Tian'anmen Gate and Square, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall 天安门广场, 毛主席纪念堂


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It’s the world’s biggest square – three times the size of Moscow’s Red Square and designed to hold one million people. Looking at the crowds that pack it today, it’s hard to imagine that during the Qing dynasty it was merely a corridor running southward between ministry buildings. Although these structures were swept away after 1911, Tian’anmen Square didn’t acquire its present size until the late 1950s, when massive Sino-Soviet-style buildings were added as part of an architectural program to mark the 10th anniversary of the People’s Republic. The next big change came in 1977 with the construction of the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, completed less than a year after his death.

The square has been a political focal point since the May Fourth Movement in 1919, but these days most activities (photo-snapping and kite-flying) are considerably less action-packed. The ceremonial raising and lowering of the national flag, held daily at sunrise and sunset, draws patriotic tourists from all over China but relatively few foreigners.

The best place to view the square is from Tian’anmen Gate, the iconic structure on which hangs the enormous portrait of Mao Zedong.


Tian’anmen / Dongjiaominxiang
North end of Tian’anmen Square, Chang’an Jie
Dongcheng District
Daily 8.30am-4.30pm
Cash only

User reviews of Tian'anmen Gate and Square, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall 天安门广场, 毛主席纪念堂

A must visit

Joined: Apr 10, 2012
Posts: 32

Tiananmen square is by far the most famous square in China and is surrounded by the most important state buildings and national landmarks. For this reason, a visit is a must, especially during the celebrated flag raising each day at dawn.

The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall provides is a unique experience, but be very wary of pickpockers. A free ticket to see the body of Mao can end up costing thousands of dollars in lost passports and money. The area has the best pickpocketers in China.

Another Beijing must-visit site

Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Posts: 28

Tiananmen Square is located right next to the Forbidden City and just about every tour group to Beijing visits here. The square is not that impressive to me but it has a long history...much of which is censored by the government (shhhh...). The Maosoleum is in the middle of the square and in my opinion is kind of creepy. The lines get really long (and it seems like none of the chinese people in line have ever seen white people because they all took pictures of us). When you walk in it's just a bunch of flowers...unassuming right? Go into the next room and Mao's body is lying in repose. Well they say it is his actually body but i'm not completely convinced since he died over 30 years ago. You can go and make you own judgment about it. Anyways, go with a guide if you want to go to the Maosoleum since you aren't allowed to take anything in with you and you can leave them with your belongings.