Tiananmen Square is a large city space located in the centre of Beijing, China. The square lies between two gates, Tiananmen at the north sector and Zhengyangmen at the south. The area is home to incredible buildings, monuments and halls. In recent decades, the square became well known throughout the world as the site of many political events and protests.
Begin a visit to Tiananmen Square at the National Museum of China on the eastern edge of the square. The museum is dedicated to history and art of China and is one of the largest museums in the world. The collections are breath-taking, from Yuanmou Man dating back 1.7 million years to rare artefacts from the Qing dynasty, where visitors will be spoilt for choice. Discover the world’s heaviest piece of ancient bronzeware weighing 832 kilogrammes and a myriad of stone carvings and reliefs. Continue outside to Great Hall of the People towards the western perimeter of the square. It faces Monument to the People’s Heroes and is a good place to gain perspective of the entire area. The Great Hall hosts full sessions for Chinese Parliament and is used for various political and social events. An architecturally striking building, especially at dusk is Zhengyangmen or the “front gate”. It is an important geographical city marker as the north-south axis of Beijing passes through this site. The most poignant reminder of the country’s turbulent struggle is depicted in the Monument to the People’s Heroes. The ten-storey obelisk is a cenotaph dedicated to the martyrs of the city’s revolutionary past. Visitors who have the time should wait until dusk when the monument illuminates, shining its light like a beacon of hope throughout the square.
Visitors can walk to Tiananmen Square from Forbidden City in just over 15 minutes. This major tourist site is also accessible on foot from many other attractions in Beijing. Most city bus routes stop to the north or south of the square. It can also be accessed via the Beijing subway network, with stops at Tiananmen East and West, Chang’an Avenue and Qianmen Station.
Tiananmen Square or the “Gate of Heavenly Peace” was constructed in 1415 during the time of the Ming dynasty. After Chairman Mao’s passing in 1976, a mausoleum was built on the site of the former Gate of China and is now a popular landmark of the square. Outside China, Tiananmen Square is perhaps remembered more for the 1989 protests which were televised worldwide. Whatever the reason for a visit to the area, it’s fascinating, filled with ancient history and architecture - well worth the trip.