"The "Front Gate" of Beijing" Qian Mem - Arrow Tower - Zheng yang men Tip by xuessium

by xuessium

Qianmen [前门] is the common name for the gateway known formally as Zhengyangmen [正阳门] and stands at the south end of the Tiananmen Square precinct, and was formerly the front gate of the Imperial City, a part of the ancient city of Beijing.

First built in 1419, the gateway consisted of a gatehouse proper and an archery tower, which forms a large barbican. The present gates date from 1914 and incorporate modern design elements suggested by German advisors. At 42 metres high, the gatehouse was, and is, the tallest among all of the gates of Beijing.

After the Communist victory in 1949, the gate complex was occupied by the Beijing garrison of the People's Liberation Army. They vacated the gate in 1980.

Today, you can pay the gatehouse a visit (the archery tower is unfortunately out of bounds) and catch a panoramic view of the centre of Beijing. Entry fee is 20RMB. The tower also houses a 4 storey museum of sorts, displaying old photos and pictorial explanations on the history and expansion of the city. There are also historical and cultural exhibits and shops selling Chinese tea and artifacts.

I wasn't suitably impressed though and as the tower is not air-conditioned, it can be quite stuffy and humid, rendering your visit a little less comfortable.

Directions: In the very center of Beijing.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 12, 2007
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