Monday, September 6, 2010

Sights of Beijing - Tian'an Men Sq/ Olympic site

A lot of stamina was needed to do Tian'an Men Square, Forbidden City and the Summer Palace -all on the same day ! Sounds crazy but time was tight. Had only 5 days to do a touch- and - go Beijing's star attractions, so all thoughts of beauty sleep didn't surface. Just get up and go!! The group of 72 of us had to be split under 2 different tour guides. Luckily, the weather was favourable and of course, the happy holiday spirit saw us through.

The sheer size of Tian' an Men Square told us we had to stay close to one another. Getting lost with knowing the lingo was not my cuppa tea! We saw the long queue making its trail to enter Chairman Mao's mausoleum. Linda, our guide said it was out of our itinerary as people come as early as 4 am to queue. Among the foreigners, were largely locals who have come to view Mao Zedong in his crystal cabinet. Tian'an Men Square hogged the headlines especially in regard to the 1989 pro democracy demonstrators who were forced out by army tanks and soldiers. So, this is it. I'm here!

For the faithful and tourists alike - all throng to view the embalmed body of Mao Zedong

You'll find no benches at the Square. Just rest your weary self on the concrete ground if you have too. Many people did and just watched the world at their feet!

The 'five star red flag', China's national flag is raised at dawn and lowered at dusk every day

Male lion symbolizes power - shown with a paw on a ball.

The Chinese dragon carved on the pillar - symbol of protector and luck

Tian' an Men Guangchang - the Square of the Gate of Heavenly Peace - the largest public square in the world - a vast open concrete expanse at the heart of modern Beijing - our guide repeatedly stressed to keep close to her. On a normal day it has about 20,000 visitors. All guides hold their 'special' flags high - recognise them and you'll not get lost! Believe me, just wandering off to snap a few photos without taking note of time can be unnerving as the people merge into one another and suddenly you have that lost in the jungle feeling!!

Soaking in the atmosphere with hordes of local tourists.

Gigantic portrait of ex- Chairman Mao looking over his people at the Ming Dynasty gate -the spot where he declared to the world The People's Republic of China on 1 October, 1949.

There's always the mandatory picture/s to show that you have walked Tian'an Men Square and had Chairman Mao for company!

Slogan on the left of portrait : Long Live The People's Republic of China
On the right:Long Live the Unity of The Peoples of the World

Am impressed by the cleanliness of the Square. This man was doing a good job - wheels a -spinning to maintain cleanliness. No rubbish bins - only bags placed here and there to collect throwaways - used cans etc.

The smartly clad uniform of the soldiers. Many were positioned here and there. If they do not turn their heads - left- right - timed to perfection - they'd be really like statues!

Monument to the People's Heroes - dedicated to the men and women who died in the struggles for their country to make China independent in the century before the Communists came to power.

Great Hall of The People - seat of the Chinese legislature

THE Bird's Nest as we saw in the early evening for a quick photo stop before making our way to the hotel. Yes, reality hits - it's massive steel alright. The colours that made it so magical as we sat glued to our tvs during the 2008 Summer Olympics were missing TILL we passed by on the bus during the night. That drew appreciative aaahhhs from us . So did the WATER CUBE.

Steel girders - nest -like appearance

The Bird's Nest, their pride and glory

The WATER CUBE ( National Aquatics Centre), the rectangular box is situated near the Bird's Nest - now a water themed park.

Reminders of the 2008 Summer Olympics - souvenirs to take home from the Olympic site


  1. I visited the Chairman Mao's mausoleum back in 1986. We were given priority to enter back then as we were tourists. Did not visit during my 2nd visit in 2002 though. Wow you must have worn out your shoes visiting 4 places in one

  2. Excellent post.
    It is a paradox that the place named " gate of heaven's peace" became the place of one of the biggest massacres in history.It is now remembered as the place of massacre,than the world's largest square. The birds nest appears to be an engineering marvel!.With all reservations on communism,the country appeared to have moved up in international level,compared to many of the so called democracies.
    Beautiful pictures.

  3. I read there's a Starbucks in Tiananmen. Really goes to symbolise the effect of globalisation on China.

    I thought the Olympic venues were very artistically made - Water Cube, Bird Nest and stuffs. Unlike other countries, where Olympic venues ended up as white elephants after the games ended.

  4. These are wonderful pictures! Tiananmen looks huge!

  5. Keats you have a very interesting life. I love your enthusiasm for life.

  6. Hello Keats!... Thank you for visiting my blog ( Thoughts to ponder ) sorry I'm late responding to your comment..I was so busy with my other blog ( Vetsy's view ) I forgot to check this one... Oops!

    Thank you for the tour of Beijing..

    I always wondered what the Lion with the ball symbolized, He is the perfect symbol for Strength!


  7. China is such an interesting country to visit, especially the historical buildings. Last but not least, I would like to pay a visit to Bird Nest if there's a chance for me to go China.

  8. Great to have you back, Keats! Was wondering when you were going to post a follow-up to Mr. Sidewalk Brush Painting.

    So many places covered in one day! Were you and Ravi participating in The Amazing Race Asia? ;o)

    Wonder why the Chinese are still so deferential towards and obsessed with Mousey Dong. I think he committed quite a lot of human rights violations in his time.

  9. Fabulous photos. I will never get to visit but I can enjoy reading it about through your blog. The closest I came was having Chinese for lunch yesterday.

  10. I have yet to see a photo of Chairman Mao smiling..seen any before? Friends commented I've got the Mao's look ie no smile..perhaps if you come across any smiling photo then it would prove em wrong..haha

  11. I've heard of this square for a large part of my life but have never seen pictures of it. Thank you for this original experience. The pictures are very significant.

  12. What an amazing pictoral tour! I could feel your fear of getting separated from your group in that throng of people!

  13. Hi KSG,
    Amazing article, again. I enjoy very much reading your notes from China. People Hero's place seems like very impressive. I am so wanting (+wondering) when the wind will take me to this big land.. I also love seeing you in the pics, you are so pretty nice, thanks for deleting my curiosity;)

  14. Wow, amazing energy to visit all these beautiful places in one day. I wish my stamina was still as great as yours. Sigh.

  15. This is a grand and beautiful place.


Great to have you popping in!