Gulou (the Drum Tower), Beijing

The Beijing Drum Tower (Gulou) was built in 1272 during the reign of Yuan Dynasty emperor Kublai Khan. It was refurbished by successor dynasties and stands today as a reminder of Beijing's imperial past.

I keep working through the pictures I took on my travels to China and Vietnam. I am not as prolific as some with the camera – my shooting habits are still not a lot different than they were back in the days of film – but I still got back to Thailand with somewhat more than two thousand images I took during the six week trip. I shot the equivalent of 58 rolls of 36 exposure 35mm film, some 1.4 rolls a day on average. About right for me. In any case, after a couple of weeks looking at Vietnam pictures, I have gone back to looking at China images and found some I want to post.

I have a friend in Beijing who is living in a ping fang (平房 or one story house) with a deck on the roof that overlooks Gulou (鼓楼, the Drum Tower). We sipped tea and visited on the deck on a near perfect, early autumn Beijing afternoon. The first drum tower was built in the 13th century during the reign of Kublai Khan of the Yuan dynasty. The building in the photo was originally built in the 15th century by the Ming dynasty Yongle Emperor. The drums inside the building, of which only one remains, were used to announce the official time.


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Born in the United States, photographer, bookworm, expatriate

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