Da Qian Men and ShenyangMen Tower covered in snow in November 2003. The Two Gates are what remains of the Vaulted Front Gate of the Imperial City of the Ming Dynasty Era.
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 its 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 its milling crowds from ShenyangMen and get good Photo's !
Welcome to the world famous and renowned TiananMen Square , the Square of Heavenly Peace at the political heart of China's People's Republic. Monuments include remnants of the Former Front Gate, The Great Hall of The People, The National Museum, The Monument to the Heroes of the Revolution, the China National Flag, TiananMen The Gate and ofcourse the Famed Mao Zedong Memorial Mausoleum. Walk around the largest square parading ground in the World and enjoy the sights, sounds & scenes.
After his Death in 1976 Mao Zedong's Body was preserved on orders from the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. It was thought that the most appropriate way to honor the considerable achievements of the Chairman, their Leader, was to construct a Grand Memorial Hall for the departed Statesman and devout Communist. The Mao Mausoleum Hall as it is popularly know was created to hold Mao Zedong's Body and to become the crowning piece and finishing structure in the grander Monument to the Political Success of Chinese Communism and the Chinese Revolution of TiananMen Square. Today the Body of Mao Zedong serves as a Tourist Attraction, popular with foreigners and natives alike. The Memorial Hall further serves as an information center and Museum on the Life of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Revolution, Browse the 3 Page Report on Mao Zedong memorial Hall at Tian'AnMen Square to find out more of the Details on this Monument to World Communism of the 20Th Century.
A map of the wider TiananMen Square area plus Forbidden City Area and surroundings. A map of the wider Palace Museum / Forbidden City area , with the Palace Moat, Zhongshan Park and the Park of the Peoples Culture Included. Very Accurate Map of The Imperial Palace Museum Grounds, including names of all Pavillions and the area of Zhongshan Park and the Park of the Peoples' Culture
Below : Panorama View of Mao Mausoleum and ShenyangMen from the South-West.
The Southern Side of The Square of Heavenly Peace, TiananMen, and its Monuments is at this Time the least described of all four sections. Most reviews of the largest square in the world glance over the Southern Monuments of the Square, barely mentioning - for instance - the remainders of the Former Front Gate of the Imperial City of the Ming Dynasty, which in the past gave access from QianMen Dajie' into the enclosure formed by the City Walls and the smaller TiananMen Square of that Era. The most published on Monument of the Southern Section is the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, whereas on the whole the main attention by far goes to the magnificent and forever Red Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Tian'An Men.
In this more complete review the order of history is followed, that being, for the best understanding of the significance of the Old Square versus the new Architecture of the Post-Revolution Era (after 1949), the text first focuses on the early elements of TiananMen Square of the Past, formed by the Front Gate. This is the extreme South of The Square of Heavenly Peace, traditionally the Main Gate into the Emperors own Capital.
From the Southern two monuments, the focus of the text then swifts northward to the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, which was the Last Monument to be constructed at The Square of Heavenly Peace in 1976 AD and which forms the crowning piece in the complete architecture of the masterpiece Chinese Socialist Propaganda Statement formed by the combined lay-out and Monuments of the Square.
Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, the Mausoleum of a Man by some nicknamed "The New Emperor", is located in the middle of The Square and Monuments. It was constructed opposite and facing the Gate of Heavenly Peace - the Emperors Gate of communications with the People - as the Main and Central Shrine of the New National Square, the Jewel inside of the Temple Capital of the New China.
The basic significance of the larger architectural plan lies in this :
The Southern Monuments of TiananMen Square
Full Map of the Beijing Subway System of 2008 AD - Click Map for FULL Version !
A View at the Square of Heavenly Peace beyond which stand a succesion of yellow tiled Roofs of Gates and Halls, The Tian'AnMen, The DuanMen and the Wu Men. Photo taken from the 1st Floor of Ming Tien Coffee Language, a now closed establishment with a certain grandeur.
