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Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the third largest city square in the world (440,000 m - 880m by 500m). It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history. Outside China, the square is best known in recent memory as the focal point of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a pro-democracy movement which ended on 4 June 1989 with the declaration of martial law in Beijing by the government and the death of several hundred civilians.[1][2]



Mao Zedong Mausoleum]]. The Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City was built in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty. Towards the demise of the Ming Dynasty, heavy fighting between Li Zicheng and the early Qing emperors damaged (or perhaps destroyed) the gate. The Tian'anmen square was designed and built in 1651, and has since enlarged four times its original size in the 1950s.[3][4]

Near the centre of today's square, stood the "Great Ming Gate", the southern gate to the Imperial City, renamed "Great Qing Gate" during the Qing Dynasty, and "Gate of China" during the Republic of China era. Unlike the other gates in Beijing, such as the Tiananmen and the Qianmen, this was a purely ceremonial gateway, with three arches but no ramparts, similar in style to the ceremonial gateways found in the Ming Dynasty Tombs. This gate had a special status as the "Gate of the Nation", as can be seen from its successive names. It normally remained closed, except when the Emperor passed through. Commoner traffic was diverted to two side gates at the northern and eastern ends of today's square, respectively. Because of this diversion in traffic, a busy marketplace, called Chessgrid Streets developed in the big, fenced square to the south of this gate.

British and French troops who invaded Beijing in 1860 pitched camp near the gate and briefly considered burning down the gate and the entire Forbidden City. They decided ultimately to spare the palace and to burn instead the emperor's Old Summer Palace. The Qing emperor eventually agreed to let the foreign powers establish headquarters in the area. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 the siege badly damaged the office complexes and several ministries were burnt down. In the conflict's denouement, the area became a space for foreign troops to assemble their armies and horses.

In the early 1950s, the Gate of China was demolished, allowing for the enlargement of the square. In November 1958 a major expansion of Tiananmen Square started, which was completed after only 1 month, in August 1959. This followed the vision of Mao Zedong to make the square the largest and most spectacular in the world, and intended to hold over 500,000 people. In that process, a large number of residential buildings and other structures have been demolished.[5] On its southern edge, the Monument to the People's Heroes has been erected. Concomitantly, as part of the Ten Great Buildings constructed between 1958-59 to commemorate the ten year anniversary of the People's Republic of China, the Great Hall of the People and the Revolutionary History Museum (now National Museum of China) were erected on the western and eastern sides of the square.[5]

The year after Mao's death in 1976, a Mausoleum was built near the site of the former Gate of China, on the main north-south axis of the square. In connection with this project, the square was further increased in size to become fully rectangular and being able to accommodate 600,000 persons.[5]

The urban context of the square was altered in the 1990s with the construction of National Grand Theatre in its vicinity and the expansion of the National Museum.[5]

Panorama of the Square

Image:200401-beijing-tianan-square-overview.jpg|thumb|800px|center|Panorama image map of Tiananmen Square from the north atop Tiananmen's gate tower, showing the Square beyond Chang'an Avenue, with the Monument to the People's Heroes and Mao Zedong Mausoleum at background center, the National Museum of China to the left and Great Hall of the People to the right. (mouse over for labels)

poly 148 187 471 188 472 219 267 247 150 241 National Museum of China poly 1048 242 1097 238 1168 266 990 278 653 293 412 291 201 270 184 267 261 250 500 259 675 260 933 258 1042 247 1082 245 Chang'an Avenue poly 680 181 684 178 689 181 691 215 707 217 715 221 658 226 664 219 682 217 Monument to the People's Heroes poly 1136 237 1186 263 1278 250 1273 231 West Chang'an Avenue poly 11 235 32 230 259 250 192 264 East Chang'an Avenue poly 658 224 664 216 681 216 681 179 693 179 692 216 705 216 715 223 727 223 726 185 694 178 672 178 650 191 647 202 Mausoleum of Mao Zedong poly 905 178 904 211 1113 235 1252 226 1253 191 1235 190 1236 164 1114 152 Great Hall of the People poly 1237 180 1236 191 1253 191 1253 226 1277 224 1278 188 National Centre for the Performing Arts poly 344 249 652 260 924 249 1038 242 821 218 730 227 645 226 627 222 561 226 538 225 298 249 Tiananmen Square poly 299 252 330 255 331 306 302 305 299 309 Huabiao poly 959 249 998 247 1002 309 965 313 Huabiao poly 1 265 277 373 554 408 905 394 1277 301 1277 427 701 427 435 427 2 426 Tiananmen (Gate Tower)

