41 Zhongwan Hutong, off Gulou Dajie
HOURS: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
COST: Drum Tower: ¥20, Bell Tower: ¥15
METRO: Guloudajie (Line 2)
Standing out above the low roofs north of the Forbidden City , the Drum and Bell Towers sit on the city’s northern axis. They date from 1272 in the reign of Kublai Khan when Beijing was known as Dadu, capital of the Yuan Empire. The Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty moved the towers east of their original site in 1420, and they underwent further renovations in 1800.
Originally instruments of time keeping, the drum and bell fell silent for many years after the last emperor, Puyi, finally left the Forbidden City in 1924. The Drum Tower is now used to tell the time again, and both towers are open to the public.