Beijing/Tiananmen

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Beijing/Tiananmen

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Tian'anmen Square

Tian'anmen (天安门 Tiān'ānmén) is the centre of Beijing and the Chinese world. Capital city buildings surround Tian'anmen Square, while the Forbidden City was the Imperial capital for hundreds of years. This precinct is the most famous area in all of China.

Understand[edit]

Tian'anmen Square (天安门广场; Tiān'ānmén Guǎngchǎng) is one of the largest squares in the world. Built for Mao to impress; the square is surrounded by Soviet-style monuments and government buildings. Tian'anmen Square remains an astounding place and a spot to linger and see visitors from all over China, many visiting their capital for the first time. There is a flag raising and lowering ceremony at dawn and dusk at the north end of the square. There are four marble lions in front of the Tian'anmen gate, the southwest one has a bullet hole on its stomach from the 1989 Tian'anmen Square massacre. The square is best reached by subway. Qianmen Station on Line 2 is at the southern end of the square, while Tian'anmen East and Tian'anmen West, both on Line 1, are at the northern end. Due to traffic restrictions, taxis cannot stop on the square, so if you come by taxi, the driver will have to let you out on a nearby side street. You must pass through compulsory security check to enter the square.

Get in[edit]

The district is served by the wider Beijing public transport network. The main subway stations are Tian'anmen East and West on Subway Line 1. Subway Line 2 runs south of Tianan'men Square and the nearest station is Qianmen.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, (S end, opposite the entrance to the Forbidden City). Tu-Su 08:00-12:00 (note it is sometimes closed without notice). Mao's mausoleum. Expect huge, but moving, queues. No bags, cameras or water bottles are allowed inside and must be dropped off (for a fee) at the 'Bagcheck' building across the road to the east (mobile phones permitted). Flowers can be purchased to lay at the feet of Mao's statue inside (although they are collected and resold at the end of the day) as well as leaflets for ¥1. There is disagreement among the locals as to whether the body is real or fake waxwork so make up your own mind. Mao souvenirs can be purchased at the exit. Free.  edit
  • Monument to the People's Heroes, (Center of the square). The monument documents key events in modern Chinese history.  edit
  • The Great Hall of the People, (Borders on the W). Seat of China's parliament and important political meetings. ¥30.  edit
  • The Chinese National Museum, Tian'anmen Sq (Occupies the eastern side of the sq). 09:00-17:00. Huge Museum, since it is free there are long lines. Closed M. Free.  edit
  • Tian'anmen Gate (天安门; Gate of Heavenly Peace). Tian'anmen Gate, and its large portrait of Chairman Mao, dominates the northern end of the square. Pass beneath the gate to head north toward the Forbidden City. It costs nothing to pass through, but on the far side there is a ticket booth where you can pay admission to visit the Gate. Although visiting the Gate allows a good view over Tian'anmen Square, do not be fooled into thinking you are buying tickets to the Forbidden City: they are separate attractions. ¥15.  edit
  • Forbidden City (故宫 Gù Gōng, also known as the Palace Museum), [1]. Closed M. 1 Apr-31 Oct 08:30-17:00 (¥60), 1 Nov-31 Mar 08:30-16:30 (¥40). Get there when the gates open (around 08:30) if you want to walk through the vast and spectacular courtyards in relative peace (Close at 17:00). This is truly the spot to appreciate the might and grandeur of the Imperial Chinese court during the height of its power in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Despite the transformation of the city around it, the Forbidden City remains mercifully relatively untouched. There are a handful of cafes and gift shops, which are surprisingly not very overpriced considering what a tourist area it is. Only two-fifths of the area of the palace is opened but more sections open all the time. Wandering to the right or left can yield some beautiful secluded courtyards and, of course, padlocked dead ends. You can rent an audio guided tour which explains certain temples along the central axis and their uses for ¥40 with a ¥100 deposit (more than a dozen languages available). The signs posted around and on buildings inside are fairly short and are written in both Chinese and English.  edit

Temples[edit]

  • Imperial Ancestral Temple

Museums[edit]

  • National Museum of China (中国国家博物馆 Zhōngguó Guójiā Bówùguǎn), 16 E Chang'an St, Dongcheng District (On the E side of Tian'anmen Sq), +86 10 6511-6400, [2]. 09:00-17:00, closed M. World class museum with an excellent collection of ancient Chinese history and artifacts. In addition the modern China history is well presented, albeit not very objective and misses many politically sensitive events. Well worth a few hours visit. Free.  edit
  • Beijing Police Museum (北京警察博物馆; Běijīng Jǐngchá Bówùguǎn), 36 Dongjiaomin Ln (东交民巷36号; Dōngjiāomín Xiàng) (1.5 km E of the southern parts of Tian'anmen Sq), +86 10 8522-5018. 09:00-16:00. Large museum on police history. ¥5.  edit
  • Imperial City Art Museum (皇城艺术馆; Huángchéngyìshùguǎn), 9 Changpuheyan (菖蒲河沿9号; Chāngpúhéyàn) (N side of Changpu River Park, near corner of Nanchizi Jie), +86 10 8511-5104, [3]. 10:00-17:30. The Imperial City was the Manchu city that surrounded the Forbidden City during the Qing dynasty. The museum's centrepiece is a scale model of the Forbidden & Imperial Cities. There are also displays on lifestyle, costumes, arts & crafts of the Qing imperial city. Occasionally hosts special exhibits that cost extra. ¥20.  edit
  • Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall (北京规划展馆; Běijīngguīhuàguīhuàguǎn), 20 Qianmen Dongdajie (前门东大街20号; Qiánméndōngdàjiē), +86 10 6702-4559. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. Museum with a large model of the city, historical pictures from the city and also other exhibitions with relation to the layout and structure of Beijing.  edit

