Tiananmen Square, emblematic place in Beijing

11 September, 2012 0 Comments

Tiananmen square

Within walking distance of the Forbidden City, in the heart of Beijing, is the popular Tiananmen Square, the Tiananmen Square Guangchang, whose translation would be the square of the Gate of Heavenly Peace.

It is strange the name given to a little plaza that concurs with this mystic vision of peace and harmony. Not only by its forms, where highlights on all the cement and the symbolism and allusions to communist Mao, but by its history, since it tends to be a meeting place for all kinds of demonstrations, including the unfortunate and embarrassing event of the student protests of 1989 that so dramatically ended.

In Tiananmen Square we find the Mausoleum of Mao, which is located in the very center and houses the embalmed body of the president. The hushing coffin is still two times each day, in the morning and afternoon, to a room where citizens can honour and to contemplate it under a communist flag. Surrounded by groups of sculptures representing revolutionary soldiers, the interior of the monument breathes an atmosphere of absolute respect. Curiously, on the other side of the square, crossing a street, there is a small room in which you have to leave the cameras, bags and coats before entering the Mausoleum.

On the other hand, and also in the centre of the square, in front of the Mausoleum is the Monument to the People’s Heroes, a column of granite that was erected in the year 1958 and that, in small reliefs, tells a little of the revolutionary history of the country. This column contains the names of large Chinese figures.

Finally, in the north end of the central part of the square waving the Chinese flag. This flag is hoisted every dawn and lowering each evening during a ceremony very formal.

Behind the mausoleum of Mao, in the southernmost area of the square, is the tower of the arrow, or Jian Lou, which erected during the Ming dynasty, and also Zhengyang Men, another tower which is also known as Quian Menu and that currently houses a museum about the history of Beijing.

On the west side of the Tiananmen Square is the Great Hall of the People, which is open to the public and is the current headquarters of the Government. On the other side of the plaza, on its eastern side, is the National Museum of China, a building of 1959, which at the time hosted at the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Revolution, now merged into one.


Finally, in the southern part, is the Tiananmen Gate, a gate of Ming dynasty from which Mao proclaimed the day on October 1, 1949, the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Today you can still see on the wall a large photograph of the communist leader.

This place can be the most emblematic place in Beijing, but we must not forget that it is basically a political centre, a kind of altar of the main memories of chinese communism. Even so, it is an inexcusable visit in our tour of the city.

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