Tian'anmen Square, Beijing
Tian'anmen Square (The Square of Heavenly Peace), situated in the city center, is considered to be the largest inner-city square in the World. It was built to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the state in 1958 in the place of an older unnamed open space in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace and can hold up to a million people. It is the center of Socialist China.
The Tian'anmen Gate (the Gate of Heavenly Peace), which was completed in 1417 and restored in 1651, once formed the main entrance to the Imperial City. The 34m/111ft high wooden building stands on a red brick substructure which has a white marble base. The two-story roof is covered with ceramic tiles. In front of the gate stand two stone lions, and two columns topped with the mythical creature Kong. A portrait of Chairman Mao hangs over the portal, to its left is the slogan ''Long live the People's Republic of China'', and to the right ''Long live the unity of the people of the world''.The imperial decrees were once announced here and received by the dignitaries kneeling. Also from here Chairman Mao proclaimed the People's Republic on October 1st 1949.At the foot of the gate the seven Golden Water Bridges (Jinshui Qiao) of white marble with sculptured sides cross the stream which bears the same name.
Museum of Chinese History
The Museum of Chinese History was built in 1959 and occupies an area of 8000sq.m/9568sq.yd. It is housed in the right wing of the massive column-embellished building (officially opened 1961). It forms the boundary for the east side of the square and was closed for many years. The 9000 exhibits illustrate matters concerning the Chinese Marxist historography of the various stages of development of Chinese development, from prehistoric times through the slave age society (2100-475 BC), and the feudal society (475 BC-AD 1840) to the semi-colonial, quasi-feudaldal society. They include archeological finds and reproductions of discoveries such as that of papers. The museum serves predominantly didactic purposes.
Opening hours: 8:30am-3:30pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee in CNY: Adult ¥5.00
Useful tips: Last admission 3:30pm.
Museum of the Chinese Revolution
The Museum of the Chinese Revolution, established in 1959, was closed during the cultural revolution and the subsequent years. It is housed in the left wing of the building which houses the Museum of Chinese History and extends over two storys, each with an area of 4000sq.m/43,056sq.ft. The exhibits in this museum illustrate the most important stages of the Chinese revolution from 1919, and the development of the Communist Party of China.
Chairman Mao Mausoleum
The rectangular Chairman Mao Mausoleum is 33m/108ft high and occupies an area of 20,000 sq.m/23,920sq.yd. It is supported by 44 granite columns, dates from 1977, and lies in the south of Tian'An Men square. The inscription ''Chairman Mao Mausoleum'' above the entrance was calligraphed by Hua Guofeng.In the entrance hall stands a marble statue of Chairman Mao, with a landscape background painting by the artist Huang Yongyu. In the central hall lies the body of Mao in a crystal sarcophagus. On the back wall can be seen an engraved homage to the ''great chairman'' which reads: ''eternal praise be to chairman Mao, our great leader and master''.
At the southern end of Tian'anmen Square rises the tower-like Front Gate (Qianmen) and, across the road, the gun tower belonging with it. Both were once linked by walls surrounding an inner courtyard. The Front Gate used to form the central opening in the wall between Inner and Outer Cities. It was erected in 1421, but the wooden structures burned down several times, the last time in the year 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion. It was one of Beijing's nine city gates and the link between the north and south parts of the city. The structure consisted of two buildings one behind the other, connected by walls from which an inner courtyard came into being.
Great Hall of the People
The west side of the Square of Heavenly Peace is dominated by the monumental Great Hall of the People (built 1959), which occupies a total area of 171,800 sq.m/205,472sq.yd. The 76m/249ft wide, 60m/197ft long main hall can accommodate over ten thousand people. The building also has a large banquet hall with more than 5000 places and 30 rooms, one for each province, autonomous region and city, each laid out in the style of the region. Held here are the conferences of the national People's Congress, and other most important political conferences.
More Tian'anmen Square Pictures