The Ming Tombs
The Summer Palace
The Forbidden City
Other Fun Stuff
|Though the Square itself is not
particularly good-looking, it is the largest square in the world(covering 44 hectares) and
filled with tourists from all parts of China every day. In the middle of the Square is the
Monument to the People's Heroes. Directly north is Chang'an Avenue, Beijing's main drag.
Satellite Photo of the Square
|Across the street is Tian'anmen
Gate, which is recognizable instantly by the huge portrait of Mao Zedong hanging on it.
Tian'anmen Gate is the gate which leads to the Forbidden City. To the west is the Great
Hall of the People which houses the National People's Congress, but when the Congress is
not in session the Hall is the venue for concerts and cultural events. The Great Hall is
occasionally rented out for other purposes as well. Off to the east is the National
History Museum, on which is displayed a large digital countdown clock, ticking off the
days and seconds until the return of Macao to Chinese sovereignty on December 20, 1999.
Before July 1, 1997, the same clock was used to count down the days until the return of
Hong Kong. Back to the south is the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, where you can wait in line
and be quickly ushered (sans camera) past the crystal coffin where "Mao" now
lies. Incidentally, the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is the only attraction in Beijing that
has free admission. The other interesting thing to do in the Square is to watch the
flag-raising ceremony at sunrise. This is the perfect activity for travelers who have not
yet recovered from jet lag. A specially-trained battalion of PLA troops marches out each
morning and raises the flag exactly at sunrise. Then, at sunset the flag is taken down
again. Every day many tourists gather in the Square to watch this solemn ceremony. On
holidays and special occasions the Square is filled with flower arrangements and
|There are people all over the
Square hawking kites, as it is a popular site for locals to go and fly their kites, which
range from simple one-piece jobs to elaborate long dragons. Here is one of the
longer ones. It stretches for well over 100 feet.
||A night shot of the Great Hall