"Tiananmen Gate" Forbidden City - The Palace Museum Tip by Blatherwick

  Tiananmen Gate
by Blatherwick

The Tiananmen, or "Gate of Heavenly Peace", is the principal entrance to the Forbidden City, in Beijing, People's Republic of China. The gate was originally named Chengtianmen, or "Gate that Bears Heaven"). The gate was damaged by lightning in 1457, and was not repaired until 1465. It suffered another blow in the war at the end of Ming Dynasty. In 1644 during the Qing Dynasty, the gate was again burnt down by rebels led by Li Zicheng.

The central gate has a portrait of Mao Zedong towering over it, while the western and eastern walls have giant placards; the left one reads "Long Live the People's Republic of China", while the right one reads "Long live the Great Unity of the World's Peoples". The phrasing has great symbolic meaning, as the phrase used for long live, like the palace itself, was traditionally reserved for Emperors of China, but is now available to the common people.

The reviewing stands in the foreground are used on International Workers Day (May Day) and on the National Day (October 1) of the People's Republic of China.

In front of the gate are two lions standing in front of the gate and two more guarding the bridges. Two stone columns -- each with an animal (hou) on top of it -- also stand in front of the gate. They were there to keep an eye out on the emperor inside the Forbidden City; the animal facing outside (south) would admonish the emperor if he stayed out for too long. Meanwhile, the animal facing inside (north) would reprimand an emperor who stayed inside the realms of the Forbidden City for too long.

Address: North of Tiananmen Square
Directions: In the Center of Beijing
Phone: 010-85007422, 85007421
Website: http://www.dpm.org.cn/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 3, 2005
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