Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tian'anmen Square () is a very large plaza near the center of Beijing, China, named for the Tiananmen (literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace) which sits to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City. It is seen by many as the symbolic heart of the Chinese Nation. Outside of China, the square is best known for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Built in 1417, the square is 880 metres south to north and 500 metres east to west. In 1651 (early Qing), the gate was renovated and renamed to its present form. During the Ming and Qing eras, there was no public square at Tiananmen, and instead the area was filled with offices for imperial ministries. These were badly damaged during the Boxer Rebellion and the area was cleared to produce the beginning of Tiananmen Square.
Enlarged in 1949 to 100 acres (40 ha), its flatness is broken only by the 38-metre-high Monument to the People's Heroes and the Mao Zedong mausoleum . The square lies between two ancient, massive gates: the Tian'anmen to the north and the Qianmen () to the south. Along the west side of the Square is the Great Hall of the People. Along the east side is the National Museum of Chinese History . Chang'an Avenue, which is used for parades, lies between the Tian'anmen and the Square. Trees line the east and west edges of the Square, but the square itself is open, with neither trees nor benches.
The Square is lit with huge lamposts which also sport video cameras. It is heavily monitored by uniformed and plainclothes policemen.
Tiananmen Square has been the site of a number of political events such as the proclamation of the People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong in October 1, 1949 and for mass rallies during the Cultural Revolution. It has also been the site of a number of protest movements, most notably the May Fourth Movement of 1919 for science and democracy, protests in 1976 after the death of Zhou Enlai, and the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
The protests of 1989 resulted in the killing of several thousand young Chinese in the square and adjacent areas and is thus sometimes called the Tiananmen Massacre. There have since been sources disputing the claim that students where shot in the square, such as Graham Earnshaw and Columbia Journal Review
Images from near and in the square
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