Qian Men Gate
At the rear of the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao,
on the southern edge of Tian An Men Square, one will find Qian Men
Gate. Originally the Imperial City was protected by nine gates of
which Qian Men is one of the few remaining Constructed in the fifteenth
century, this Gate was recently restored.
As a protective measure the nine original gates
were designed with two doors or gates and space in between (some-times
referred to as double gates). If a hostile force managed to get
through the outer or first door, a small enclosure or courtyard
would still have to be crossed to get to the inner or second door
which led into the City. Towers were strategically placed over these
inner doors to allow almost perfect aim at the enemy trapped below.
One should not confuse the terms Imperial City
and Forbidden City (Imperial Palace). The Imperial City as it existed
many years ago covered an area which encompassed not only the land
where the Forbidden City is today, but also Tian An Men Square and
acres and acres of surrounding areas. Anyone who worked in the Imperial
Palace lived within the walls of the Imperial City. Much of the
original wall has been torn down and is now part of urban Beijing.
Qian Men Gate is one of the last vestiges marking the old Imperial
City's bound aries.