Besides, you can start your silk road trip from the terminal Xian and travel along the route Marco Polo has visited, or you can regard Xian as your midway in China and start your trip from Beijing, Shanghai and even Lhasa to the west of Xian. China Discovery has designed many classic China tour packages including Xian for you. Let us customize one for you.>>Contact Us Now

Top-Recommended Xian Tour

- 2 Days Xian City Break

- 5 Days Beijing Xian Highlights Tour by High Speed Train

- 7 Days Xian Mount Hua Zhangjiajie National Park Tour

Travel with China Discovery

If you book a tour from China Discovery, our skilled driver and knowledgeable guide will pick you up at the airport or railway station and escort you to your hotels, restaurant, the pier and other tourist destinations. You won’t need to worry about the complicated transportation anymore and just focus on sightseeing.>>Contact us now

Xian Attractions

Xian Attractions

Recommended Xian Tours

Top 3 Xian tours chosen by most customers to explore Xian in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Terracotta Warriors in Xian
3 Days Classic Xian Tour (Best Highlights Plus Enjoyable Pace)

Xian

Looking West Peak from South Peak on Huashan
4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking (Most Recommended)

Xian / Mount Huashan

Our guests biking on the Ancient City Wall
2 Days Xian City Break (Pick Up from Hotel, Train Station or Airport)

Xian

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >