The Tian'anmen Square is the political
center of China. Covering an area of 44 hectares(109 acres), it
is the biggest public square in the world. On the Square you can
see China Congress Hall, Tiananmen Gate Tower, China National History
Museum, the Monument to Peoples' Heroes, Chairman Mao's Memorial
Hall and the Old Watchtowers.
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More Stories about the Tian’anme Square:
Tian’anmen Located in the center of the city of
Beijing, Tian’anmen is the symbol of the People’s Republic of China.
First built in 1417, the 15th year of Emperor Yongle’s reign of
the Ming Dynasty, It was formerly called Chengtianmen, which meant
Gate of Heavenly Succession. Behind the name, it means that “the
emperor started his fortune by acting upon the mandate of the heaven”
and “everything he did was to carry out the will of the heaven above”.
Later it was burnt by flame of war in 1651, the 18th year of Emperor
Shunzhi’s reign of the Qing Dynasty. And the name was changed into
“Tian’anmen’’, which meant heavenly peace gate. The tower at the
top of the gate is nine-room wide and five –room deep.
According to the Book of Changes, when the two numbers nine and
five were combined, that symbolized the supreme dignity of a sovereign.
In the feudal times, ceremonies of great importance, such as promulgating
an imperial edict, conferring the title of queen, announcing a newly
enthroned emperor were all held on the Tian’anmen Rostrum and then
made known to the public in the country. The first three candidates
who passed the palace examinations would be called to be received
by the emperor in Ming and Qing Dynasties. When that happened the
official would call their names by turn on the Tian’anmen Rostrum.
When an imperial edict was issued, the procedure went as follows:
1. The Minister of Rites would receive the edict in Taihedian (Hall
of Supreme Harmony), where the Emperor was holding his court. The
minister would then carry the decree on a yunpan (tray of cloud),
and withdraw from the hall via Taihemen (Gate of supreme Harmony).
2. The Minister would put the tray in a miniature Longting (dragon
pavilion) beneath a yellow umbrella and carry it via Wumen (Meridian
Gate), to Tian'anmen Gate Tower.
3. A courtier would be accredited to proclaim the edict. The civil
and military officials standing both sides of the gateway beneath
the tower would prostrate themselves in the direction of the emperor
in waiting for the decree to be proclaimed.
4. The courtier would then put the edict in a phoenix-shaped wooden
box and lower it from the tower by means of a silk rope. The document
would finally be carried in a similar tray of cloud under a yellow
umbrella to the Ministry of Rites.
5. The edict, copied on yellow paper, would be made known to the
whole country. Such a process was historically recorded as “Imperial
Edict Issued by Golden Phoenix". During the Ming and Qing dynasties
Tian'anmen was the most important passage. It was this gate that
the emperor and his retinue would go through on their way to the
altars for ritual and religious activities.
On the western side of Tian'anmen stands ZhongshanPark (Dr. Sun
Yat-sen's Park), and on the eastern side, the Working People's Cultural
Palace. The Park was formerly called Shejitan (Altar of Land and
Grain), built in 1420 for offering sacrificial items to the God
of Land. It was opened to the public as a park in 1914 and its name
was changed in 1928 to the present one in memory of the great pioneer
of the Chinese Democratic Revolution. The Working People's Cultural
Palace used to be Taimiao (the Supreme Ancestral Temple), where
tablets of the deceased dynastic rulers were kept.
The stream in front of Tian'anmen is called Waijinshuihe (Outer
Golden Water River), with seven marble bridges spanning over it.
Of these seven bridges, historical records say the middle one was
for the exclusive use of the emperor and was accordingly called
Yuluqiao (Imperial Bridge). The bridges flanking it on either side
were walked by the members of the royal family and were therefore
called Wanggongqiao (Royal's Bridges). Farther away on each side
of the two were bridges for officials ranking above the third order
and were named Pinjiqiao (Ministerial Bridges). The remaining two
bridges were for the use by the retinue below the third order and
were called Gongshengqiao (Common Bridges). They are the one in
front of the Supreme Ancestral Temple to the east and the one in
front of the Altar of land and Grain to the west.