Parks[edit]

Zhongshan Park.
  • Zhongshan Park (中山公园; Zhōngshāngōngyuán), W side of Tian'anmen (天安门西侧; Tiānānménxīcè), +86 10 6605-5431. Summer 06:00-21:00, winter 06:30-20:00. Beautifully landscaped park with lots of trees and bamboo. Paddle boats of rent on the moat of the Forbidden City. Also an indoor playground for children, and bumper cars. ¥3, children free.  edit
  • Changpu River Park (菖蒲河公园; Chāngpúhé Gōngyuán), (E of Tian'anmen, parallel to Chang'an Jie). Narrow strip of landscaped park along a small stream. Begins in the east near the Beijing hotel and runs almost to Tian'anmen Gate. Free.  edit

Other[edit]

  • Legation Quarter, (E of Tian'anmen Sq). Once famous in the Boxer Rebellion, the legation quarter is now occupied by government offices and army offices but can still be seen from outside. There's a wonderful bakery store called "Sapporo" near the legation quarter, famous for its breads and cheesecakes.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Government[edit]

  • Great Hall of the People (人民大会堂; Rénmíndàhuìtáng), W side of Tian'anmen Sq (天安门广场西侧; Tiānānménguǎngchǎngxīcè, +86 10 6309-6156. The great hall of the people is used for meetings for the National People's Congress. But there is also helt classical concerts now and then.  edit

Theatre[edit]

  • National Centre for Performing Arts

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Chinese food[edit]

  • Dadong Duck Restaurant (大董烤鸭店 Dàdŏng Kăoyā Diàn). 11:00-22:00 daily. Considered by some to be the best Beijing duck in the city, this upscale restaurant also delivers on a nice atmosphere. Reservations suggested. full/half Beijing duck is ¥240/120 with extra ¥8 for condiments. Meal is served with free hot water, small soup, light fruits and black sesame for dessert. ¥300.  edit

Non-Chinese food[edit]

  • The Courtyard, 95 Donghuamen Dajie, +86 10 6526-8882. The Courtyard overlooks the moat surrounding the south-east corner of the wall of the Forbidden City. At night, the wall and tower are illuminated which gives a sense of being in old Peking. The cuisine is modern international fusion food. A recent (2011) traveller felt that, while the food was still excellent, the service and ambiance had greatly declined..  edit
  • Capital M, 3rd Floor, No. 2 Qianmen Pedestrian St, +86 10 6702-2727, [4]. Capital M is a modern Australian/British style restaurant. It provides cuisine and ambiance of a high standard. It overlooks part of Tiananmen Square and several colourful Chinese buildings which are illuminated at night. By Australian standards it provides excellent value.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Fez Bar, 23 Qianmen E St (前门东大街23号; Qiánmén Dōng Dàjiē), +86 10 6559-6266 (), [5]. 18:00-01:00. Openair rooftop cocktail bar situated next to The Legation Quarter and with great views. Serves all kind of cocktails as well as some food.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Splurge[edit]

  • Beijing Hotel, [6]. State-owned (and thus presumably less expensive). Located near the Forbidden City, there is a spectacular view of Tiananmen Square from the hotel.  edit
  • Grand Hotel Beijing (北京贵宾楼饭店; Běijīng Guìbīnlóu Fàndiàn), 35 E Chang'an St (东长安街35号; Dōngchángānjiē), +86 10 6513-7788 (fax: +86 10 6513-0049), [7]. 5-star hotel located in a traditional building in a small street overlooking the Forbidden City. Rooms with free internet except for the cheapest ones. The rooms are 32-66m² except for the very most expensive, which is more than 100m². Business center, gift shop, ticket office, fitness, pool and sauna available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as coffee shop, bar and room service. Doubles ¥3,450-14,950, discounted rates ¥765-10,500, breakfast ¥184.  edit
  • Grand Hyatt Beijing (北京东方君悦大酒店), 1 E Chang'an Ave, +86 10 8518-1234 (), [8]. Privately-owned, exquisite, and expensive, 5-star hotel. There is an enormous swimming pool in the basement that is decorated in very tropical manner, but the deepest part is only 1.5 meters. The jacuzzi and wet sauna are excellent. Next to Wangfujing and within minutes walk to Forbidden City.  edit