We intended to visit TianAnMen Square and The Forbidden City in one day, but as we all know the best laid plans etc....we took a taxi to the Square and entered from the Southern end, the square is the largest in the world, and is a fantastic space. Before we had got very far we were approached by a man who introduced himself to us a Guide. He told us that the building at the Southern end of the square was open to Europeans just for that day only, as there was going to be a visit from an important person later in the week. The building is one of the gates to Tian’AnMen Square with the lovely name of Zhengyang Men Gate. No I can’t pronounce it either! As it was such a beautiful building we had to go and have a look round didn’t we??
The Gate is a museum, which was fascinating, but I think the beauty of the building and the stunning views from the building were worth the visit. We met up with a friend of my daughters and his parents which was great. On the top floor of the Gate was an amazing art gallery, with a lovely gentleman who spend quite some time talking to us. He pointed out to me that China is very similar in shape to the cockerel, one of the symbols of the country. He also told us about the Golden Line, an imaginary line which runs through the gate, the middle of Tan’AnMen Square and right through The Forbidden City. This line also runs through the middle of The Summer Palace to the South. The line was plotted by the astronomers when planning the siting of the important buildings in Beijing.
Above are a couple of exhibits in the museum, below are some of the amazing paintings in the art gallery on the top floor.
Below are some views taken from the Zhengyang Men Gate
Looking across Tian’AnMen Square towards The Forbidden City in the background. The mausoleum to Chairman Mao is the building in the foreground.
The Forbidden City to the North of Tian’AnMen Square
On leaving the Zhengyyang Men Gate, we walked through Tian’AnMen Square, past the mausoleum to Chairman Mao and the monument to the People’s Heroes , and there before us was the well known Tian’AnMen Gate, recognizable to most people!
We realized that we had not left enough time to visit The Forbidden City, and we were hungry, so we left Tia’AnMen Square, had a lovely meal in a Japanese Restaurant, and wandered through QianMen Street which is a large pedestrianised shopping area. Sadly I don’t have any photos of this area, I do remember taking photos of a wonderful Silk shop, and a couple of this area, but for some reason I have lost them....maybe I only thought I took them....
An Imperial Lion
We were due to catch a train from Bejing West Railway Station for the overnight journey to Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors, so we left the shops behind and got to the station in plenty of time to catch our train. I will tell you more about our train journey and Xi’an in my next blog.
I like this painting especially as I was born in the Year of The Horse