When imagining what Tiananmen Square is like, think less of it
as a city square, more as an enormous, vast emptiness, bordered at
its extremes by some of the most iconic images and buildings in
China. There are no bustling cafés and tacky souvenir shops -
Tiananmen Square has not adapted to cater for its tourist
At 400,000 square metres, Tiananmen Square is the world's
largest public square and is a must-see for all Beijing visitors,
although it is the famous buildings and monuments that surround the
square which really makes a visit worthwhile.
The square itself is actually otherwise rather ugly, but it was
here that Chairman Mao declared the founding of the People's
Republic of China in 1949. Mao's remains (or possibly a waxwork)
can be seen in his mausoleum on Tiananmen Square.
'Tiananmen' means 'Gate of the Heavenly Peace', and the
incredible public space acts as the gateway to the Forbidden City.
A huge portrait of Mao Zedong hangs at Tiananmen Gate - it is
repainted through the year to account for the effects of
weathering, environmental conditions and pollution.