Tian An Men Square
Tian An Men (Gate of Heavenly Peace) was the main entrance to the Forbidden City during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Built in 1417, it was first named the Cheng Tian Men, meaning that emperors obeyed the order of Heaven in ruling the country. Destroyed by fire twice, it was rebuilt in 1651 during the Qing Dynasty and renamed Tian An Men. It is also honored as the "Gate of the Nation."
During the Ming and Qing Dynasties grand ceremonies were held at Tian An Men. Composed of the rostrum and gate tower, the building is 34.7 meters high and has five watchtowers. Supported by nine huge columns, the building has a splendid colorful roof of glazed tiles. With painted pillars and carved beams, the hall of Tian An Men Rostrum looks majestic. Sixty huge columns, representing the Earthly Branches designate years, months, days and hours and the Heavenly stems to designate marks of order, stand in perfect harmony to demonstrate the permanent stability of the nation. Tian An Men, a masterpiece of China's ancient architectural art, represents the superb skill and artistic talent of the Chinese people.
As one of the largest city squares in the world, Tian An Men Square occupies an area of 440, 000 square meters--spacious enough to accommodate half a million people. Many annual and special celebrations and assemblies are held here.
On October 1st, 1949, Chairman Mao Ze Dong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China on the Tian An Men Rostrum, thus opening a new chapter in the history of China. In the new period of reforms and opening, Tian An Men, with its long history and rich culture, attracts people from all over the world.