The two stone lions by the Gate of Tian'anmen on each side were
meant as sentries. They gaze toward the middle axis, guarding the
emperor's walkway. In front of the gate stands a pair of marble
columns called Huabiao. They are elaborately cut in bas-relief following
the pattern of a legendary dragon. Behind the gate stands another
pair of similar columns. The story of Huabiao may be traced to a
couple of sources. One of the versions accredits its invention to
one of the Chinese sage kings named Yao, who was said to have set
up a wooden pillar in order to allow the ordinary people to expose
evil-doers; hence it was originally called a slander pillar. Later
it was changed into a signpost, and now it serves as an ornament.
The beast sitting on the top of the column is called "hou",
a legendary animal, which is said to have been a watcher of an emperor's
behavior. He was doing such duties as warning the emperor against
staying too long outside the palace or indulging in pleasure in
the palace and urging him to go to see the people for their complaints
and return in due time. Therefore, the two pairs of beasts were
given the names "Wangjungui" (Expecting the emperor's
coming back) and "wangjunchu" (Expecting the emperor's
going out) respectively.
In the old days, Tian'anmen, as a part of the Imperial City, was
used for important ceremonies. The two rows of chaofang (antechamber),
on the sides behind the main gate, were reserved for civil and military
officials to wait for imperial audience and in front of the gate,
were offices of imperial administration.
On October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed on Tian'anmen
Rostrum the founding of the People's Republic of China. Since then
Tian'anmen has been the symbol of New China. Chairman Mao's portrait
is hung above the central entrance, flanked by two slogans:"
Long Live the Great Unity of the Peoples of the World" and
“Long Live the People’s Republic of China”. Today, the splendor
of Tian'anmen attracts million of visitors from all over the world.
The Rostrum on its top was opened in 1988 to the public for the
first time in its history. It can offer a nice panoramic view of
the Square and the city proper.
In the old times, the Tian’anmen Square was forbidden to common
people. Even they couldn’t take a look at it otherwise, they would
be deemed as committing a crime of “illegally peeping at the palace
gate”. When the officials got to the front of the gate they had
to get off the horse and proceed on foot into the palace. For the
common people whoever wanted to go from the east of the city to
the west must make a detour. There were some offices beside the
Tian’anmen Square. The people used to describe such offices with
the saying:” the offices in the east are dealing the living and
those on the west are manipulating the death”. Before there were
two gates on the Chang’an Street, culprits for “palace trial” or
“autumn trial” were all escorted into the square through the west
gate with everyone weeping and crying as if they were brought to
the mouth of a tiger. But those scholars who passed the palace examination
were summoned to attend the banquet through the east gate with happiness
as if they were carps overleapt the dragon gate. So the east gate
was called “Dragon Gate” and the west gate was called “Tiger Gate”.
Revolutionary activities on Tian’anmen Square
The Tian’anmen Square, due to the invasion of foreign colonialists
over the past hundred years, has been trampled underfoot and many
a time it has suffered from destruction and humiliation, but the
anti-imperialist and anti-feudalistic movements have never ceased.
In 1919, the May 4th Movement took place here. It is an epoch-making
event in the modern history of China as it fired the first gunshot,
marking the beginning of the new democratic revolution stage in
China by Chinese people in their struggle against imperialism and
On December 9th 1935, the patriotic students in Beijing held a mass
rally here, denouncing the invasion of China by Japanese imperialism
and opposing the high-handed suppression of the students’ movement
by arm and police. This is the “December 9th students Movement”.
On 20th may, 1947, the progressive students of Beijing stage a demonstration
here, demanding strongly the “implementation of decisions adopted
at the political consultative conference to form a coalition government”.
They shouted the slogan “oppose hunger and civil war” to express
their wishes for establishing a new China.
