Also known as the Zhenyuan Tower or Jingyuan Tower, Zhangye Bell & Drum Tower is located at a crossroad of four main streets - East Street, South Street, West Street, and North Street - which stretch to four different directions respectively.
Zhangye Bell & Drum Tower, the biggest drum tower in the Hexi Corridor of the silk road district, was built in 1507 during the Ming Dynasty. In 1648 during the Qing Dynasty, it was destroyed by war. In 1668, Zhang Yong, the superintendent of Gansu, rebuilt the bell and drum tower.
Zhangye Bell & Drum Tower consists of the foundation and a three-storey pavilion. The hathpace is 32 meters wide and 9 meters high, and it is 21 meters from the bottom of the hathpace to the top of the pavilion. Some say that the tower is so high that it stretches into the clouds.
There is a decussate hole inside the foundation which points east, west, south and north and links with the four main streets. On each side of the pavilion, there is a stele which describes different nature scenes in Zhangye and its vicinity. Presently, the construction houses a massive bronze bell on the southeast corner of the tower, which is 1.3 meters high with a diameter of 1.15 meters . The bell weighs 600 kilograms and is delicately decorated with patterns, such as apsaras flying, dragons and tigers. In ancient China, the bell was usually used to give the correct time or give an alarm of fire.
Zhangye Bell & Drum Tower is one of the smaller highlights for a visit to the city. It has been considered a symbolic construction of the Zhangye old city and is a nice way to fill out a day of sight-seeing.