Friday, January 15, 2010

Xi'an's ´drum and bell tower

The Xi'an drum tower was built by the first emperor of the Ming dynasty. The 34 m two-storey tower was built without using a single nail!
In China drums were not only used as an alarm in emergency situations, but also to signal the time. Along the north and south side there are 24 drums each one symbolizing a period of the ancient solar calender:

Here a close up:

Not only was there a small museum inside (you can see a stone drum here):

but we were also lucky enough to enjoy some musical performances:

Not far from the drum tower, in the heart of Xi'an, is the bell tower. The bell tower marks the geographical centre of the ancient capital of the Ming dyndasty. Main streets to the East, South, West, and North connect the tower with the four main gates of the city wall. Whereas the drums were beaten at sun set, the bell int the bell tower was struck at dawn. When the Tang dynasty bell fell silent (for whatever reasons that happened - I'm at a loss here and we didn't go to see the old Tang bell in the 'Forest of Stone Stelae Museum' so I just have to believe the story) a new one was cast during the Ming dynasty:

Here, too, a small museum could be found inside the tower and musical performances went on:

Enjoy a video the drums and bells of Xi'an:

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