If Beijing is the heart of China, then Tiananmen Square is the soul of Beijing. Located at the center of Beijing, with a length of 880m and a width of 500m, it is known as the biggest inner-city square in the world and can accommodate 100,000,000 people for public celebrations or gatherings. Standing there imposingly and magnificently for more than 500 years, it has witnessed the wax and wane of the ancient Chinese dynasties as well as the birth and growth of People’s Republic of China. It is a place where myriad Chinese people come all the way to pay a visit, with the rest honor it as a sacred place in their dreams.
Tiananmen Square used to be the forecourt of the Imperial Palace in feudal times and was a forbidden area for common people to step in or even to peep, otherwise, they would be sent into prison for committing a serous crime named “pry into the palace gate”. Therefore, people had to take a circuitous route if they wanted to get through this area. In regard of the officials, they had to dismount and walk to show their respect to this holy place.
Since Chairmen Mao Zedong declared the foundation of new China on the Tiananmen Rostrum, Tiananmen Square has been a crucial political place to hold national ceremonies, grand public gatherings and to greet foreign leaders. Unlike the old times, it is now free for the public. Every person, domestic and abroad, who wants to take a look at this great place, is most welcome.
North to the Square is Tiananmen Rostrum, portal of the Prohibition Palace. Built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it was the place where national proclamations were issued and imperial coronations were held in ancient China. It has a total height of 33.7 m. Above a white marble sumeru thorme，there stands a 10-meter red pier, which is made from big bricks weighing 43kg each. On the pier, the gate tower has laterally 5 gates and longitudinally 9 rooms. With 5 and 9, the emperors wanted to show their status as son of the heaven, since the combination of the two numbers in China means omnipotence.
In front of the rostrum, there are 7 Golden Water Bridges and 2 white Marble Pillars. The bridge in the middle is only for the emperors and the other bridges are specially for imperial family members and officials according to their ranks. Speaking of the Marble Pillars, they are ornamental columns made of white marble sculptured with dragon designs. They are also called "slander pillars", as in ancient times they carried the ordinary people's slander and suggestions for the emperors.
Monument to People’s Heroes
The Monument to People’s Heroes is built in the center of the square, symbolizing the nation’s revere and commemoration to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for freedom and liberation of the country. Reaching 37.94 m, it is made of hardy granite and is surrounded by white balusters. Inscription by Chairmen Mao meaning “People’s heroes are immortal” is engraved on the front side. There are also eight reliefs depicting the crucial events that lead to the victory of the anti-Japanese and the liberation wars.
Mao Zedong Memorial Hall
In the south of the square is Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, where people come to commemorate one of the greatest leaders in Chinese history. It is made up of three parts, the north hall (for memorial activities), the main hall (where remains of Chairman Mao are laid in a crystal coffin) and the south hall (where revolution records of Chairman Mao, Premier Zhou and other founders of new China are kept). It is particularly reminded that travelers here should be respectfully silent.
Great Hall of the People
In the west of the square is Great Hall of the People, where deputies selected from 1.3 billion Chinese have the National Congress. Occupying an area of 170,000 square meters, the gigantic and complicated project only took 10 months. Passing 25 grand marble columns erected in front, one will enter the splendid central hall which is decorated by white marble and crystal lights. At the back is the auditorium which can accommodate 10,000 people. There is also a banquet hall with 5,000 seats, where banquets are conducted on important occasions.
National Museum of China
In the east of the square is National Museum of China, a professional museum exhibiting and studying historical relics and cultural art of ancient and contemporary China. To say the least, after visiting this museum, people will have a brief grasp of Chinese history.
Ps: another must-see of Tiananmen Square
Flagraising ceremony on Tiananmen Square
Every Chinese who has experienced the flagraising ceremony on Tiananmen Square can never wipe that memory out. It is early in the morning when the sun is still preparing for the new day, yet around the baluster crowds of people have waited for a long time. Then the anthem starts and the flag escort, with consistent and steady strides, marches into people’s expected eyes. Just as the top of the sun reaches the horizon of the square, the ceremony begins. The bright five-star flag, accompanied with the arousing anthem, rises synchronously with the sun. What ascends contemporarily is the excitement and passion of the crowds. At this moment, every Chinese’s heart is filled with great pride and honor of being a part of the nation; at this moment, in the most recesses of everyone’s soul, there arises a sincere wish for thriving development and prosperous future of the super power!
The flag escort
Together with solemn and passionate air, another unforgettable part is the flag escort team. Every member of the escort is picked up very strictly from over ten thousand soldiers. They have to be mentally progressive, well-schooled, over 180cm in height and good-looking. They also must fit in many detailed body proportion and has to go through extremely cruel trainings. They represent the demeanor of Chinese army; anyone who wants to have a sight of Chinese soldiers can’t miss this unique scene.
Time of flagraising ceremony
Time of flagraising ceremony on Tiananmen Square is continuously adjusted, according to the time of sun-rise in Beijing,
Specific time of Flagraising ceremony http://www.tiananmen.org.cn/flag/
Opening hours and admission fee :
|Mao Zedong Memorial Hall
||08:30-11:30, 14:00-16:00 (Tuesday & Thursday)
|Great Hall of the People
08:15-15:00 (April – June )
O7:30-16:00 (July – August)
08:30-15:00 (September - December)
|National Museum of China
|Bus：1、2、5、7、9、10、17、20、22、44、48、53、54、59、110、120、S 1、S 2、S 3、S 4、703、726、729、742、803、808、819、826、848、859、922
Metro：line 1: Tiananmendong station, Tiananmenxi station; line 2: Qianmen station