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Beijing 6: Drum Tower (Gulou)

Leaving the Summer Palace I took another bus to escape from the hordes that rampage through major attractions around the city. Beijing buses are fairly efficient (more so than I have thought). Fare is just Y1. A lady who sits in the middle of the compartment sells ticket and alarms passengers of the upcoming stop. With her kindly assistance i made my way to the Drum Tower, which marked the center of the old Mongol capital Dadu. First built in 1272, it went up in flames and was rebuilt in 1420, since then it has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. I staggered up the incredibly steep steps for wide-ranging views over Beijing’s rooftops.

During the Ming period drumming was used to tell time of the day. Down the slippery steps of the tower is one of Beijing’s oldest district from which hutongs (alleys) fend off to laobaising (common people) homes. Efforts to renovate the area of authenticity unfortunately thrive for the upcoming Olympics. But still this is where you can experience the real Beijing and witness their daily happenings.

One Response

  1. Cheung Chau seems a charming place–very out of the way–but near the action. I can well understand the urge to settle there, especially if one found a quiet spot or two for reading, which from your description would be quite easy.

    I can’t help but be curious about that venerable looking drum in the Beijing Drum Tower with the broken head and seemingly coated with eons of dust and detritus. Is it as old as it looks? I have to compliment you again on the quality of your pictures–two more very nice sets.

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