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Drum Tower

Nanjing Drum TowerThe Drum Tower (Gulou) is situated roughly in the center of Nanjing, on a traffic circle on Beijing Xilu. The Tower was built in the 15th year of the reign of Hongwu during the Ming Dynasty (1382). Afterward, it was destroyed and rebuilt for several times. The existing structure was built at the end of the Qing Dynasty. The elevated stand of brick on which Drum Tower is rested is the original one of the Ming Dynasty. It is 8.9 meters high, 44.4 meters from east to west, and 22.6 meters from south to north. In the middle are three cylinder-shaped passageways from east to west for people to pass through. On either side of the front wall is a stone stairway leading to the stand surface where there is a rectangular pavilion with a gable and hip roof. Behind the two pavilions stands a two-storied tower with double eaves and a gable and hip roof, that is, the Drum Tower. It has three bays, with a length of 13.77 meters, a depth of 10.67 meters and a height of over 30 meters. On the four sides are window lattices by which people can look far into the distance; thus it is also called "Good View Tower".

The Drum Tower is a beautiful classical two story building set amidst a pretty and secluded garden, the lower floor is an arch beamless hall and the upper floor is a wooden structure with double eaves. There is also a lovely little tea and snack house up here, which is usually blissfully quiet!

Around the tower there are 24 large stone pillars. The walls on the four sides are red in color. The total area is 880 square meters. The scale of the building is very unusual in Chinese architecture. In 1923 the place was remodeled into a park. The Tower originally housed two large drums, 24 small drums and other musical instruments. Today there is only one large but impressive drum remaining on the top of the tower. The drums were used to announce the arrival of the emperor, and also were usually beaten to give directions for the change of the night watches and, in rare instances, to warn the populace of impending danger.

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