- Bell tower
towerwhich contains one or more bells, or which is obviously designed to hold bells (even if it has none), is a bell tower. Most commonly, it is part of a church; but when attached to a city hallor other civic building (especially in continental Europe), it is often named belfry. (Elsewhere, the term "belfry" refers strictly to the part of the tower which contains the bells. Thus some bell towers have no belfry.) The occasional free standing bell tower may also be referred to by its Italian name, campanile. Old bell towers may be kept for their historicor iconic value, though in countries with a strong campanological tradition they often continue to serve their original purposes as well; a few new towers are built every year for similar reasons.__TOC__
The bell is rung to signify the
time, for special events such as weddingsand funerals, or especially in old days to sound a civil defense or fire alarm.
Bell towers may also contain
carillons or chimes, musical instruments traditionally composed of large bells which are sounded by cables, chains, or cords connected to a keyboard. These can be found in many churches in Europe and America and at some collegeand universitycampuses. [ [http://www.carillon.org/ The World Carillon Federation (WCF)] ] In modern constructions that do not qualify as carillons, rather than using heavy bells the sound may be produced by the striking of small metal rods whose vibrations are amplified electronically and sounded through loudspeakers. Simulated carillon systems have also used recordings or samplings of bells onto tape, compact disc, or memory chips. [ [http://www.chimemaster.com/car.html Digital Electronic Bell Carillons - Chime Master Systems Church Bells ] ]
Historic belfries exist throughout
Europe, from Irelandto Russia. Bruges, Ypres, Ghent, Lille, Tournaiand Douaihave famous examples. Not all are on a large scale; the "bell" tower of Katúň, in Slovakia, is typical of the many more modest structures which were once common in country areas. In the Middle Ages, cities sometimes kept their important documents in belfries.
1999thirty-two Belgian belfries were added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. In 2005this list was extended with one Belgian and twenty-three French belfries and is since known as " Belfries of Belgium and France". Most of these were attached to civil buildings, mainly city halls, as symbols of the greater power the cities in the region got in the Middle Ages; a small number of buildings not connected with a belfry, such as bell towers of—or with their—churches, occur also on this same list ( [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/943/multiple=1&unique_number=1100 details] ).
The word "belfry" comes from
Old French"berfrei" which is derived from Germanic "bergan" "to protect" and "frithuz" "peace"; that is, it was originally a watch tower providing protection against hostile incursions. These towers usually contained an alarm bell or bells, thus Middle Englishspeakers thought "berfrei" had something to do with bells: they altered it to "belfry", an interesting example of the process of folk etymology.Fact|date=June 2007 Today's Dutch "belfort" seems to combine the bell with the stronghold.
Belfries of Belgium and France, ensemble recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site
Irish round tower
* [http://www.berkeley.edu/visitors/campanile.html The Campanile at the University of California, Berkeley]
* [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/943 Belfries of Belgium and France - UNESCO World Heritage Centre entry]
* [http://beffrois.blogg.org/ Les Beffrois - France, Belgique, Pays-Bas]
* [http://www.belltower4ido.com/ Belltower Chapel]
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