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The Drum Tower Park, also known as Gulou Park, draws its name from its proximity to the famous Drum Tower. It is a piece of grassland with a large pool situated right in the heart of the busy city. It is a great place to relax under the lush green trees and breathe in life with a smile.
Few people can be seen in the park during the daytime but the evenings add a new character to the place. The lively greenery then draws children, couples and families who enjoy spending time in a little piece of heaven amidst a busy locality.
Things to do
The park is a great way to take a break. Moreover, the best advantage is how conveniently it is located. Situated at the very center of the downtown, it is just beside the famous Drum Tower and the Bell Pavilion, subway, restaurants and many other tourist attractions. It is also one of the largest free English corners in Nanjing. Many Chinese and Westerners gather in the park every Saturday at around 7.30 am to talk in English about a variety of topics.
The park offers a great view of its neighboring Drum Tower which was built in 1392 during the reign of Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty. This was destroyed and rebuilt several times through history. The structure that we see now was a creation during the end of the Qing Dynasty. However, the elevated brick pedestal that forms the foundation on which the Drum Tower stands, had been there since the Ming Dynasty. It measures 8.9 m in height, 44.4 m from east to west, and 22.6 m from south to north. Three cylindrical passageways stand at the center. These were meant to let people pass. Originally, there were two large drums, 24 small drums and other musical instruments in the Tower.
However, today there is just a single large but impressive drum remaining on the top of the tower. Although now the drums serve as a mere relic from the days gone by, in the ancient ages it did serve a special purpose. The beatings of the drums accompanied the arrival of emperors. The sound also was usually used to give directions for the change of the night watches. In rare instances, they acted as a warning, alerting the people of an impending danger.
The tower has four window lattices through which people can enjoy a view far into the distance. That is the reason why this tower is also known as the ‘Good View Tower'.
24 large stone pillars stand around the tower. The four walls on the four sides are red in color and the total covered area is 880 sq m. In 1923, the nationalist government of China planned to construct a park that used the Drum Tower as its title and thus was born the beautiful Drum Tower Park. There is a lovely little tea and snack house at the upper wooden part of the Tower. This is the place where the visitors can enjoy the blissful quietude along with Chinese handicrafts, calligraphy, etc.
Like most tourist spots in China, a beautiful legend attaches itself to the hexagonal Bell Pavilion also constructed during the Ming Dynasty. There is a huge bronze bell and a memorial hall inside it. A popular belief is that this hall was built in memory of two daughters of an artisan. Legend has it that the emperor ordered an artisan to cast a bell, failing which he would be executed. No matter how much he tried, the artisan was unable to create that right blend of metals for bronze. One day, when his two daughters were playing around him, an accident happened. The siblings threw themselves into the smelter. The girls lost their lives but in the process miraculously perfected the alloy. The artisan’s life was saved and later on a memorial hall was built commemorating this filial sacrifice.