Tiananmen Square (天安門廣場 Pinyin: Tiān'ānmén Guǎngchǎng) is a large paved public plaza near the center of Beijing, China in front of the Forbidden City, facing south. Tian'anmen means "The Gate of Heavenly Peace", which locates north of the Square.
Built in 1417, the square is 880-metre south-north and 500-metre east-west. The gate was originally named the Chengtianmen (承天門), or "The Gate that Bears the Heaven". The gate was damaged by lightning in 1457, but was not repaired until 1465. In 1644, the gate was burned down by rebels led by Li Zicheng. 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, its flatness is broken only by the 100 foot high Monument to the People's Heroes and Mao Zedong's mausoleum. It is lit with huge lamposts which also sport video cameras. The Great Hall of the People is on the western side of the Square. Qianmen (Front Gate) is on the south side of the Square. National Museum of Chinese History is on the east side of the Square. Changan Avenue, which is used for parades, lies between Tiananmen Gate and the Square. Much part of the Square is open space with no trees or benches. Trees line the east and west edges of the Square. 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.