Tiananmen Square

Written by Sally Guo Updated Jun. 1, 2022
 Beijing Tian’anmen

Beijing Tian'anmen

Measuring 440, 000 square meters, Tian'anmen Square is one of the largest squares in the world. Tian'anmen Square is located on the central axis of Beijing, surrounded by the China National Museum, the Great Hall of the People, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, and the Tian'anmen Tower. Thousands of Chinese people come here to watch the flag-raising ceremony every day.

Tian'anmen Square is a national symbol of China and is a must-see during your visit to Beijing.  This article will introduce facts, history, a layout about it.  

Facts of Tian'anmen Square

  • Chinese: 天安门广场 (tiān ān mén guǎng chǎng)
  • Length: 880 meters (2,887 feet)
  • Width: 500 meters (1,640 feet)
  • Admission: Free
  • Opening Hours: 05:00 - 22:00
  • Location: Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng District (东城区长安街)

Meaning of Tian'anmen Square in Chinese

Tian'anmen was initially called Chengtianmen (承天门 chéng tiān mén), or Gate of Carrying the Heaven, which means receiving the mandate from heaven.

After a renovation in 1651, the imperial court of the Qing Dynasty changed the name to Tian'anmen (天安门 tiān ān mén), or Gate of Heavenly Peace, which means pacifying the dynasty.

History of Tian'anmen Square

 Tian’anmen Square

Tian’anmen Square

Originally built during the Ming Dynasty, Tian'anmen Square is named after Tian'anmen Gate, which is the main gate to the Forbidden City. The gate has five passages, the middle one leading to the Forbidden City was particularly reserved for the emperor. The square is used for imperial celebrations and events such as the wedding of the emperor and the enthronement of a new emperor.  

Facing Tian'anmen Square, Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China from Tian'anmen Rostrum on 1 October 1949. After that, some important celebrations and events such as National Day celebrations and military parades are held in this square.

Tian'anmen Square was renovated and enlarged several times in history. The latest one is in 2018, the square and Tian'anmen Tower were renovated for the 2019 military parade.

Layout of Tian'anmen Square

Tiananmen Square is surrounded by some world-class sights, such as Tian'anmen Tower on the north, the Monument to the People's Heroes, and Mausoleum of Mao Zedong on the south, the Great Hall of the People on the west, and the China National Museum on the east.  

 Tian’anmen Tower

Tian'anmen Tower

1. Tian'anmen Tower

Originally built in 1417, Tian'anmen Tower is located in the north of Tiananmen Square, separated from the square by Chang'an Avenue. It is the front gate to Forbidden City. In ancient times, the tower is used for imperial celebrations and events. Now, it is open to the public. Although it is free to enter Tian'anmen Square, climbing the Tian'anmen Tower required admission of CYN 15 per person.

 Monument to the People's Heroes

Monument to the People's Heroes

2. Monument to the People's Heroes

Monument to the People's Heroes is located in the center of Tian'anmen Square. Originally built in 1952, the monument is decorated with large relief sculptures about Chinese revolutionary history as well as Mao Zedong's handwriting, which reads, "Eternal glory to the people's heroes." (Chinese: 人民英雄永垂不朽; pinyin: Rénmín yīngxióng yǒngchuí bùxiǔ).

 Mausoleum of Mao Zedong

Mausoleum of Mao Zedong

3. Mausoleum of Mao Zedong

The Mausoleum of Mao Zedong is located south of Tian'anmen Square. Mao Zedong's body is preserved in a crystal coffin. Many people come here and pay respects to Chairman Mao with chrysanthemum. The security inspection is extremely strict, no bags and cameras are allowed inside the hall.

4. Great Hall of the People

The Great Hall of the People is located on the west of Tian'anmen Square. It is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the government of China and the Communist Party of China.

5. China National Museum

The National Museum is located in the east of Tian'anmen Square. It is one of the largest museums in the world. You can admire many precious and rare artifacts here, and learn the history of the Communist Party and its political achievements.

Beijing Attractions Map

How to Get to Tian'anmen Square

  • By subway: Take subway Line 1 to Tian'anmen East Station or Tian'anmen West Station.
  • By bus: Take sightseeing bus Line 1 or Line 2 to Tian'anmen Square East Station or Tian'anmen Square West Station.
  • By taxi: Show this sentence to the taxi driver “请带我去天安门广场。”. The English meaning is that please take me to Tian'anmen Square.

Tips for Visiting Tian'anmen Square

Visiting Tian’anmen Square

Visiting Tian’anmen Square

1. Visitors have to pass a strict security inspection before entering Tian'anmen Square. You may wait in long lines, it is suggested to bring a light pack with necessary things to save time.

2. Do bring your passport, otherwise, you are not allowed to enter the square and other sites nearby.

3. Do not take prohibited items into the square, such as lighters, knives, or other items that are regarded as being dangerous to the public.

4. Do not ask or talk about sensitive political issues. There are many undercover police officers in the square.

5. There are barrier-free accesses on the northeast exit of Tiananmen Square. You can go to the Forbidden City from here.

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