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Zhenyuan Building Guide

-Travel to Zhenyuan Building

Like many other towns and cities in China, Zhangye also has a drum and bell tower for marking the city’s center. The Zhenyuan Building is situated at the meeting point of the four important streets of the city. Its central location makes the building even more impressive and magnificent.
Zhenyuan Building, also called the Drum-Tower by the local people, is the largest of its kind in the Silk Road district’s Hexi corridor. The tower was built during Ming Dynasty in 1507. During the rule of Qing Dynasty in 1648 it had been destroyed. It was later rebuilt in 1668 by the superintendent of Gansu, Zhang Yong.

The building has been built for imitating the Xi’an Tower. The surface of the building is square and has been erected over a brick altar. The Zhenyuan Building tower has a foundation as well as a three storey high pavilion.It is 32 meters long and 9 m high. Many people say that the tower stretches up to the clouds due to its immense height.
Inside its foundation is a decussate hole pointing north, south, east and west. This links the tower to the four important streets of the town. There is a stele on every side of this pavilion describing the different natural scenes of Zhangye and the surrounding areas.

The building is a three-floor turriform architecture with cornices and rake angles. It is a traditional Chinese architecture with elegant and solemn carved beams and painted rafters. Under the building is the Cross Cave leading in four different directions. Passengers and small-sized vehicles are able to pass through. There are four engraved steles embedded above the gates of the cave, that is "XuSheng" which means sunrise on the east, "Gu Cheng" which is a merchant city on the west, "Ying Xun" which means facing fume on the south, and "Zhen Yuan" which means guarding lands afar on the north.
Upon the building hang four steles. The eastern one writes "Golden City and Spring Rain", the western one writes "Jade Pass and Moon in Dawn", the southern one writes "Sunny Day after Snowing in Mount Qilian", and the north one writes "Residence Stretches to Old Pastureland". The completely preserved stone tablet recording the reconstruction of Ganzhou Drawbridge and Zhenyuan Building stands in the north of the building.

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