About 500 meters northwest of the Bell Tower stands another magnificent building, the Drum Tower. It was built in 1380, four years earlier than the Bell Tower. There used to be a huge drum in the tower which told the time at dusk; hence, its name the Drum Tower. The bell in the Bell Tower and the drum in the Drum Tower have been referred to as “the Morning Bell” and “the Dusk Drum”. Later, the drum was no longer used to tell time but only to give warnings in times of war.
Situated in the Da Ci'en Temple, about four kilometers from the urban center, the Dayan Pagoda (also called Da Ci'en Temple Pagoda) is one of the famous Buddhist pagodas in China. The five-story pagoda, 60 meters high, was brought into completion in 652 A.D.. However, the winds of war in the years to come brought the pagoda almost to ruins, which in turn resulted in the construction of a seven-storey structure with a height of 64 meters. The pagoda is characterized by its towering height, structural compactness, imposing appearance and unaffected style. It is indeed a good reflection of people's wisdom and talent in ancient China.
The forest of Stone Tablets Museum, a courtyard-styled structure, is situated on the site of the Confucian Temple on Sanxue Street, Xi'an. It served as the Imperial Ancestral Temple in the Tang Dynasty, and later became the Confucian Temple in the Song Dynasty. In 1950, it was extended into the museum that greets us today. One many wonder why its two gates are facing east and west respectively instead of facing south as most of the traditional ones. As a matter of fact, all Confucian temples are opened east and west. The East Gate is referred to as the Gate of Courtesy, while the West Gate, the Gate of Righteousness.
The Forest of Stone Tablets was originally set up in 1087. The treasure house comprises a large collection of centuries-old stone tablets. Over 3,000 stone tablets from the Han Dynasty through the Qing Dynasty are preserved. The museum houses numerous stone tablets, which look like a dense forest; hence its name the “Forest of Stone Tablets.” The Forest of Stone Tablets is not only a treasure house of ancient Chinese calligraphy, but also a rich collection of historical documents and stone carvings of various styles.
The tablets bear evidence to the cultural achievements recorded in ancient China and the cultural exchanges between China and other countries. No tourists will take the risk of missing the Forest of Stone Tablets, once they visit Xi'an.