15 August 1999 Sunday
On the 2nd day morning, we begin our Beijing tour by taking public bus from the hotel to Tian’anmen Square. Is about 10 min from Dongdan to Tian’anmen. This is my first experience in Beijing, China.
天安门广场The Tian’anmen Square
The Tian’anmen Square is in the heart of modern Beijing. Occupying an area of 440,000 square meters, it is the biggest square in the world, that can accommodate 500,000 people. The founding ceremony of the Peoples Republic of China was held here on October 1, 1949, which climaxed with 1 million people gathering to hear the late Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the birth of New China.
The Tian’anmen Square is the site where important national celebrating ceremonies and grand gatherings are held. Towering at the center of the Square is the magnificent Monument to the People’s Heroes which is 37.94 meter in height and is built with over 17000 pieces of marble and granite.
On the national flag terrace at the center of the northern part of the square stands a silver-white flag pole. A grand flag-hoisting ceremony is held every morning. Accompanied by music played by a military band, the guard of honor of the three service in full dress hoists China’s national flag at sunrise.The ceremony has become a new attraction for sightseers and pedestrians.
In national day , the Square is always gorgeously decorated by flowers and flags, in those three days vocation , the square always become the hottest local point in Beijing.
中山公园 ZhongShan Park
The main entrance to Zhong Shan Park is through a gateway of about 30 metres west of Tian’anmen Gate. There is also another entrance on the west of the Meridian Gate to the forbidden City. It covers an area of 24 hectares.
Located there is the Altar of the Earth and Harvests or the Altar of Land and Grain. It was set up in the 19th year of the Ming Emperor Yongle (1421 A.D.). The Altar is surrounded by a small square wall faced with orange tiles to the south, blue tiles to the east, black tiles to the north, and yellow tiles to the west.The passageway through each wall passes under a pailou (memorial arch). Inside the walls there are three tiers, square-shaped, leading to the top surface which is the altar. The altar is hard – packed earth divided into four areas, represented by earth of different colors: red to the south, yellow in the middle, black to the north, white to the west and green to the east. The earth was originally carried to the altar from the four corners of the empire and symbolized the principle that the “Son of Heaven” owned everything on earth.
In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the emperor came here twice a year to make sacrifices to the gods so that sowing would be successful and the crop bountiful.
The park is noted for its old cypresses. About 1,000 of are several hundred years old and it is said that a few of them are over 1,000 years old!
北京故宮Gugong / Former Imperial Palace
Known also as the Forbidden City北京紫禁城, it is situated in the city center. Construction of the Palace began in 1406. After the completion, it was used as the imperial palace in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 -1911 AD). In history, from 1406 to 1949 (when new China was founded) a total of 24 emperors were enthroned here for more than 500 years.
The Former Imperial Palace is the biggest one in size in the world. It covers an area of 729,000 square meters , with floor space of 150,000 square meters, and with 9,999.5 rooms. The main building is the Hall of Supreme Harmony, also known as the Hall of the Golden Throne. The hall is the most important and the largest structure in the palace. In history, it was used for ceremonial occasions such as the emperors birthday, the nomination of military leaders and coronations.
The buildings in the Palace constitute the largest and most complete existing ensemble of traditional Chinese architecture. The entire Palace area, rectangular in shape, is surrounded by walls ten meters high and a moat 52 meters wide. Each of the four corners of the wall has a tower with a multi-eaved, ridged roof covered with yellow glazed tiles. The Palace looks solemn and magnificent.
The Palace is now also a museum, which houses a great variety of rare cultural relics and works of art in history. In December,1987 The Palace Museum in Beijing was listed in the Chronology of Recognition of World Heritages in China by UNESCO.
Walk to opposite to the northern gate of the Palace Museum is Jingshan Park of 23 hectares, an imperial garden during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Five pavilions of similar construction stand in a row at regular intervals along the ridge of the small hill.
The middle one, the Wanchun (ten-thousand spring) Pavilion on the hilltop, is said to be on the axis of the inner city of Beijing. Toward the eastern slopes of the hill was where last Ming Emperor Chongzhen (1628-1644) hung himself. On the northern section of the Park stands Shouhuang (Long Living Emperor) Hall, now the Beijing Children’s Palace.
人民大会堂Great Hall of the People
On the eastern side of the Tian’anmen Square is the Great Hall of the People, house the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament.
This is an impressive structure where the National People’s Congress assembles for deliberations on state affairs. Built in ten months during 1959, it has a total floor space of more than 170,000 square metres and the accommodation of 300 meeting halls, lounges and office rooms. Among these, the Great Hall itself has a seating capacity of 10,052 and is therefore known as the Ten-thousand people’s Meeting Hall. The banquet hall on the northern wing can hold 5,000 seats for a feast, or 10,000 for a cocktail party.
Each of the meeting halls is named after a province, a municipality, or an autonomous region and is furnished after the local style of its namesake. The whole building is imposing with its national architectural style.
人民英雄纪念碑Monument to the People’s Heroes
The Monument to the People’s Heroes is in the center of Tian’anmen Square. The late Chairman Mao Zedong laid the cornerstone (foundation stone) himself on september 30, 1949. The construction began in August, 1951 was erected in April, 1958. The granite obelisk rises 37.94 metres. The gilded inscription on the north face is in Chairman Mao’s calligraphy and reads: “The People’s Heroes are Immortal”. The base of the obelisk is decorated with bar – relief carvings depicting major events of the revolution.
毛主席纪念堂Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
Immediately behind the Monument to the People’s Heroes and on the southern side of Tiananmen Square is the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. It stands just over 30 metres high, the glazed twin-roof being supported by 44 granite pillars. Over the entrance appears the inscription, “Chairman Mao Memorial Hall”.
In the middle of the northern auditorium you will be confronted by an enormous seated figure of Mao sculptured in white marble. The back wall is covered by a huge velet tapestry drawn in “Mountain and Rivers of the Motherland”.
The middle is the visiting auditorium where the body of Chairman Mao Zedong, draped with the red flag of the Communist Party of China, is preserved in a crystal coffin. The sarcophagus rests on a bier and is surrounded by flowers.