If you stay near the center of Beijing City in China, you will probably be within an easy walk of the historic Tiananmen Square. If not, you can also choose between the subway lines called Tiananmen East or West or Qianmen. The Tianamen East Line is referred to as Line 1, and the Qianmen Line is referred to as Line 2. If you’re not in the mood for a walk or mass transportation, you can always take a taxi.
What To See When Traveling To Tianamen Square
These are some highlights for tourists to enjoy around Tianamen Square:
Early risers may enjoy watching the guard raising the national flag. Crowds gather early, so it’s best to arrive before sunrise to enjoy a good view of the ceremony. There are reviewing sides on both sides of the square, but again, they get very crowded on some days.
The Chinese National Museum
This museum opened its doors in 2003. Even though it is fairly new, it offers a view into thousands of years of Chinese history. The museum covers both historical China and the history of the Chinese Revolution. China has a long and fascinating history, so expect to spend quite a bit of time there.
Tiananmen Tower is one of the most well-known sights in the square. Located on the north end, it was built in 1417. This was during the Ming Dynasty. At that time, the square served as the front door of the Forbidden City where the emperor and his retinue lived.
One significant use of this tower was as the formal place to hold a grand ceremony and declare to the commoners who would become the next emperor and empress of the Chinese Empire. Nobody except for the royal family, aristocrats, and of course, servants and guards were permitted to enter the tower. This lasted until 1911 when the last of the feudal kingdoms ended in China.
The Great Hall Of The People
Visitors can find the very impressive Great Hall of the People on the western end of the square. This building was constructed in 1959, and it serves as the site for meetings of the Chinese Congress. It also houses other types of diplomatic and political events.
Some highlights of this building include twelve marble posts in the front. The Central Hall’s floor is paved entirely with marble. Make sure to look up to see the crystal lamps that have been suspended from the ceiling as well. There is also a huge Great Auditorium that can seat 10,000 people. In addition, there is a banquet hall that can comfortably seat 5,000 guests.
The Memorial Hall For Chairman Mao
The Chinese people offer respect to the man they regard as the greatest founder of their modern nation. The Memorial Hall has three different parts to it. Chairman Mao’s body is encased within a crystal coffin in one part. The coffin is always surrounded by fresh bouquets of decorative flowers and plants. Lots of people line up to pay their respects.
The Monument To The People’s Heroes
Constructed in 1952, this granite monument can be found in the center of Tiananmen Square. This is the largest monument ever built in China. Find words of Chairman Mao engraved in the stone monument. Also, take the time to notice the big relief sculptures that illustrate Modern China’s development. The entire monument is enclosed by a pair of white, stone railings. The entire structure is best described as simple but beautiful.
How Long to Spend At Tianamen Square
Of course, Tianamen Square is right next to The Forbidden City. If you want to see it, you should plan to arrive shortly before it opens to avoid crowds. It gets more crowded on the weekend. Since it’s quite large, you should plan to take at least two or three hours to walk around.
There are plenty of sights to appreciate in this area. Visitors can spend a day or even multiple days around this historical part of the city. Experienced travelers say that food costs a bit more near all of these attractions, but it’s not so overpriced that most travelers would find it out of their reach. Bring some cash and a good pair of walking shoes to enjoy the day.