The South - Two Towers reminding of the Front Gate
In the Past the Square of Heavenly Peace was bordered in the South by the massive City Walls of the City constructed during the Yongle Reign of the Ming Dynasty Era (1368 AD - 1644 AD). Placed in the middle of the Southern City Wall, on the exact Central Axis of the Imperial City, stood The Front Gate, the main entrance. It consisted of no less than three successive towers. Between them, a vault-like structure was created, an easily controlled opening in the otherwise impregnable stone city walls.
Todays remainders of that massive Gate are formed by the QianMen Tower, which marks the Southern End of TiananMen Square, and the Shenyang Men, more to the North.
In the past both Gates, together with a third, the ZhongHuaMen - Gate of China, formed a vaulted Gate structure, in which people or armies could be trapped, while receiving a rain of arrows from above.
During the Feudal Days of the Ming Dynasty when Beijing replaced Nanjing as the Imperial Capital City, Visitors and Travelers who came from faraway flocked along a prescribed route up to the Main Gate of the City. This route led from the South into the southern districts
Examples of vaulted Chinese City Gate structures as seen in various Cities in China.
of Chongwen and Xuanwu which were huge slums where the lowest of rank resided and plied their trades. Halfway the southern boulevard, at TianQiao, there was first Pailou Ceremonial Gate. This was also the favored spot for street merchants, acrobats and Martial Arts Champions to show off and make a living (Read More about the Birthplace of Chinese Acrobatics and Peking Opera in the Reports on the Tianqiao Acrobatics Theatre (Formerly Wan Sheng) and the Zheng Yici Peking Opera Theatre).
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 its 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.
if entering Chinese Temple in which the Emperor and his Throne were the Central Shrine.
Beyond the Front Gate one can view the roofs of a succession of Gates, eventually, as in the architectural arrangements of Chinese Temples, to give access to the Throne Room at the Hall of Supreme Harmony within the Imperial Palace.
Today there are only two remaining Gates to stand on the Central Axis of the City of Beijing, marking the boundaries of the Former Imperial Capital. The Third and Innermost Gate of the Vaulted Structure, the Gate of China (ZhongHuaMen) was destroyed in 1976 AD to make way for the current centerpiece of the Squares' Architecture, the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall.
The South End of the Square of Heavenly Peace beyond QianMen Tower was under reconstruction throughout 2007 AD with the aim of renovating the entire area into Traditionally Styled Pedestrian shopping area resembling Wanfujing Street. In the process an electric tramway was constructed to unite Dashilan East Street, QianMen Dajie' and the Southern End of the Square of Heavenly Peace Area surrounding the QianMen Tower into a thriving commercial area. The Tramway delivers shoppers from Dashilan Street directly to the space underneath the QianMen Tower.
From Tianqiao the journey moved Northward following along QianMen Dajie' - a succesful commercial street along which lay many famous stores and of course restaurants-, to pass Dashilan (Big Railings) Street and come up to the wooden Pailou arching across the road in front of the QianMen Tower. This second Pailou Marked the End of the Road up to the Front Gate. The weary travelers had arrived underneath the City Walls and those who could prove their rights through use of written permissions given earlier by the proper officials administering the City, were allowed to pass on inside to enter the Front Gate Vault.
The First Gate Tower was what is today known as Da QianMen.
The QianMen was a barbican, or first Gate used as an arrow shooting Platform against attackers at the Gate. Beyond the QianMen lay a short road known as a "neck" over which stood the massive central Gate Tower currently known as the Shenyang Men. The Shenyang Men's Central Blockhouse with its 42 metres high roof, was and is, the tallest among all of the gates of Beijing.
Da Qian Men - Outermost Front Gate, a popular symbol for the City of Beijing of the Past and also a local sigarette brand.
Gate, the somewhat lower Gate of China (ZhongHuaMen), which had three openings giving access to the City itself.
