The history of Beijing's city walls in the 20Th Century is closely related to one of modern China’s most fabled couples, Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin, Ivy League-educated architects who had returned home to champion the notion that a great nation should hold dear its historic patrimony. It was Mr. Liang, the debonair son from an illustrious family of intellectuals, who urged the victorious Communists to preserve Beijing’s Yuan dynasty grid and its hulking city walls. Mao, the country’s unsentimental leader, thought otherwise.
Located Due East of Qianmen and the Capital Hotel, directly South of Beijing Main Train Station Beijing Zhan , and ending at DongBian Men Gate and Watchtower , home of the World Renowned Red Gate the Ming Era City Walls Park is a new and welcome Green geetaway from the hustle and bustle of TiananMen Square just a kilometer West of the Park. Explore the history of the ancient Imperial Capital, enjoy nature and Art all in one walk at Ming Dynasty City Walls Park.
The Red Gate or South-East Corner Watchtower of the Ancient City Walls, located at the outer edge of Chongwen District is a worthwile Historic Sight on it's own. But .. It is not only that. The Red Gate is Home to the Red Gate Gallery , one of China's leading Modern Art Galleries today.
Walk around the Impressive tower measuring up the cannon-proof defenses of Ancient Beijing reliving Old days , visit the Platform and Tower Interior.
Enjoy the Red Gate Gallery Exhibitions. Excellent Contemporary chinese Art, often from the Top shelve !
Another part of the Former Imperial City Walls and defenses , ShenyangMen or Arrow Tower is TiananMen Square's most impressive and massive Structure , standing across and just South of Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Mausoleum. The ShenyangMen or Arrow Tower was designed to offer it's defending Archers maximum Range and Accuracy against anyone entering via QianMen or Front Gate. Once boxed in between QianMen and ShenyangMen, any invaders were highly exposed to Fire from both Towers and the City Wall. Now standing separately from QianMen since the reconstruction of TiananMen Square in the 1950's, and the opening of QianMen Dajie in the space of the City Walls, ShenyangMen - Arrow Tower still offers a Magnificient Overview to the South and North. Overview TiananMen Square with it's milling crowds from ShenyangMen and get good Photo's !
Now on the extreme South Side of TiananMen Square, QianMen marks the borders of the Inner Walled City of Beijing. Standing with Chongwen- and Xuanwu-Districts once outside the Imperial Inner City to it's South, and DongCheng District with TiananMen Square and Imperial Palace to the North QianMen is the Former Front Gate into the Walled City of Beijing. Climb the Tower and enjoy the View, or just use it as your reference point to the South border of Ancient Imperial City.
Photo of the Dongzhimen Gate of the Beijing City Wall the late 19Th Century. Clearly visible are the silted in moat, a fortified corner watchtower, a Camel Caravan and at least 6 buttresses of the City Wall of Beijing.
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The first Beijing City Walls were constructed as part of the rising Imperial Capital of the Ming Dynasty and were completed by the year 1420 AD.
The southern Walls (surrounding Xuanwu and Chongwen Districts) however were constructed at a much later time, and only came into being during the reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644 AD - 1910 AD). Most of the southern walls were complete by the year 1550 AD.
Late 19Th Century artist impression of the now demolished Andingmen Gate of the Beijing City Wall.