Bell Tower of Xi'an

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The modern look of the Bell Tower at night, with skyscrapers behind it.
The Bell Tower at night in 2007.
An old black and white picture of the Bell Tower with a lot of Chinese people in traditional clothes.
Xi'an Bell Tower in approximately 1910.
The jingyun bell, cast in 711 during the Tang Dynasty, 247 cm high and 6,500 kg.

The Bell Tower of Xi'an (Chinese: 西安钟楼), built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty, is a symbol of the city of Xi'an and one of the grandest of its kind in China. The Bell Tower also contains several large bronze-cast bells from the Tang Dynasty. The tower base is square and it covers an area of 1,377 square meters. The tower is a brick and timber structure and close to 40 meters high.

There are several legends regarding the Bell Tower, one of them tells:

In Ming Dynasty, several earthquakes struck Guanzhong area, thousands were dead and injured. Then a legend appeared: There was a great river flowing across the center of Xi'an City. A dragon in the river was always active and caused trouble, so an earthquake occurred. An official of Xi'an government believed these words, so he ordered the blacksmiths of the whole city to make a several thousand feet of long iron chain in order to lock the dragon and sink it to river. He then ordered 5,000 craftsmen to repair the Bell Tower day and night in order to use the tower to restrain the dragon. He believed this would suppress the dragon firmly under the river and so it would no longer be active and cause trouble again. After establishing the Bell Tower, earthquakes never occurred in Xi'an again.

— [1]

According to another legend:

The forefather of Ming Dynasty named Zhu Yuanzhang was born into a poor family and his parents died early. He depended on tending sheep for others when he was very little. When he grew up, he left home and became a monk. When he became the emperor, he was afraid that the real emperor ("dragon son of heaven"-means king sent from heaven, a dragon is the symbol of the emperor) in the country somewhere will fight for the throne with him. He then ordered to build the bell towers to suppress the "dragon power". Xi'an was the emperor city in ancient times and it was the place of emperor's throne and the "dragon power" was very strong of course. Zhu Yuanzhang was afraid, so the Bell Tower in Xi'an was built not only quickly, but also very tall.

— [1]

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Coordinates: 34°15′40″N 108°56′31″E / 34.261°N 108.942°E / 34.261; 108.942