Monday, July 22, 2013


Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the third largest city square in the world (440,000 m² - 880m by 500m or 109 acres - 960 by 550 yd). It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.

Outside China, the square is best known in recent memory as the focal point of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a pro-democracy movement which ended on 4 June 1989 with the declaration of martial law in Beijing by the government and the death of several hundred or possibly thousands of civilians.

The Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City was built in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty. Towards the demise of the Ming Dynasty, heavy fighting between Li Zicheng and the early Qing emperors damaged (or perhaps destroyed) the gate. The Tiananmen square was designed and built in 1651, and has since enlarged four times its original size in the 1950s.

Near the center of today's square, stood the "Great Ming Gate", the southern gate to the Imperial City, renamed "Great Qing Gate" during the Qing Dynasty, and "Gate of China" during the Republic of China era. Unlike the other gates in Beijing, such as the Tiananmen and the Qianmen, this was a purely ceremonial gateway, with three arches but no ramparts, similar in style to the ceremonial gateways found in the Ming Dynasty Tombs.

This gate had a special status as the "Gate of the Nation", as can be seen from its successive names. It normally remained closed, except when the Emperor passed through. Commoner traffic was diverted to two side gates at the western and eastern ends of today's square, respectively. Because of this diversion in traffic, a busy marketplace, called Chessgrid Streets developed in the big, fenced square to the south of this gate.

From Wikipedia

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