Discover Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square

Famed as the seventh largest city square in the world, Tian’anmen (Tiananmen) Square’s sheer expanse will have you exploring for hours.

With building commencing in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty, destroyed by fighting in the 17th century, then in 1651 another re-design and re-build, Tian’anmen Square saw a further four expansions during the 1950s.

Tian’anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia

Depending on the dynasty or China’s president, Tian’anmen has been continually reinvented over the centuries.

Tian’anmen Square

Tian’anmen Square occupies an enormous area of 440,000 square metres. If you can, visualise more than 1,000,000 people standing in the square at one time, then this gives you a rough idea of how immense the square is and feels.

Tiananmen Square layout, Beijing, China, Asia
Map: China Discovery

Main Gate of the Royal Palace (Forbidden City)

Boasting a commanding photo of Chairman Mao Zedong, the compelling Main Gate – Gate of Heavenly Peace – was initially built in 1417 and its platform soars 34.7-metres in height.

You may wonder what the placards on either side of Mao’s portrait say?

Well, the left sign reads “Long Live the People’s Republic of China” while “Long Live the Great Unity of the World’s Peoples” is on the right side.

Main Gate, Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
The gate that never sleeps

Remember, Tian’anmen Square is popular with both locals and tourists alike, so crowds are relentless.

Main Gate, Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Twins play

The huabiao (ornamental columns), white marble bridges, and intricate stone lions decorate the front, making exploring even more intriguing and interesting.

Main Gate, Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Opulent bridge

Buy your ticket and ascend the impressive tower that functioned as the gatehouse of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Main Gate, Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Meridian Gate from the north (Imperial Palace Museum) – thinning crowds

If you’re lucky, you may even experience a little quiet time just to relax and enjoy some respite, in a cosy corner of the square.

Meridian Gate, Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Meridian Gate perspective

Monument to the People’s Heroes

An imposing ten-story obelisk – impossible to miss – graces the middle of Tian’anmen Square on the southern side.

Erected during 1952-1958, this Chinese national monument is a shrine to the martyrs of the revolutionary conflicts that took place during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Flagpole Stage, Monument to the People's Heroes, Tian’anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Flag Pole Stage and Monument to the People’s Heroes

Soldiers raise the National Flag of the People’s Republic of China (also known as the Five-star Red Flag) at dawn and then lower the flag at dusk, at the Flagpole Stage…

Tian’anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Off Duty

…which is accompanied by the vivacious Chinese national anthem “March of the Volunteers”.

Tian’anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Forever watching

Zhengyangmen Gate 

Built in 1439, you can climb the monumental Zhengyangmen Gate (also known as Qianmen Gate), which has been guarding the southern entrance into the Imperial City (Old Beijing), since 1419.

Zhengyang Gate, Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Qianamen Gate

Towering at 40 metres in height and enduring an extensive reconstruction in 1914, the gate emits a striking presence.

China’s National Museum

Making your way around the square, established in 2003, China’s National Museum is a comprehensive museum, which serves to educate people about China’s arts and history. The museum contains thousands of cherished cultural relics.

China's National Museum, Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia

The disparity between the rich and poor is evident in Tian’anmen’s concrete paved square.

Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia

Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum

Wandering around Tian’anmen Square, you can’t help but notice the extravagant massive and Communist-looking Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum from afar. It’s astounding that an abundance of money was spent on this memorial hall, while poverty has been and still is so prevalent in mainland China.

Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum, Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, China, Asia
Shrine to Mao Zedong

Built in 1977 and consisting of two floors, the mausoleum commemorates Chairman Mao, the founder of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during 1945-1976. Regardless of Mao’s wishes to be cremated, instead, his body was embalmed and housed in this mausoleum; which I didn’t enter even though it was a free entry in 2012.

Tian’anmen’s tragic history

Standing in Tian’anmen’s Square, the Soviet-inspired buildings are a stark Communist reminder of the tragedy witnessed in this square. Made infamous in 1989 by the butchering of hundreds, possibly thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators. The actual number slaughtered will never be known. China is trying very hard to erase this black blight from its history books – forever.

Another distressing video regarding the incident in Tian’anmen’s Square from the might of the Chinese army, but this one is from the BCC,

In 1919, on May 4, the May Fourth Movement was born as an anti-imperialist and political movement, which mainly involved students. Some things never change.

It’s not possible to write about Tian’anmen Square without honouring the thousands that lost their lives while protesting for Democracy.

If you missed my previous posts on the surprise 9-day birthday in Beijing, then you may like to take a quick read of these:

Beijing Birthday

Roaming Beijing’s Hutongs

China’s Great Wall in a Day

Or, check back next week for another chapter of the birthday surprise!

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts at Image Earth Travel.

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4 responses to “Discover Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square”

  1. Beijing Tours Avatar

    Hello everyone, I am Jack Chen from Beijing, those who want to visit Beijing can contact me at any time: +86 185-1368-6608
    Fb homepage:

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for leaving your details.
      Please feel free to share my details on your page.
      Best wishes

  2. Yetismith Avatar

    It’s already Boxing Day for you! I hope you had a good Christmas. After reminding myself of the events in China, in 1989 I watched the latest post from DT and I shudder because every day I feel we edge closer to violence here. It is unprecedented, so it isn’t possible to visualize the form it will take, so how does one prepare. That man is vile and vicious and very dangerous. It’s unbelievable that he has not been arrested for sedition. Big sigh. Let there be Peace!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Indeed it is but alas, it hasn’t been too much of an indulgence this year, which is great!
      I despair at what’s happening around the world – humanity seems to be rapidly regressing and I don’t think we’ll see total peace in our lifetime.

      Hope you’re Christmas festivities are great, albeit the extreme weather you guys are having right now.
      Thank you for your continual support!

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