The Drum Tower and the Bell Tower in Beijing were used for keeping and announcing time for almost 700 years. Drums and bells were used in China for over 2,000 years to tell the time and every major city had a drum tower and bell tower. From 1272 to 1924 the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower in Beijing were used for announcing the time.
The two towers were originally built in 1272 during the Yuan Dynasty when China was ruled by Kublai Khan. At that time the capital of China was called Dadu not Beijing. The towers were destroyed by fire soon after construction and were not rebuilt again until 1420.
After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty and the establishment of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, Dadu was renamed Beijing, the city was extended, the Forbidden City was built and the city was laid out on its current north south axis. In 1420 the site of the towers was moved east to their current site on the most northern end of the north south axis.