Starting in the Centre: Tiananmen Square

Beijing is a huge place so where better to start than its centre. Today Dave and I took the subway Tianamen Square. We left in the late morning to avoid peak-hour which I can only imagine how bad it might. Fortunately he lives along the line that passes directly under Tiananmen. If you go by subway you’ll exit into the square on stations on the east and west sides. We had to drop something off first, so got off a stop up line 1 at Wangfujing then walked over to the square. Upon first sight it is a huge open space that photos and the typical TV footage a foreigner has seen doesn’t give perspective of.

Tiananmen square

The area has many soldiers both on both ceremonial duties and security. No doubt there are many also plain clothes security there too.

Soldiers

The main attraction that everyone knows is Tiananmen gate which provides the entrance to The Forbidden City / Imperial Palace.

Tiananmen gate

Tiananmen gate

Meanwhile in the centre of the square is the Monument to the People’s Heroes. The square has been the site of many major social and political events over the history of China.

On the south side of the square is the gate house which was once the entrance to the inner city. The city walls have since been removed.

Zhengyangmen

Further south of the gatehouse is the archery tower which was used to defend the entrance.Gatehouse and archery tower

The positioning of the gatehouse is important as it sits on the north-south axis of the city of Beijing.North-shouth axis

The square is surrounded by important political, cultural and historical institutions. While it bustling with visitors most of these are Chinese domestic tourists, many in groups.

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