The view of the Bell Tower (钟楼 or Zhonglou) also used to be great from my friend’s deck where I took the photo of the Drum Tower that was my last post. Unfortunately, the city of Beijing recently built a tower for power lines that sits directly between the deck and the Bell Tower. Sort of spoils the view. Alas. This image was taken from ground level.
The Bell Tower sits across a small, open plaza from the Drum Tower. In this late afternoon photo, the sun is low in the sky and tourists have headed back to their hotels. The plaza becomes a comfortable place for neighborhood people to hang out and relax. Talk about sitting in the shadow of history!
The first Bell Tower was built in the 13th century, but the building was destroyed a few years later, as was the second tower built to replace it. The building now standing was completed in 1745 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty. Of all the monuments that remain of Beijing’s imperial past, this one may be my favorite.