Like the Red Square in Moscow, the Arc De Triomphe in Paris and the Washington Monument, Tiananmen Square is the symbolic architecture of Beijing. It was named “the largest public square in the world” evaluated at the “World Top Tourism in Beijing” in 1992. Millions of tourists are attracted to the square by its long history and splendid appearance, and it has become the very image of Beijing’s charm to its many visitors.
Located on the central axle of Beijing, Tiananmen Square begins from the northern red wall, reaches Zhengyangmen Gate Tower, or Front Gate (Qianmen), in the south and the Great Hall of the People in the west, and includes the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of Chinese Revolution in the east.
It is 880 meters from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west, and has a total area of 440,000 square meters. As many as one million people can gather here at one time. It has witness the magnificent sight of the founding ceremony of the PRC and National Day military parades, and is the witness of every great leap forward by the country.
Tiananmen is situated on the north-south axle in central Beijing. With Changan Avenue running across its front, Tiananmen Gate is not only connected with, but also stays aloof from other architecture on the square. As the main gate of the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and symbol of Beijing and China today, Tiananmen has experienced the vicissitudes of history. On visiting Beijing, every tourist, from either home or abroad, cannot help being greatly impressed by the magnificence of Tiananmen gate and the imposing atmosphere of the entire square.
Flag-raising and Flag-lowering Ceremonies in Tiananmen Square
Since May 1, 1991, regulations issued by the Being municipality began to be enforced. They stipulate that on the first, 11th and 21st day of each month and on important national festivals (such as New Year’s Day, Spring Festival, International Labor Day, the founding day of the Party, Army Day and National Day), flag-raising and flag-lowering ceremonies are to be held and the national anthem be played by the military of the national anthem is to be paid. Since then, the flag-raising and flag-lowering ceremony has become a favorite event for both domestic and foreign tourists.
Monument to the People’s Heroes
Located to the south of the five-star red flag of Tiananmen Square, the monument was erected in memory of the people’s heroes who sacrificed their lives for the revolution between 1840 and 1949. Designed by Liang Sicheng, construction began August 1, 1952, and it was completed in April 1958. Made from 17,000 pieces of granites and white marble, it is 37.94 meters in height and covers an area of 3,000 sq meters. Constructed from a complete piece of granite, the main part of the monument is 14.7 meters long, 2.9 meters wide, one meter thick and weights 103 tons. Standing upright and stately at the center of the square, it is situated 440 meters away from the wall base of the square. Directly facing Tianmen Gate, eight gilded characters written by the late Chairman Mao are inscribed at the center of the tablet, stating immortality to the people’s heroes.
Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao
The great leader Chairman Mao passed away on Sept. 9, 1976. The central government determined to build a memorial hall to preserve Chairman Mao’s body. Located between the Monument to the People’s Heroes and Zhengyangmen Gate, the memorial hall faces north, opposite Tiananmen Gate. The Foundations was laid on Nov. 24. 1976 and the hall completed the following May. Covering an area of 28,000 sq meters, the hall is supported by 44 octagonal granite pillars. Two groups of 8.7-meter-high carvings have been erected in the courtyard. The grand architecture embodies the greatness of Chairman Mao.
Great Hall of the People
The Great Hall of the People is located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square. The construction of the Great Hall of the People started in October, 1958 and was completed in August, 1959. It consists of three parts with a total construction space of 171, 800 square meters. It has a 10,000-seat auditorium, a banquet hall which can hold 5,000 people, an office building of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and halls named after the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government. It is an important venue for the National People’s Congress (the Chinese parliament), the highest organ of state power and political activities of the C.P.C. Central Committee, the State Council and people’s organizations.
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