The Square of Heavenly Peace in the Chinese capital Beijing is located directly in front of the Imperial Palace and has been the scene of numerous major historical events and bloody battles, such as the proclamation of the People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong in 1949 or the brutal suppression of several hundred demonstrators in 1989.
The Square of Heavenly Peace in the centre of the Chinese city of Beijing, known as Tian'anmen Square in the national language, is the largest fortified square in the world, covering an area of almost 40 hectares. It takes its name from the actual Tian'anmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, behind which the Forbidden City with the Imperial Palace is located. The square has been open to the public since 1911 and has repeatedly been the scene of political demonstrations, as it can accommodate up to three million people.
Emergence by "chance
Tiananmen Square was more or less an architectural accident, as China traditionally did not allow large public gathering places. But space was needed for the construction of the large thoroughfare "Chang An Jie" and so some buildings and parts of the Forbidden City wall were demolished.
Gradually, more and more walls of the imperial city and buildings were removed until only the main gate of the imperial palace - the Gate of Heavenly Peace - remained and was rebuilt again and again even after several fires and destructions.
Around Tiananmen Square are the Great Hall of the People to the west and the Chinese National Museum to the east. In the south, the colossal mausoleum of Mao Zedong has stood since 1977, containing the mummified remains of the revolutionary in a crystalline sarcophagus. Mao's internal organs preserved in formaldehyde and his body as a wax replica are supposedly kept in the cellar. However, this has not been proven.
In the middle of Tian'anmen stands the 40m high "Yingxiong Jinian Bei" or Monument to the People's Heroes, dedicated to the men and women who gave their lives in the pre-communist era.
Bloody Square of Heavenly Peace
Tiananmen Square made the headlines time and again due to political rallies and demonstrations. In May 1919, the May 4th Movement was a demonstration of several thousand students against the Treaty of Versailles, which did not return former German leased land in Shandong Province to China.
In 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China here. In 1976, the year of his death, a demonstration against the removal of the funeral wreaths of the popular late premier Zhou Enlai was violently dispersed.
The ultimately bloody end of the uprising on 4 June 1989, when demonstrators demanding freedom of the press and democracy were brutally put down by the government, attracted international attention and outrage. Between 300 and 3,000 people lost their lives at that time.
In the course of this uprising, the "tank man" also became famous, who managed to stop 17 tanks by simply jumping into their path again and again and not letting them pass. Today he is regarded as a worldwide symbol of war opposition. In China, his story is censored and no one knows the whereabouts of the 19-year-old who has since become a folk hero.