Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square is one of the largest public squares in China. Located at the center of Beijing, is surrounded by the Forbidden City in the north, the Great Hall of the People in the west, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall in the south and Chinese History and Chinese Revolution museums in the east. In the center of the square stands the monument to the People's Heroes. Originally designed and built in 1651, Tiananmen Square has historical, cultural and political significance. 

Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations which started on April 15 and were forcibly suppressed on June 4 when the government sent the military to fire at the demonstrators.

 


One of the reasons you should visit Tiananmen Square is the flag rising and lowering ceremonies, as well as changing the guards at specific times throughout the day. These flag ceremonies are happening at sunrise and sunset and are extremely popular among Chinese tourists. You don't need more than 20 minute to walk around and take some pictures.

 

Don't be surprised if Chinese citizens ask you to take a picture together. Most of them are coming from rural areas where seeing a foreigner isn't very common so you might become one of the attractions there. Also very weird are people walking around with umbrellas during a hot, sunny day. Chinese, women mostly, would do everything possible to stay away from sun. Not only because UV rays might damage your skin, also because white, pale skin is considered beautiful. 

 

Opening hours are everyday from 5am - 10pm, free of charge

How to get there: 

- take bus 1, 5, 52 and get off at Tiananmen Xi (West) or bus 2, 59, 82, 120 and get off at Tiananmen Dong (East)

- take subway line 1 to Tiananmen Dong or Tiananmen Xi station



Forbidden City

Known as the Palace Museum, it is the world's largest palace complex and largest collection of well-preserved medieval wooden structures. The construction began in 1406  in the Ming Dynasty and was home to 24 Chinese emperors  durin Ming and Qing dynasties until 1912. It has 980 buildings in over 70 palace compounds with over 8700 rooms and it's surrounded by a 10 meter high and 3.4 km long wall. Due to its cultural significance and unique beauty, the Forbidden City is extremely popular and around 14 million visitors come here annually. Most impressive things to see are the imperial living and governing quarters, valuable artworks and traditional gardens. Considered a divine place the ordinary people were forbidden to enter.


When visiting the Forbidden City, travelers must enter the Palace at the South Gate. Queue for the security check and bring your passport in order to buy a ticket. You need around 3 hours  to visit the whole place and the route from south entrance to north exit allows you to see the most magnificent gates and palaces including the Meridian Gate, the Gate of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Supreme Harmony , the Gate of Heavenly Purity, the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Imperial Garden and the Gate of Divine Prowess. The central axis usually attracts the most visitors and is crowded during peak hours. At the entrance you can request a map and rent an audio guide which will help explain what you're seeing. If you want to avoid the crowds, don't go there during weekends and national holidays, best is to go there in the afternoon (lunch time) . I recommend you take some water and snacks with you, there are vendors and restaurants but it's a bit pricey. At the North Gate (exit) you can take a bus or a taxi back to the city center or go to Jingshan Park right across the street and hike the Coal Hill and enjoy a hilltop view of the whole Forbidden City complex.

 

Opening hours aare 8:30 - 5:30 Tuesday - Sunday, closed on Mondays

Entrance ticket is 60 RMB ( 8€ )

How to get there:

- take bus 1, 2, 52, 59, 82 or 120 and get off at Tiananmen East station

-take subway line 1  to Tiananmen Esat station ( exit A ) or Tiananmen West  station ( exit B )