Located in the historic Hutong quarter, the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower are two symbolic buildings that marked the rhythm of life in ancient Beijing.
As well as being important musical instruments in ancient China, the drum and the bell have been an important part of history for the Chinese population as they were used to create a work and life routine when there was no other way to keep track of time.
During the Han Dynasty, (206 to 220 BC) sunrise was announced by the ringing of a bell, while the sunset was announced by the sound of a drum. Since then, these rudimentary "clocks" were placed in all the cities around the country.
Standing at 46.7 metres, the Drum Tower is a colourful two-story building in which you can see the 25 drums that were used in the past to mark the hours of the day.
After the last emperor left the Forbidden City the time was no longer announced from the Drum and Bell Tower, but you can now watch a show with experts playing the drums for 15 minutes four times a day.
Located 100 metres in front of the Drum Tower, the Bell Tower is a robust stone and brick building that measures 47.9 metres tall. On the second floor, there is a huge bronze bell 7.02 metres high that is 25 centimetres thick and weighs 63 tons.
The enormous bell, capable of producing an impressive sound that extends up to a distance of more than 20 kilometres, joyfully announced the arrival of 7 pm until 1924 but it has since been forced to remain silent as it contemplates the city from the heights.
An interesting visit
Before visiting it's advisable to check the times of the performances that take place in the Drum Tower so as not to miss the show.