Historical Places

Tiananmen Square

The huge open expanse of Tiananmen Square lies in the center of Beijing. Possibly the number one tourist destination in the city, the square attracts thousands of visitors every day.

The square is the central meeting place for the city and is a popular place to fly kites. During national holidays the entire square is decorated with fresh flowers.

Several key landmarks are located in Tiananmen Square: the Great Hall of the People, Tiananmen Tower, the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the tomb of Mao Zedong in the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. Tiananmen Square is also the location of the daily national flag raising ceremony.

(Workers Statue at Tiananmen Square) Workers Statue at
Tiananmen Square.

The Great Hall of the People, on the west side of the square, is the site of the China National People’s Congress meetings, seating 10,000 in the Central Hall and 5,000 in the Banqueting Hall.

On the other side of the square is the recently constructed China National Museum. The museum contains an impressive collection of artifacts from the revolutionary era as well as cultural items from China’s ancient history.

The Tiananmen Tower, built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty, is at the north end of the square. Its historical purpose was as a location to announce the names of the new emperor and empress to the people of Beijing. Tiananmen Square is the entrance to the Forbidden City and until 1911 the Tiananmen Tower was barred to any but the imperial family and aristocrats.

On the south side of the square, in the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, is the clear crystal coffin containing the body of the former Chairman, decorated daily with fresh flowers.

(Entrance to Forbidden City on Tienanmen square) Entrance to Forbidden City on Tienanmen square.

In the center of the square is the huge Monument to the Peoples’ Heroes, dating from the time of Chairman Mao, which depicts Chinese history in relief sculptures.

Early in the morning, before the huge crowds arrive, is the best time to see the national flag raising ceremony, conducted by a guard of honor.

Tiananmen Square was the site of the well-known political demonstration, which culminated on June 4, 1989.