Beyond the Gates lay the then smaller Square of Heavenly Peace, The Upper Class Districts of XiCheng and Dongcheng to the West and East respectively and in the middle another smaller City, the beginning of which was marked by the Tian'An Men - Gate of Heavenly Peace. This smaller City was the secluded Imperial City inside of which was a forbidden zone formed
Finally, some distance beyond stood the third and Final
by the Imperial Palace. Passing through the Front Gates and first laying eyes on the City must have been a powerful experience.
Purposely, entering inside the Massive Stone Walls of the Imperial Capital was as
In the Past the claim to power, the so called "Mandate of Heaven" was found at The Dragon Throne, the seat of the Emperor deep within The Forbidden City. That was the feudal Era from which China had tumbled into a 40 years of political Chaos.
In 1949 AD arose from the ashes the Peoples Republic of China, the exact location for the Proclamation Ceremony of which was not coincidentally chosen to be at the Tian'An Men. In founding the New State of China from the Platform of the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Chairman of the Communist Party Mao Zedong made an important symbolical gesture.
With the proclamation of the Establishment of the Peoples Republic at the historically important Tian'AnMen Gate the Communist Party of China had taken control of a newly reunited nation. To solidify the new Reign over the former Chinese Empire now turned People's Republic there would be a period of adaptation during which the new rule was implemented and large projects of reform and reconstruction of the Nation launched.
The claim to the Mandate of Heaven needed to be solidified.
In the following 10 years the Square of Heavenly Peace was reconstructed and became the Peoples Square, the new political center of China. The Large Monuments of the Heroes to the Revolution and by 1959 AD, The Great Hall of The People and the National Museum proclaimed the glory of the successful Revolution.
Thus, by the reconstruction of the Square after 1949 AD into a shrine of Socialism, the claim to a "New mandate of Heaven" had been successfully made. In 1976 AD, Mao Zedong died and the Party Politburo decreed the erection of a Grand Mausoleum to the Great Leader, Mao Zedong. In establishing the Mausoleum the new Architecture of the Square of Heavenly Peace was given a final crowning piece, effectively laying the final brick in the symbolical process of shifting the Favors of the Heavenly Powers..
In the process of the proclamation of the new state at the Gate of Heavenly Peace followed by the large scale reconstruction of the Square into a Political palace of The People the power of the Heavenly Mandate was shifted from The Dragon Throne at TaiHe Dian - Hall of Supreme Harmony southward to lie outside the Imperial Palace. It currently resides at TiananMen Square, placed through the crowning jewel of the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, in the hands of the Communist Party of China. As symbolically represented on the Square, since 1949 AD the People are represented by the Chinese Communist Party under the successful Leadership of which China so far remains.
North of the QianMen Tower lies a wide boulevard which cannot be crossed on Foot. Hidden underneath of this boulevard is the location of the QianMen Subway/Metro Station, the North Exit of the which Station is located just inside the fences of The Square of Heavenly Peace itself underneath the ShenyangMen Tower.
Pass through the pedestrian tunnels and the Station to reach the Square of Heavenly Peace proper.
Once inside the fences of the Square, browse around the Huge Space between the Gate Remnants of QianMen and Shenyangmen to marvel at the scale on which the Ming Era City Walls were constructed. The space between both towers is wide enough for a small Park and a wide boulevard to pass through. Visit either the QianMen Tower, or make a
The massive ShenyangMen covered in Snow.
small Tour of the ShenyangMen Tower and blockhouse, the Highest Gate in Beijing, to get a unique overview of the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall and the wider Square of Heavenly Peace. When viewed from the platform the gargantuan scale of the architecture of this southern side of the largest square in the world becomes much more comprehensible. While looking serenely down, the many visitors to the Mao Zedong Mausoleum Hall flood out below, welcomed by the many more visitors already dwelling around the Square. Sometimes People are busy flying Kites in front of the Tower making for an extra colorful experience.
The platform of ShenyangMen Tower giving view of the Mao Zedong memorial Hall.
Above and Below : Video recordings of the View of the Boulevard to the South of The ShenyangMen Tower.
