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Beijing Bell and Drum Towers

 Beijing Attractions

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Introduction to Beijing Bell and Drum Tower

The Bell and Drum Towers are located in Dongcheng District of Beijing and are two prominent landmarks of the city. Both towers were constructed in 1272 and rebuilt twice due to damage by two occasions of fire. The Bell and Drum Towers were the center of Beijing’s history during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. 

Drum Tower

The Drum Tower was first constructed in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Khan of the Yuan Dynasty. In 1420 under the orders of the Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty, the Drum Tower was rebuilt to the east of its original location. By 1800 large renovations of the Drum Tower took place under the orders of Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing Dynasty. The Drum Tower was once the time keeping center of Beijing. Water clocks and drums were installed in the Drum Tower to mark the hours of the day. There was once 24 drums equipped in the tower but unfortunately today there is only one drum that still remains. 

The Drum Tower is a two level wood building built upon a four meter high brick foundation and is 46.7 meters in height. Today the first floor of the Drum Tower is the China Committee for the Promotion of Minority Arts. As for the second floor, it is the exhibition area containing exhibits of the Drum Tower. 

Whilst visiting the Drum Tower you should not miss the opportunity to watch the Drum Performance. In ancient times the drum was beaten quickly for 18 times and slowly for 18 times to mark the hour. You can choose to climb to the top of Drum tower for a great view of drum performance. 

Performance Duration: 20 minutes
Time: Every hour from 9:30AM - 4:30PM

Bell Tower

The Bell Tower is situated 100 meters from the Drum Tower which is also in Beijing Dongcheng District. The tower was first built in the Yuan Dynasty as the part of the Wan Ning Temple, unfortunately the tower was destroyed. Under the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty the tower was reconstructed, however it was destroyed again. It was not until the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty that the Bell Tower was completely reconstructed taking two years to complete. 

The Bell Tower is 47.95 meters in height and covers an area of 6,000 square meters. The Bell Tower is made of bricks and wood and is a two storey building. Within the tower is a large copper bell known as the “King of Ancient Bells”. The bell is 7 meters in height and has a diameter of 3.4 meters and weighs a staggering 63 tons. 

Shanhaiguan Great Wall


Dianmen Wai Main Street, Dongcheng DistrictBeijing

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Travel Information

Admission Fee: 15 Yuan (Bell Tower), 20 Yuan (Drum Tower), 30 Yuan (Bell and Drum Tower)
Opening Hours: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Best Time to Visit: Suitable to visit all year round.

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Main Sights

Souvenir shops, antiques, traditional handmade crafts

Shanhaiguan Great Wall


1. Take Subway Line 2 getting off at Gulou Dajie Station, take Exit B and walk in the south direction and you will reach Bell and Drum Tower.

2. You can take bus 5, 60, 107, 124 and get off at Gu Lou Station. 

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Travel Tips 

1. Avoid visiting during summer holidays and Golden Week in October.

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Tour including Visiting Beijing Drum & Bell Towers

5-Hour Beijing Cityscape Sightseeing Group Tour

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