On October 1st, 1949, Chairman Mao standing on the Tian’anmen Rostrum
solemnly declared to the world that ”the People’s Republic of China
has been founded” and “ the Chinese people have ever since stood
up”. Chairman Mao himself raised the first five-star red flag up
to the sky. On that day the people in Beijing gathered on the Tian’anmen
Square to hold a grand celebration of the great victory won by the
Chinese people in the revolution, and the state leaders reviewed
the People’s Liberation Army.
The Monument to People’s Heroes
It was erected in 1958, covering 3,000 square meters, built of 17,000
pieces of granite and white marble,
standing 37.94 meters high. The obelisk itself is 14.7 meters in
height, 2.9 meters in width and 1 meter in thickness, Weighing 60
tons. Inscribed on its front side are such words: “Eternal Glory
to the People’s Heroes”, autographed by Chairman Mao. The inscription
at the back is in the handwriting of the late Premier Zhou Enlai
with all characters gold-plated. The 8 pieces of white marble carvings
in relief depicted the earth shaking events ever happened in the
Chinese revolution in time spanning of 100 years in the past. At
the top of the Monument are eight gigantic carved wreathes of such
flowers as peony, lotus and chrysanthemum, symbolizing nobility,
purity, and fortitude. At the base of the monument are eight marble
relieves depicting the Chinese historic events since 1840 as follow:
1. The Burning of Opium at Humen in 1840:
2. The uprising of 1851 in Jintian, Guangxi;
3. The Revolution of 1911;
4. The May Fourth Movement of 1919;
5. The May 30th Movement of 1925;
6. The Uprising of 1927 in Nanchang, Jiangxi;
7. The War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression from 1937 to
8. The Victorious Crossing over the Yangtze River by the People’s
Liberation Army in 1949. This relief is flanked by two smaller ones—"Supplying
the Front" and "Greeting the P.L.A."
The monument is to member people’s heroes who lost their lives in
numerous struggles against both domestic and foreign enemies for
the national independence and liberation, and for the freedom and
happiness of the Chinese people.
The Great Hall of the People
This is one of the largest congressional buildings in the world.
Built in 1959, the hall consists of three parts: a 10, 000-seat
auditorium in the center, a banquet hall in the north wing facing
Chang'an Avenue, with a seating capacity of 5, 000, and offices
for the Standing Committee of the National Peoples' Congress of
China in the south. In addition, thirty-four reception chambers
are named after various provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities
directly under the Central Government, plus Hong Kong and Macao.
Each is different from the other in decoration and furnishings to
stress their local features.
Hall of China
Museum Of China
China National Museum, built in 1959. It
is one of the biggest museums in China.
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
It was brought to a completion in May 1977, covering an area of
57,000 square meters with
a total floor space of 28,000 square meters. Inside of it there
are some halls open to public.
North Hall: In the center of the hall is the statue of Chairman
Mao in sitting posture, which carved out of a piece of white marble,
stands 3.45 meters in height. The backdrop is woolen tapestry” The
Vast Land of Our Motherland” measuring some 7by 24 meters.
Hall for Paying Homage to the Remains of Chairman Mao: Laid in the
center of the hall is a crystal coffin with Chairman Mao’s remains
lying in it. Dressed in a gray uniform suit his body is covered
with the flag of the Communist Party of China.
Memorial Rooms of the achievements of the first generation leaders
of the P.R.C There displayed something to tell the meritorious deeds
and great contributions they made in the Chinese revolution.
Movie Halls: Visitors can watch a documentary film entitled Everlasting
Brilliance, which depicts the meritorious deeds and contributions
made at different stages by the four great leaders and other forerunners.
South Hall: The hall is used for exit. Inscribed on the marble applied
wall of the hall is poem composed by Mao to the “Melody of Manjianghong”
in Guo Moruo’s handwriting.
Zhengyangmen Gate Tower
It was built in 1420, and the highest building at that time. The
name of the gate was to suggest,” the emperor, representing the
supreme authority under heaven, is like the midday sun in the sky
that ought to receive the respects from all the countries around.”
In the feudal society the gate was a passage of entry and exit reserved
for the emperor himself alone.
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