Measuring 440, 000 square meters, Tiananmen Square is the largest open-air square in the world. It can hold about one million people for public celebration or gatherings. In the square tourists can climb the Tiananmen Rostrum, watch the daily national flag raising ceremony eary in the morning (the time varies subject to the sunrise), visit the National Museum of China, and go to the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao in which one will see the body of the great Chinese leader.
The Tiananmen Rostrum, standing to the north of the Tiananmen Square, precisely in the south – north central axis of Beijing, was the main gate to the Forbidden City-Palace museum for emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties. It was initially called Cheng Tian Men or the Gate of Carrying the Heaven, which means to shoulder the edict of the Heaven, and obtain the divine power form the Heaven. In the eighth year of emperor Shunzhi's administration, the gate was renovated and called Tiananmen. From then on nearly all the important imperial celebrations and events such as the enthronement of a new emperor, the wedding of the emperor, the rite of going to a battle by the emperor himself, the famous "Imperial Edict Issued by Golden Phoenix, worshipping the Heaven and the earth, and worshipping the five sorts of grains were held in this square.
Tiananmen Square in the 1950's (Photo source from the web)
Tiananmen Square in the 1970's (Photo source from the web)
Tiananmen Square in the 1990's (Photo source from the web)
Tiananmen Square Now
The magnificent gate has five passages. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the passage in the middle leading to the Forbidden City was particularly reserved for the emperor himself. The emperor went through the central passage on the way to the altars for rituals and other religious activities, for instance. The high-ranking government officials and the empresses, concubines, princess and princesses could only enter the Forbidden City through the side passages, while the ordinary subjects were banned from entering the Forbidden City. That's why the palace complex is called" Forbidden City"..
The 34.7 meters high Tiananmen Rostrum, with glittering yellow glazed tile on the roof and red wall and pillars, is more magnificent in the sunshine. Before the Rostrum are the Golden Water Bridge, the white Huabiao (a pair of ornamental columns made of white marble sculptured with dragon designs. They are also called "slander pillar" for in the ancient time it carried the ordinary people's slanders and suggestions for the emperor) and a pair of big stone lions.