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Why Drum Tower is special ?
Drum Tower (Gulou), is situated at the northern end of the central axis of the Inner City to the north of Di'anmen Street. Originally built for musical reasons, it was later used to announce the time and is now a tourist attraction.
The Drum Tower was built in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Khan, at which time it stood at the very heart of the Yuan capital Dadu. At that time it was known as the Tower of Orderly Administration (Qizhenglou). In 1420, under the Ming Emperor Yongle, the building was reconstructed to the east f the original site and in 1800 under the Qing Emperor Jiaqing, large-scale renovations were carried out. In 1924, the name of the building was changed to the Tower of Realizing Shamefulness (Mingchilou) and objects related tot eh Eight-Power Allied Forces' invasion of Beijing and later the May 30th Massacre of 1925 were put on display. Nowadays, the upper story of the building serves as the People's Cultural Hall of the East City District.
What to explore at Drum Tower?
Located 100 meters (109 yards) south to the bell tower, it was placed on a 4-meter-high (13 feet) stone and brick base. The Drum tower is a two-story building made of wood with a height of 47 metres (154 ft). The first floor contains the China Committee for the Promotion of the Minority Art. The second floor contains the exhibition area. Originally, there was one big drum and 24 smaller ones, but only the big remains. The method of beating it is to beat it quickly for 18 times and then slowly for 18 times. Altogether there are three rounds and 108 tollings. People knock the bell and the drum 108 times, because 108 times represent one year in ancient times.
How to get to Drum Tower?
By Bus: Take bus 5, 60, 107 or 124 and get off at Gu Lou Station.
Subway Line 2 (Ring Line): get off at Guloudajie Station, get out of the station from Exit B (southwest exit), and walk south.
Or Subway Line 8: get off at Shichahai Station, get out of the station from Exit A2 (northwest exist), and walk north straightly.
- Good to combine with visit to area
- Good view and drums
- Nice tower in a very interesting neighbourhood
- History and wonderful carvings
- Worth the climb for amazing views on a clear day
Di'Anmen Wai Main Street, Beijing 100006, China
Tips for you
We visited the drum tower last week after a morning at the summer palace and lunch at Houhai lake. We walked from Houhai (through some shopping hutongs) and made our way to the drum and bell towers. There was a wide courtyard in between and we let the kids play for a while. We walked up a steep stairway to the drum tower and I was excited to see lots of drums! I had not researched this place at all and did not know what to expect but it wasn't this. There are several performances throughout the day. We caught the last one before closing at 445pm. You are able to look out and have a great view of Jingshan park, as well as Houhai and the hutongs. It gives you a great feel for what Beijing used to look like. The performance lasts about 5 minutes and is wonderful! This is a hidden gem and is worth checking out if you are in the area, for sure!
It is 46.7 meters (153 feet) high, and is also a two-storey building; the first floor contains the China Committee for the Promotion of the Minority Art. Make sure you catch the exhilarating drum performance!