Tian'anmen Square is the most important square in all of China, as well as the largest in the world. Constructed in 1949 after the proclamation of the People's Republic of China, the square has giant dimensions of 880 by 500 metres.
Over the years, the square has been the backdrop for several historic events, including the 1989 Protests, which ended with the death of hundreds of protesters and the declaration of Martial Law in Beijing.
The huge square is now completely guarded and can only be accessed through the police controls.
What to see in the square
The most important landmark and the building that lends its name to the square is the Tian'anmen Gate, located to the north of the square which gives access to the Forbidden City. From this gate, known as The Gate of Heavenly Peace, Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
At the square's southern point you'll find the Qianmen Tower (also called Zhengyangmen), which houses a museum dedicated to Beijing's history.
On the east and west sides, the square is flanked by two imposing buildings: the National Museum of China and the Great People's Palace (seat of government).
In the centre of the square stands the Monument to the People's Heroes, a 38-metre high granite obelisk with some inscriptions from the most prominent Chinese communist leaders.
Mao Zedong Mausoleum
The centre of Tian'anmen Square is occupied by the Mao Zedong Mausoleum, the building where the embalmed body of the communist leader, founder of the People's Republic of China, lies.
Before entering the mausoleum, you'll have to leave backpacks and cameras in the locker located next to one of the ends of the square. Then, after a long and busy line, you can see the embalmed body of the former leader.
It's curious to see the way in which Chinese crowds bow and give floral offerings as a sign of respect to their former leader while thinking nostalgically about the past.
Every day: 5 am to 10 pm.
Mao Mausoleum: Free entrance with your passport.