Monday, April 20: Finally, on my last day in Xi’an, I wake up to sunshine. I’m glad because I have a lot I want to see today before flying back to Nanning tomorrow morning. I enjoy the buffet breakfast in the hotel, then I head out toward the Muslim Quarter. I make stops at the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower on my way there.
The Bell Tower was built in the 17th year of Hongwu (1384 AD) of the Ming dynasty. It’s named for a huge bell hung in the tower to tell the time. The tower is a mixed structure of bricks and wood, is 1370 square meters, and is 36 meters high with the architectural style of the Ming dynasty. It has undergone many repairs since 1949.
I walk around the perimeter of the tower, which sits in the middle of a roundabout, and see views in all directions. This is the view to the north.
I can see the Drum Tower to the northwest.
Looking directly west I can see the busy streets of Xi’an and the Drum Tower to the right.
The Imitated Qin Chime Bells, 39 pieces altogether, are reproduced in line with the Yuefu bells unearthed from the mausoleum of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty and the Bianbo bells excavated in Meixian and Fufeng counties of Shaanxi province.
In the Chime Bell room are some interesting Chinese paintings.
According to a placard in the room, this set of imitated chime bells includes 7 bo bells, 18 Yong bells, and 14 Niu bells. They are exquisite in decorative patterns and are in timbre. Such classical musical instruments could produce tunes of all kinds, ancient and modern, Chinese and foreign.
I adore the colorful painted ceilings in this room.
Outside, I admire the iconic flying eaves that are so perfectly Chinese.
I see the view looking south to the south gate of the city walls. My hotel is along this stretch, only a block or two from the tower. It’s the perfect location for exploring Xi’an.
I love the red doors and the carvings on the railings that make interesting shadows on the walkway.
I come full circle and see the western view again.
After leaving the Bell Tower, I walk west to the Drum Tower, built in the 13th year of Hongwu (1380 AD) of the Ming dynasty. It’s named for the huge drums laid in the tower to tell the time. The tower is also a mixed structure of bricks and wood, occupies an area of 1840 square meters, and is 34 meters high in the typical architecture of the Ming dynasty. Like the Bell Tower, it has undergone many repairs since 1949.
It just so happens that I arrive at the Drum Tower just in time to hear the drum performance.
Walking around the back rim of the Drum Tower, I can see Beiyuanmen in the Muslim Quarter. It doesn’t look quite as busy as it was last night.
From the Drum Tower, I can see some gardens and the Bell Tower to the east.
Around the north side of the Drum Tower, there is the usual bustling commerce that’s ubiquitous throughout China.
After leaving the Drum Tower, I head down and out to explore the Muslim Quarter and the Great Mosque.