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A Must-Visit Scenic Spot in Beijing—Tian’anmen Square

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Tian’anmen Square sits in the heart of Beijing, East Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng District. It lies between two ancient massive gates—Tian’anmen Gate to the north and Zhengyangmen Gate to the south, bordering the National Museum of China to the east and the Great Hall of the People to the west. Tian’anmen Square is 880 meters long from north to south and 500 meters wide from east to west, covering an area of 440,000 square meters. As the largest city square in the world, it could hold one million people for a grand meeting.

The ground of Tian’anmen Square is paved with specially processed light-colored granite stones. The solemn Monument to the People’s Heroes and Chairman Mao Memorial Hall stand in the middle of the square. On one side of Tian’anmen Gate is the Working People’s Cultural Palace; on the other side is the Zhongshan Park. These magnificent buildings, together with Tian’anmen Gate, combine to form Tian’anmen Square. In 1986, Tian’anmen Square was crowned as one of the newly selected sixteen sights of Beijing, named “Tian’an Liri (good weather in Tian’anmen)”.

Tian’anmen Square witnessed the inexorable, dauntless and revolutionary Chinese people. The May Fourth Movement, the December 9th Movement and the May Twentieth Movement have all left an indelible mark of the modern Chinese revolutionary history here. At the same time, it is also the place where numerous major political and historical events took place. It is the historical witness of China's rise.

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Tian’anmen Square was a palace square outside the main entrance of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The east, west and south sides of the square were walled to create an area where the ordinary people were denied access. Tian’anmen Square stretches from Tian’anmen Gate in the north to Zhengyangmen Gate in the south and from the National Museum of China in the east and to the Great Hall of the People in the west. With a length of 880 meters from south to north and a width of 500 meters from east to west, Tian’anmen Square covers an area of 440,000 square meters and can accommodate one million people for a grand meeting. In the center of the square stand the Monument to the People's Heroes and the solemn Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. On the west side of the square is the Great Hall of the People, on the east side is the National Museum of China, and on the south side are two ancient towers built in the 14th century—Zhengyangmen and Zhengyangmen arrow tower. Tian’anmen gate tower is located at the northern end of the square. With a total height of 33.7 meters, Tian’anmen Gate has five guiding towers and is supported by nine principle columns. On both sides of Tian’anmen Gate are the Working People's Cultural Palace and Zhongshan Park. These magnificent buildings, together with Tian’anmen Gate, combine to form Tian’anmen Square—a great scenic spot in Beijing.

Tian’anmen Gate Tower

Tian’anmen gate tower, located in the center of Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China, and at the southern end of the Palace Museum, covers an area of 4,800 square meters. With Chang'an Avenue in between, it faces Tian’anmen Square, Monument to the People's Heroes, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, the Great Hall of the People and the National Museum of China.

Tian’anmen Gate was the main gate of the imperial city of Beijing in the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was built in the 15th year of the Yongle era in the Ming Dynasty (1417 AD), originally named “Chengtianmen” to imply “rule by the grace of God”. The designer was Kuai Xiang, a royal architect of the Ming Dynasty. In the 8th year of the Shunzhi era in the Qing Dynasty (1651 AD), it was renamed Tian’anmen. With a total height of 34.7 meters, it consists of two parts, the platform and the tower, on a white marble Buddhist statue base. Tian’anmen gate tower is 66 meters long and 37 meters wide. Below the platform are five garrison gates. The garrison gate in the middle is the largest and is located on the central axis of the imperial city in Beijing. In the past, only the emperor could use this garrison gate. The portrait of Mao Zedong hangs above the doorway in the middle, flanked by two large slogans “Long live the People's Republic of China" and "Long live the great unity of the people of the world” on either side.

The Palace Museum was established, and Tian’anmen Square was opened to the public on October 10 in the 14th year of the Republic of China (1925). On October 1, 1949, the founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China was held in Tian’anmen Square, which subsequently became a part of the national emblem as the symbol of the People's Republic of China. In 1961, the State Council of the People's Republic of China included Tian’anmen Square in the list of the first batch of key cultural relics under national protection.

The Great Hall of the People

The Great Hall of the People is located on the west side of Tian’anmen Square and the south side of West Chang'an Avenue in the center of Beijing. The Great Hall of the People is the venue of the National People's Congress, the office space of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, an important place for political events of the Party, the state and various people's organizations, and a place for political, diplomatic and cultural activities of the leaders of the Party and the state and the people.

The Great Hall of the People faces east. It is 336 meters long from north to south, 206 meters wide from east to west, and 46.5 meters high, covering an area of 150,000 square meters and a construction area of 171,800 square meters. It is even larger than the entire Forbidden City in terms of total construction area. The annual National People's Congress, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the quinquennial National Congress of the Communist Party of China are also held here.