Monument, the last of 8 in Total, standing directly across a large space from ShenyangMen Gate. It is a truly unique building, allegedly designed with the help of 1000's of volunteer citizens. Although this latter story is a Myth concocted by the Information Ministry of those bygone days in 1976 AD, the Grand Design of the Mausoleum is a fitting One for the Greatest Leader the Nation had had in a long Time. In respect to his achievements, Mao Zedong can be viewed as part of select group of Historic Chinese Leaders, the ones who reunited the Nation after a long period of decline and internal struggle as well as layed the foundations for a new and stronger China to last for Centuries. Among these may be found the Mighty Emperor Kangxi of the Ching Dynasty, and notably Ch'In Shi Huangdi, the notorious Emperor of Chin who first united the Chinese Nation under one Flag. The latter especially destroyed much valued treasures and knowledge in his Time, and was responsible for 1000s upon 1000s of cruel deaths. He is however also credited with laying the foundations of Chinese Law and Government Philosophy, reorganizing the State into an efficient machine of administration using a system that would be in use for well over a 1000 years. No wonder the Chin State was able to undertake such a fenomal challenge as the first construction of the Great Wall of China. As for Mao Zedong, just ask yourself the question : what would China have been like today without his Leadership ?
The Mao Zedong Memorial Hall has its own unique design, however does resemble the other famed Mausolea of the Modern World. It has traits that remind of the Mausoleum of Lenin on the Red Square in Moscow, as well as certain characteristics similar to the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Min, in the Vietnamese Capital of Ho Chi Min City, formerly Saigon. The Mausoleum of Kim Il Sung in PongYang, the Capital of Chinese traditional Ally North Korea, is the most similar in appearance to the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall.
Today the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall still serves as a Museum to the Revolutionary Achievements made and to the Life of The Great leader. Inside the Innermost Sanctum, always guarded by his soldiers, lies the displayed body of
The South Facade of the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall at the Square of Heavenly Peace.
the Dead leader. The Body is preserved by an ingenious system that maintains the optimum temperature, moisture and more. The technology was recently updated. Go stand in line to pay a visit. It certainly is a worthwhile and one of a kind experience ! No tickets are needed, entrance is free ! In return one is expected to follow instructions and mind ones manners, so be cool.
Frequently denounced in the worst terms as an ugly Communist-Stalinist Styled Cold Marble Coffin and the possible last resting place of calculated Megalomaniac, the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is often mis-appreciated. What some fail to comprehend is the Monumental Achievements made by the Communist Party of China, mainly under the Leadership of Mao Zedong. Many feel that the rise of communism was and is a bad thing for China (or anywhere else), however all such suggestions tragically misjudge the
An old rickshaw reminds of old times while crossing through traffic at QianMen Avenue south of chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Mausoleum in Beijing.
Whatever ones political convictions, anyone must recognize the chaos that befell the Nation at the End of the Ching Dynasty, and the further collapse following the 1911 AD Revolution.
It was under the Leadership of Mao Zedong as Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party that China arose as the modern nation that it is today. Under that Leadership the nation was reunited after having been divided and distributed into the influence spheres of various Imperialist Nations. As a further achievement to which the Communist Party contributed was that for the first Time the Chinese fought for a common cause and thus ejected the Japanese in World War II.
After 1949 AD, the redistribution of political power nationwide for the first time radically changed and modernized the fundaments of the national political system, and after near 5000 years of their dominance, political power was taken out of the hands of Feudal Princes and the below large strata of landlords and land owners, and was given to the ordinary Chinese Citizens. Although old habits remain hard to erase, in principle, now every Chinese Person, Man or Woman was equal to the Law. At any rate, the majority of Chinese will agree that the situation established by the current Communist Party Government is preferable over the miserable state that China was in before the Rise of Chairman Mao and his Party.
Many Chinese visitors, especially the elderly from out of town, therefor become openly emotional upon having visited the Shrine to the Departed Great Helmsman, father of the Nation.