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Xi'an Bell Tower 西安钟楼

Xi'an Bell Tower

The Xi'an Bell Tower is located at the center of the city about a third of a mile from the Drum Tower. It is 118 feet tall (36 m) and has a square base. Built in 1384, it stood in the middle section of what is now West Boulevard, and was moved to its present site in 1582. The city was expanded in 1582 and it was considered desirable that the Bell Tower remain in the center.

According to myth, the Bell Tower has a very important function. It sits on a rather unruly dragon and keeps the city safe from earthquakes. Dragons in China have power over water. They can bring rain, floods, and can cause earthquakes. Usually they are pretty cool and use their power to help the people. But from time to time you meet a bad one and have to protect yourself. As the story goes, there was a bad earthquake in the Xi'an region and the emperor was told that a dragon had caused it. To prevent the dragon from escaping the river again, the emperor had a thousand feet of chain cast into the river and moved the Bell Tower to sit on the dragon and keep it down. There hasn't been a major earthquake in Xi'an since. So, it must work.

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Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010