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The Tian'anmen Square in Beijing
The Tian'anmen Square in Beijing
Used as a massive meeting place since its creation, its flatness is contrasted by the 38-meter (125 ft) high Monument to the People's Heroes, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.[3] The square lies between two ancient, massive gates: the Tian'anmen to the north and the Zhengyangmen, better known as Qianmen to the south. Along the west side of the Square is the Great Hall of the People. Along the east side is the National Museum of China (dedicated to Chinese history predating 1919). Chang'an Avenue, which is used for parades, lies between the Tian'anmen and the Square. Trees line the east and west edges of the Square, but the square itself is open, with neither trees nor benches. The Square is lit with large lampposts which are fitted with video cameras. It is heavily monitored by uniformed and plain clothes policemen.


Tiananmen Square has been the site of a number of political events and student protests. These include the May Fourth Movement in 1919; the proclamation of the People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949; annual mass military displays on all subsequent National Days until October 1, 1959; the 1984 military parade for the 35th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, the 50th anniversary in 1999, and the 60th anniversary in 2009; the Tiananmen Square protests in 1976 after the death of premier Zhou Enlai; and the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989.

The protests of 1989 resulted in the massacre of Chinese protesters in the streets to the west of the square and adjacent areas. There are reports where soldiers opened fire on protesters, killing 400 800, and perhaps many more.[1][2] Eyewitness accounts of the events on the night of June 3 and the early morning of June 4, 1989 continue to emerge from former student leaders and intellectuals, broadening the scope of the original reporting of the massacre by Western media outlets. This was the scene for the iconic image of Tank Man, where a column of PLA tanks was stopped in its tracks by a protester. No one knows if the man in the image is still alive.[6] Further reports show that the theatre of the massacre spanned across Beijing, and was densely concentrated on Chang'an Avenue, literally the "Eternal Peace Street," or the main approach to Tiananmen gate where citizens returned to locate missing protesters driven from the square hours before. Video footage shows the military repeatedly opening fire here on unarmed citizens and medical personnel advancing toward Tiananmen Square to locate the missing and assist the wounded.[7]


The Square, located in the center of the city, is readily accessible by public transportation. Line 1 of the Beijing Subway has stops at Tiananmen West and Tiananmen East, respectively, to the northwest and northeast of the Square on Chang'an Avenue. Line 2's Qianmen Station is directly south of the Square.

City buses 1, 4, 10, 22, 37, 37 , 52, 59, 120, 125, 126, 203, 205, 210, 728 and 802 stop north of the Square. Buses 2, 5, 7, 9, 17, 20, 44, 48, 53, 54, 59, 110, 120, 120 , 309 , 337, 703, 726, 729, 742, 744, 744 , 803, 808, 819, 820, 821, 826, 848, 859, 922, 2, 4 and 7 stop to the south of the Square.


File:TiananmenGatePic1.jpg|Tiananmen gate tower to the Forbidden City north of Tiananmen Square File:NationalMuseumofChinapic1.jpg|National Museum of China on the east side of the Square File:GreatHallofthePeoplepic2.jpg|The Great Hall of the People on the west side of the Square File:BeijingTiananmenSquaregatepicture2.jpg|Zhengyangmen Gate Tower marking the south end of Tiananmen Square Image:Monument people's heroes 2.jpg|Monument to the People's Heroes and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong occupy the center of the Square File:Monument to the People's Heroes.jpg|Monument to the People's Heroes File:Mausoleum von Mao Zedong.jpg|Mausoleum of Mao Zedong Image:Tianamen Square-Monument.jpg|Monument in front of Mao's Mausoleum on Tiananmen Square Image:318-3.jpg|Iconic image of the Tiananmen Square from the May Fourth movement of 1919 File:Kaiguodadian.jpg|Students attending the founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. File:HammerSickle Tiananmen.jpg|A temporary monument in Tiananmen Square marking the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2011 File:National mourning for 2008 Sichuan earthquake victims - Tiananmen Square, Beijing, 2008-05-19.jpg|National mourning on May 19, 2008 for the victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake


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