Beijing Tian'anmen Gate (Tiananmen Gate, Tian An Men Gate), China

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Tian'anmen Gate (Tian An Men Gate)

In the north of Tiananmen Square, a well-known square in the world, there is a terrace called "Tian'anmen Gate" (Tiananmen Gate, Tian An Men Gate). This 33.7-meters-high terrace has been standing in Tian'anmen Square for more than 500 years.

White marble used as the foundation of Tian'anmen Gate, on which stands a 10-meter-high red terrace, the terrace were made out of huge bricks, each brick weighing 43 kilograms.

Because the figures "9" and "5" are the symbolic of the supremacy of the emperors, the terrace hall were built with nine rooms facing west and five others facing south.

On October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong ascended Tian'anmen Gate to proclaim the founding of the People's Republic of China. Since then, Tian'anmen Gate has become an important place for parade and mass assembly in China.

The remodeling of Tian'anmen Gate was opened to the public on January 1, 1988. Only in a few years, millions of people have visited Tiananmen Gate. In the tourist season, the number of tourists each day can reach more than 10,000.

Like emperors in ancient China, you can also ascend Tian'anmen Gate and overlook the vast Tiananmen Square. You can imagine the historical scene that hundreds of civil and military officials are standing side by side on Tiananmen Square.

Tian'anmen Gate was first built in the reign of Emperor Yongle in the Ming Dynasty (1417A.D.). It was initially named "Chengtianmen Gate", which meant "accepting full authority from God". It was the front entrance of the Forbidden City.

Chengtianmen Gate was not so grand at that time, nothing more than a horizontal tablet inscribed with "Chengtianmen" and a three-level wooden arch. This arch was destroyed in a fire in 1451 and was rebuilt in 1465, and destroyed again in flames of war in the last years of the Ming Dynasty (1368A.D. ~ 1644A.D.). It was not rebuilt until the reign of Shunzhi in the Qing Dynasty (1651A.D.) when it was constructed into the present looks and renamed to "Tiananmen Gate".

At the time, Tian'anmen Gate is extremely sacred, representing "Imperial Authority", the highest power of all. In feudal dynasties, not only imperial edicts were issued here, grand ceremonies were also held here. The Stage of Issuing Imperial Edict was set up in the middle of Tian'anmen Gate.

When an imperial edict was issued, hundreds of civil and military officials kneeled by the south of Gold Water Bridge. The imperial edict was placed on to a wooden phoenix, "Golden Phoenix", and received by officials of rites with a cloud shape wooden tray. Later the edict would be copied on to yellow paper by officials of rites and issued throughout the country.

This ceremony was called "Golden Phoenix Issuing Edict". Whenever new emperors ascended the throne or the empresses granted the title, the imperial edicts must be announced from Tian'anmen Gate, only after the announcement could the edicts be made known to the public.

In addition, Tian'anmen Gate was the gateway for emperors where he took his major visitation each season. Each year near the winter, emperors would go to Temple of Heaven and offer his pray there; in the summer, he would be at northern suburb of Beijing to worship the Earth.

In springtime, he routinely made a prayer for harvest of rice in the first lunar month or went hunting in the second lunar month. When emperors went out for inspection, they must offer sacrifices to the road; when senior generals went to battle, emperors would hold a farewell ceremony at the gate in person.

This gate was also the place where emperors would call in the first three winners of the annual national examinations after the result were announced. He would meet them in person, which was a great honor to the winners.

Tian'anmen was also a place for holding "Autumn Judgement" and "Judgement by Court". In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, court officials would submit to emperors the registers containing the names of prisoners who were sentenced to death from each province. In the middle of eighth lunar month, emperors would make the final sentencing. This was called "Autumn Judgement" or "Sentence in Autumn".

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