Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tiananmen [天安門] & Tian An Men Square [天安門廣場] @ Beijing (北京), China

A trip to Beijing is never complete if you don't visit three main attractions; namely the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square. 

And the latter was exactly what we did on the very first day of our inaugural visit to the grand capital of China. 

Note that there is a difference between Tiananmen and Tiananmen Square; Tianamen is the gate to the Imperial City (known as Inner City) while the Square borrowed its name from Tiananmen which is located directly North, separated by a major road known as Chang'an Avenue. 

The coach dropped us at the western side of the Square so that we could take in the sights and leisurely stroll towards Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace).

It was a foggy day (and it remained so for the next few days) and please be prepared for pictures that could not fully reflect the splendor and beauty of the place. 

Walked past the Great Hall of the People (人民大會堂); the building where the National People's Congress meets for discussion on national policies and legislation. 

Renovation was ongoing for this public toilet although i am not exactly loving that facade of blue sky and lush greenery. Barricades were on standby maybe because of the upcoming China's national day. 

Guess there would be some kind of show to commemorate the founding of the People's Republic of China! 

1 October also marks the start of the National Day Golden Week and that was the main reason why i had to plan my visit in September to avoid the peak period. 

Tiananmen Square - 3rd largest city square in the world that could accommodate 600,000 persons! The building is the picture was Mao's Mausoleum, the final resting place of Mao Zedong. 

Flag rising ceremony is scheduled twice a day; at dawn and at dusk. Notice the fire extinguisher on the right side of the picture? It would come in handy should there be any self-immolation incidents. 

Guarding the flagpole - security is tight in this politically sensitive arena. Many people might still remember the horrifying Tiananmen Incident in 1989 where student protesters were massacred in large numbers.

Coming back to happier moments; food and drinks were available in this van! I would have enjoyed this kind of mobile business operation - driving to East Coast park on weekends to sell hotdogs and cola etc.

Tiananmen - no one would miss that huge portrait of Mao Zedong even though the original building dated from 1420 during the Ming dynasty. 

One of our tour mates trying to get the best shot of Tiananmen. 

Forgot your camera or you have no trust in your photography skills? Fret not. There were a number of on-site photographers who would take your picture in front of Tiananmen and print it out within a few minutes for a nominal fee.

A final look before we crossed over to Tiananmen. 

Via an underpass that is. Beijing is actually very modernised and i would strongly recommend able travellers to go for free and easy. There is a subway network that connects to major attractions like Beijing Zoo, Summer Palace, Forbidden City etc.

Arriving right opposite Mao's portrait! His eyes follow you from whichever angle you look at him! 

Visitors, both locals and foreigners, were clamouring to take pictures of themselves in front of the portrait. As the tour guide commented, it was an honourable must for every family in China to have a picture of themselves at Tiananmen.

Many times, i have noticed guys in non-uniform standing together with uniformed guards. Are they plain clothes policemen? By the way, the passageway right below the portrait was reserved only for the emperor in dynastic times! 

Our itinerary included a walk up to the main building atop of Tiananmen! 

At a length of only 66 meters, it was not as big as one would expect when viewed from Tiananmen square. 

Light bulbs adorning the roof. According to wikipedia, Tiananmen was rebuilt in 1970 so what we are seeing is not really its original state although the external outlook remained the same.

Netting was noticed somewhere near the roof. Let me guess what it is for - hm..... to prevent birds from nesting within the crevices? 

The highly anticipated imperial city right behind Tiananmen!

A souvenir shop - some of the items could be purchased from touts outside the attraction at a much lower price, so long you bargain. 

Interior of the building. 

There was some information on the history of this building, mainly concentrated during the period after 1951. Given the time limitation of the tour (you are going to see this sentence very often), i could not digest much for sharing in this blog.

A miniature replica of Tiananmen and its surroundings (including Forbidden City) in ancient times. I would like to take more photographs but there was an announcement that no photo-taking is allowed in the gallery.

View of Tiananmen Square!

I took the picture on purpose just to show you the person guarding the perimeter! Here's another picture. Oh, in case i forget, please remember that lighters are not allowed in many attractions! Smokers, you have been warned. 

Panoramic view of the Square. To the left is China National Museum and to your right is the Great Hall of the People. 

Visitors enjoying the view of the Square. 

The mid-day sun above Tiananmen. This is a photoshopped version and the original picture looks nothing like it. However, i thought the effect was quite stunning and deserved to be posted! 

Side view of the building. 

Leaving for our next destination; the Forbidden City! 


  1. Tiananmen Square presenting the beautiful view in night and also in the morning. I fist time see this view and if you have more picture kindly share with me because i am the student of archeology and it's my assignment. tiananmen square

    1. Hi John, it's a pity that i was in Tiananmen for a really short period of time and hence, would not have the opportunity to take the kind of pictures you mentioned. :(


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