Outside socialist edifices go head to head with the imperial palace in Tiananmen Square, one of Chinas most iconic spots. The best place to survey the clash is from atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace(Tiananmen).Looking out over the worlds biggest square(three times larger than Moscows Red Square, designed to hold one million people),its hard to imagine that during the Qing dynasty it was a glorified corridor running southward between ministry buildings.
These structures were swept away after 1911, but it wasnt until the late 1950s that Tiananmen Square acquired its present size and was flanked with boxlike Soviet-style building as part of an architectural program to mark the 10th anniversary of the Peoples Republic next big change occurred in 1977, when Chairman Maos Mausoleum went up less than a year after his death.
The square has been a political focal point since the May Forth Movement in 1919, but these days most activities are of the photo snapping and kite flying varieties. Held daily at sunrise and sunset with plenty of pomp,the flag rising and setting ceremonies draw mostly local crowds.
Gate of Heavenly Peace
Daily :8.30am-3pm.RMB15.North end of Tiananmen Square, changan Jie, Dongcheng District.(65243322)
Great home of Chinas parliament was built in only 10months in 1959.Owing to a break down in Sino-Soviet relations; the Russian engineers who designed the massive meeting hall went home before the roof was finished. Their blueprint called for traditional Russian style cupolas, but that idea was scrapped in favor of flat Chinese style eaves. The 10,000-seat theater has nearly that many seats and features an illuminated red star on the ceiling. The tour guide describing the five Cpointed
light fixture pronounces the word Plexiglas (youjiboli) as if it were a rare valuable metal.
Its worth a visit to experience the austere Socialist-realist design templates attempt to contain the Chinese tendency towards baroque. Held regularly except during parliamentary sessions,tours include bonus plastic socks to slip over your shoes. Concerts, performances and film premieres are occasionally held here, but the Hall is better constructed for politics than acoustics.
Daily : 8am-4pm,but closed during government meeting,RMB30,RMB15(children).West side of Tiananmen Square, Dongcheng District,(63096156)
The Museum of the Chinese Revolution and Museum of Chinese History has been merged into a single organization called the China National Museum. Much of the collection has been packed up during a two-year renovation expected to be completed in 2006.
Daily:8.30am-4.30(3.30pm last ticket).RMB30, RMB15 (students).East side of Tiananmen Square.Dongcheng District.(65128901)
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
Few anecdotes accurately capture the sense of reverence that imbues the hall housing the embalmed body of Mao Zedong .The room as dimly lit, and guards shuttle patrons through quickly, so youll only get a brief peek at the Great Helmsman, but its still a worthy experience. Upon exiting, a cheapo toy and torrent market awaits those paying their respects.
Tue-Sun8-11.30am.Free.Middle of Tiananmen Square, Dongcheng District.(65132277)
Monument to the Peoples heroes
Built in 1958,the carving at the base of this 10,000 metric tone marble and granite obelisk depict a people in revolt against oppressors starting with the burning of 20,000 chests of British opium in 1869-the catalyst for the Opium War-and culminating, inevitably, with the liberation in 1949.
Great Wall Private one day tours : Call (+86)-10-59796303 or send us an email to book a tour !
Mutianyu Great Wall & Beijing City Attractions. Call (+86)-10-59796302 or send us an email to book a tour to book a tour