Tian'anmen Gate is an immense stone structure
painted red. Also called the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the moat that
runs through the Imperial Palace continues along at the foot of
the Gate. Five marble bridges span this moat, each leading to one
of the five passages you must take to go through the Gate.
As you walk towards the Gate, centered on the
front wall, is Chairman Mao's portrait. Flanking his portrait, in
Chinese characters, are two inscriptions: on the western (left)
side, "Long live the People's Republic of China;" on the
eastern (right) side, "Long live the great unity of the peoples
of the world."
For centuries the passages through the Gate remained
closed. Opened only on great ceremonial occasions, the center passageway
was always reserved for the emperor. Kept closed until the early
part of the twentieth century, the Gate is now open and provides
an impressive entrance to the Imperial Palace and its surrounding