One of the largest city-squares in the world, Tiananmen Square was built in 1417 and is today one of the most visited monuments in Beijing. It is a large plaza situated near central Beijing and named after Tiananmen which means Gate of Heavenly Peace.
This gate separates it from the Forbidden City (which was the imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty). It has a substantial history linking it to several major events in Chinese history (including the 1989 pro-democracy protest at which hundreds of protesters were killed by Government troops) and today has a strong cultural significance too.
The square is sectioned off by two huge gates: Tian’anmen (north) and Qianmen (south). There is also the Great Hall of the People on the west side and the National Museum of China on the east side. For minimalists this is also a wonderful place to visit since the entire square is open, giving one a feeling of almost endless space. There are no trees or greenery to be seen, just wide, open spaces. And for those who want to see it at night, it is well lit by huge lampposts which also have video cameras. And don’t be surprised if you see officials on your visit there; the square is heavily policed at all times.