The Monument to the People's Heroes

The Monument to the People's Heroes is located in the center of Tian’anmen Square in Beijing, on the north-south central axis about 463 meters south of Tian’anmen Gate and 440 meters north of Zhengyangmen Gate. It was built by the government of the People's Republic of China in memory of the people's heroes who died in all the previous struggles since 1840 AD to oppose internal and external enemies, to gain national independence, and to fight for freedom and happiness. On September 30, 1949, the first plenary session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference passed the motion to build this monument. On the evening of that day, Mao Zedong and all CPPCC members attended the foundation stone laying ceremony. Mao Zedong shoveled soil to signify the onset of the laying of the foundation stone for the monument. The construction of it, designed by Liang Sicheng and others, began officially in August 1952. Many famous architects, sculptors, artists and outstanding engravers got involved in the monument-erecting project. Built out of 17,000 pieces of granite and white marble, the monument covers an area of more than 3,000 square meters and has a height of 37.94 meters. It was the first square building built after the birth of New China and the largest monument in Chinese history. The project broke ground on August 1, 1952, and was completed on April 22, 1958 and was inaugurated on May 1, 1958. In 1961, the State Council of the People's Republic of China included Tian’anmen Square in the list of the first batch of key cultural relics under national protection.

Tian’anmen Reviewing Stand

Tian’anmen Reviewing Stand is symmetrically located on the two sides in front of Tian’anmen Gate. It consists of seven platforms, used for viewing the National Day parade and other major celebrations. Tian’anmen Reviewing Stand was originally a temporary brick-wood structure built for the founding ceremony of the People’s Republic of China. In 1954, it was converted into a brick-concrete-structured permanent reviewing stand according to the design plan of famous Chinese architect Zhang Kaiji.

The basic structure of the reviewing stand is a full-diameter reaming pile structure. Its main structure is a cast-in-situ reinforced concrete shear wall structure. Structural reinforcements, waterproof coating, exterior wall insulation boards and other new materials and technologies are used for the construction of the walls of the lounge, the VIP room and the toilet. They are non-radioactive, pollution-free and meet environmental protection standards. The whole building has improved modern functions such as compression and crack resistance, heat and moisture preservation, sound and heat insulation, and fire and lightning prevention. The total construction area of the new reviewing stand is 4,008 square meters. The reviewing stand is a tilting structure with an elevated northern part and a lowered southern part. It has trapezoidal steps and a total capacity of 21,000 people.

Zhengyangmen Gate

Zhengyangmen Gate, commonly known as Qianmen, Qianmen Tower and Daqianmen, was formerly named Lizheng Gate. It is the south gate of the inner city of Beijing in the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is located at the southernmost end of Tian’anmen Square on the north-south central axis of Beijing City and south of Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. Built in the 17th year of the Yongle era during Emperor Chengzu’s reign of the Ming Dynasty (1419 AD), it was one of the "nine gates" of ancient Beijing. It consists of Zhengyangmen gate tower, arrow tower and barbican city, forming a complete ancient defensive building system. According to local chronicles, the towers and arrow towers of that time were large and tall. The towering barbican city was a representative part of the city wall of ancient Beijing. Only the gate tower and the arrow tower have survived to this day. It is the only well-preserved city gate in Beijing. The Beijing Folk Customs Exhibition Hall is located in the gate tower. On January 13, 1988, the State Council included it in the list of the third batch of key cultural relics under national protection.

The National Museum of China

The National Museum of China, or Guobo, is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China. Located on the south side of East Chang'an Avenue in the center of Beijing, it sits on the east side of Tian’anmen Square, right opposite the Great Hall of the People on the west side of Tian’anmen Square. Growing out of the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of Chinese Revolution, the National Museum of China is a famous museum that systematically studies ancient, modern and contemporary Chinese history and collects precious cultural relics, as well as a comprehensive museum that attaches equal importance to history and art and focuses on collection, exhibition, research, archeology, public education and cultural exchange. By the end of 2013, the museum had a total construction area of nearly 200,000 square meters, a total collection of more than one million and 48 exhibition halls.

Address: East Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Bus:

Take Bus No.1, No.2, No.10, No.52, No.59, No.82, No.90, No.99, No.120 or No.126 in the downtown and get off at Tian’anmen East Station.Take Bus No.2, No.5, No.120 and No.126, or Bus Special No.1 and Loop Line 2 in the downtown and get off at Tian’anmen Square East Station.

Take Bus No.2, No.5, No.120 and No.126, or Bus Special No.1 and Loop Line 2 in the downtown and get off at Tian’anmen Square West Station.

Take Bus No.5, No.8, No.17, No.48, No.59, No.66, No.67, No.69, No.71, No.82, No.93, No.120, No.126, No.723, or No.729, or Bus Rapid Transit No.1, or Bus Express Transit No.11 and No.7, or Bus Special No.1 and Loop Line 2 in the downtown and get off at Qianmen Station.

Metro line:

Take Line 1 in the downtown, get off at Tian’anmen East Station and exit from Exit A or Exit D, or take Line 1 in the downtown, get off at Tian’anmen West Station and exit from Exit B or Exit C. Take Line 2 in the downtown, get off at Qianmen Station and exit from Exit A, Exit B or Exit C.

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