Tian'anmen Square is the large plaza near the centre of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. It is the largest city square in the world, at 440,000 square meters, and can hold about one million people for public celebration or gatherings. In the square tourists can climb the Tiananmen Rostrum, attend the national flag raising ceremony every morning at sunrise, visit the National Museum of China, and go to the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, in which one will see the body of the great Chinese leader. Tian'anmen Square is definitely a must-have along your China vacation packages of Beijing.
In traditional Chinese architecture, a Huabiao is a type of ceremonial columns. Huabiaos are traditionally erected in front of palaces and tombs. The prominence of their placement have made them one of the emblems of traditional Chinese culture. When placed outside palaces, they can also be called bangmu ("commentary board"). When placed outside a tomb, they can also be called shendaozhu ("spirit way columns").
Extant huabiaos are typically made from white marble. A huabiao is typically made up of four components. At the bottom is a square base, called a sumeru base, which is decorated with bas-relief depictions of dragons, lotuses, and other auspicious symbols. Above is a column, decorated with a coiled dragon and auspicious clouds. Near the top, the column is crossed by a horizontal stone board in the shape of a cloud (called the "cloud board"). The column is topped by a round cap, called the "dew-collecting plate". At the top of the cap sits a mythical creature called the denglong, also called a hou, one of the "nine children of the dragon", which is said to have the habit of watching the sky. Its role atop the huabiao is said to be to communicate the mood of the people to the Heavens above. Discover the symbol of Huabiao would be much helpful for you to understanding the time-weathered history of China along your China travel.
The Tiananmen Rostrum, standing to the north of the Tiananmen Square, on the south–north central axis of Beijing, was the main gate of the royal palace of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It was initially called Chengtianmen (Carrying Heaven Gate), which means to bear the edict and divine power of Heaven itself, as the Emperor, who used this gate, was believed to. In the eighth year of emperor Shunzhi's administration (1652), the gate was refurbished and called Tiananmen (the Gate of Heavenly Peace). From then on nearly all important imperial celebrations and events, such as: the enthronement of an emperor, imperial weddings, the rite of the emperor going to battle, the famous "Imperial Edict Issued by the Golden Phoenix", the worship of Heaven and Earth and the worship of the five grains; all involved passing through this gate. Some people who only have limited time to visit Beijing, they could visit these attractions around Tiananmen Square during their 72-hour visa free travel of Beijing.
The magnificent gate has five openings. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the passage in the middle leading to the Forbidden City was reserved for the emperor himself. The emperor went through the central passage on the way to the altars for rituals and other religious activities. High-ranking government officials and the empresses, concubines, princess and princesses could only enter the Forbidden City through the side passages, while ordinary subjects were absolutely forbidden to go inside the Forbidden City, hence its name. The 34.7 meter-high Tiananmen Rostrum seems even more magnificent in the sunshine, with glittering yellow glazed tiles on the roof and deep red walls and pillars.
Before Tiananmen are the Golden Water Bridge and the white Huabiao, a pair of ornamental columns made of white marble sculptured with dragon designs. They are also called "slander pillars", as in ancient times they carried the ordinary people's slander and suggestions for the emperor. There is also a pair of big stone lions.
If one only have a chance to visit China, the scenery-lovers would prefer to take a world-renowned Yangtze River tour to discover the majestic Yangtze River, the mother River of China, while to the history-lovers, visiting the capital cities of China, Beijing, would be their best choice to get closer to Chinese history and meandering around the Tiananmen Square would be a must-do for them.
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