The ancient drum tower (gu lou) stands just near Hou Hai lake in the charming hutong areas with their old architecture. It was erected by Kublai Khan of the Mongols in 1272, during the time when the Mongolian capital Dadu was located here. Its primary function was to announce the passing of time.
At the time I was taking this picture a lot of construction was going on in the nearby hutongs, and when I came back one year later I noticed that a number of the old houses had been torn down. This seems to be a typical trend in the big cities of modern China.
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