Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ni Hao, Beijing, Part II (Archive)

According to my limited readings, the Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City was built in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty. Towards the demise of the Ming Dynasty, there was heavy fighting between Li Zicheng and the early Qing emperors which damaged, if not destroyed, the gate. In 1651, the Tiananmen Square was designed and built, and was enlarged to four times its original size.

The square is just one flat surface, but it’s quite a large flat surface. On the square stands the Monument to the People’s Heroes, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. To the north side of the square is the Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City. To its south is the Zhengyangmen. According to the marker, Zhengyangmen, popularly known as Qianmen, is the proper gate of the inner city of Beijing. It is the largest and most magnificent gate in Beijing, and it is also called national gate and embodies the city layout, military defense, protocol, architecture art visually.

Images of the Qianmen:

qianmen

qianmen, up close

qianmen

Just across Qianmen is the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death in 1976. The mausoleum is open to the public. Mao Zedong’s picture is prominently displayed at the entrance to the Forbidden City, on the north side of the square.

Images of the mausoleum:

mao zedong mausoleum

a monument at mao's mausoleum

another monument at mao's mausoleum

The Monument to the People’s Heroes is an obelisk which is ten storeys high. It was erected as a national monument of the People’s Republic of China. According to my limited readings, the monument was erected as a memorial to those martyrs who laid down their lives for the revolutionary struggles of the Chinese people during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Images of the monument:

monument to the people's heroes

monument to the people's heroes

inscription on the monument

Surrounding Tiananmen Square are other important structures, like the National Museum of China to the east of the square, the Great Hall of the People to its west, the Forbidden City to its north, and from a distance, the Railway Station is visible. We spent most of the afternoon on the square – inhaling its cold winds, reveling in the activities which seemed non-stop, and taking pictures of whatever caught our fancy. There are lampposts everywhere on the square, but what we really needed were benches where we could rest our weary feet. Unfortunately, in all the square’s hugeness, not a bench was in sight. Moreover, the square may be open to the public but it closes at 7 o’clock in the evening, and the uniformed policemen guarding the square are really strict about this.

Images of Tiananmen Square:

tiananmen square

tiananmen square

great hall of the people

national museum of china

tiananmen square

forbidden city

-jrlee