Tian'anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) was and is considered as the centre of Beijing, not only because of its location but also because it is a symbol of power. Tian'anmen is the front gate of the Forbidden City, the gate leading to the supreme power in imperial times. The tower over the gate was used for grand ceremonies in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, for instance, issuing imperial edicts. In modern China, it is also a symbol of power. From the tower of Tian'anmen, on October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the new China. On National Day each year, the tower is used as a rostrum for reviewing the mass assembly. Its image is also used as a national emblem, and can be seen everywhere from the policemen's caps to children's textbooks and even tickets.
The gate, the front of the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, was where important ceremonies, such as enthroning an emperor or granting the title of empress, were held. It is 33.37 metres high, and as long as nine standard rooms and as wide as five standard rooms. With five arched doorways, red pillars, yellow glazed tiles and a double-eaved roof, it looks magnificent and gracious.
The Tian'anmen Square, the largest of its kind in the world, covers an area of 400,000 square metres. In the centre of the square is the 37-meter-high Monument to the People's Heroes, the largest of its kind in China. In the southern part of the square is the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao Zedong, which has a crystal coffin containing the late Chairman's remains. The square is flanked by the Great Hall of the People on the west, and the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution on the east.
The rostrum of the Tian'anmen Gate was opened to the public on January 1, 1988.
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