Tian'anmen Square

 

 

Tian'anmen Square is one of the largest city center squares in the world. It is truly the heart of Beijing.
 
Tian'anmen Square gets its name from the huge gate that stands on the north side of the square. The Chinese word for "gate" is "men", so the name "Tian'anmen" can be translated into English as the "Gate of Heavenly Peace". Tian'anmen was built in 1417 and served as the entrance gate to the Imperial Palace, or known to Westerners, the Forbidden City.
 
In the past, every traditional Chinese home had a small courtyard in front of the main building. Of course, the courtyard of the royal family had to be much larger. During the Ming Dynasty, the square was enclosed by red walls, with gates on both of the eastern and western sides. The ground was paved with slabs of stone.
 
Tian'anmen Square now stretches 880 meters from north to south and 500 meters from east to west, making for a total area of 440,000 square meters. That's about the size of 60 soccer fields, spacious enough for half a million people to all stand on the square at one time.