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Beijing Travel Guide & Tours Information - Tian'anmen Square

 
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Tian'anmen SquareTian'anmen Square is the large plaza near the centre of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City.

History

The Tiananmen Gate was first built in 1417 in the Ming Dynasty. During the demise of the Ming Dynasty, heavy fighting between Li Zicheng and the early Qing emperors damaged (or perhaps destroyed) the gate. The Tian'anmen square was originally designed and built in Beijing in 1651. It was enlarged to its present size (four times its original size) and cemented over in 1958.

Tian'anmen SquareBritish and French troops who invaded Beijing in 1860 pitched camp near the gate and briefly considered burning the gate and the entire Forbidden City down. They decided ultimately to spare the palace and to burn instead the emperor's Old Summer Palace. The Qing emperor eventually agreed to let the foreign powers establish headquarters in the area. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 the siege badly damaged the office complexes and several ministries were burnt down. In the conflict's denouement, the area became a space for foreign troops to assemble their armies and horses. It was cleared in due course to produce the beginning of what is now known as the Tiananmen Square.

Near the centre of today's square, close to the site of the Mao Zedong Mausoleum, once stood one of the most important gates of Beijing. This gate was known as the "Great Ming Gate" during the Ming Dynasty, "Great Qing Gate" during the Qing Dynasty, and "Gate of China" during the Republic of China era. Unlike the other gates in Beijing, such as the Tiananmen and the Qianmen, this was a purely ceremonial gateway, with three arches but no ramparts, similar in style to the ceremonial gateways found in the Ming Dynasty Tombs. This gate had a special status as the "Gate of the Nation", as can be seen from its successive names. It normally remained closed, except when the Emperor passed through. Commoner traffic was diverted to two side gates at the northern and eastern ends of today's square, respectively. Because of this diversion in traffic, a busy marketplace, called Chessgrid Streets developed in the big, fenced square to the south of this gate. In the early 1950s, the Gate of China (as it was then known) was demolished along with the Chessgrid Streets to the south, completing the expansion of Tiananmen Square to (approximately) its current size.

Features

Used as a massive meeting place since its creation, its flatness is broken only by the 38-metre (125 ft) high Monument to the People's Heroes completed in 1958, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong completed in 1977. The square lies between two ancient, massive gates: the Tian'anmen to the north and the Zhengyangmen, better known as Qianmen to the south. Along the west side of the Square is the Great Hall of the People. Along the east side is the National Museum of China (dedicated to Chinese history predating 1919). Chang'an Avenue, which is used for parades, lies between the Tian'anmen and the Square. Trees line the east and west edges of the Square, but the square itself is open, with neither trees nor benches.

Tian'anmen Square

Flag-Raising Ceremony at Tiananmen Square

Flag-Raising Ceremony at Tiananmen SquareThere's a very important ceremony will be held on the Tiananmen Square every early morning before the sunrise. It's called as Flag-raising ceremony. When the ceremony starts, a group of guards of honor(composed by the military soldiers) will march out of the Tian'an men(the Gate of Heavenly peace, used to be the entrance to the Imperial city),and put the flag up on the flag-pole in the northern end of the Tian'an men Square. The ceremony will last about 10-15 minutes only, but it attracts hundreds or thousands visitors every early morning, especially during these important days and festivals, such as on May 1st (Internationa l Labor day),on Oct 1st (National day), every New year, and China 's New Year as well.

Timetable of the Flag-raising Ceremony

Month Time Month Time Month Time
Jan 7:24AM-7:36AM Feb 6:30AM - 7:23AM Mar 6:01AM - 6:48AM
Apr 5:17AM - 5:59 AM May 4:48AM - 5:15AM June 4:48AM-4:49AM
July 4:50AM-5:12AM Aug 5:13AM-5:41AM Sep 5:42AM-6:09AM
Oct 6:10AM-6:42AM Nov 6:43AM-7:15AM Dec 7:16AM-7:36AM

For more details, please visit China Tours and China Travel Information.