These imposing buildings, dating back to the year 1420, mark the northern end of Beijing's major north-south axis. Used to tell time during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, the Bell and Drum Tower have settled into a new role as a major tourist attraction. Visitors are allowed to climb to the tops of both, albeit on breakneck, dark stairs. But the risk is worth it for the panoramic views of the Old Quarter.
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