This tower and its counterpart, the Drum Tower, kept Beijing people up to date on the official time through three dynasties. Drums beat out at night, while the bells rang out during the day. The Bell Tower burned in the Qing Dynasty and was rebuilt, this time of fire-proof brick. The towers are acoustical marvels; the noise could be heard throughout the city. Though timekeeping stopped in 1924 and the bell no longer rings, the drum is awakened on New Year’s Eve and the towers opened to visitors in the 1980’s. Climb to the apex for sweeping city views.