Attraction Tiananmen Square, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China Published on: 09-08-2016
|08:00 AM - 11:00 AM|
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Maozhuxi Jiniantang) is good for
- Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
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Why Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Maozhuxi Jiniantang) is special ?
The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, commonly known as the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong or the Mao Mausoleum, is the final resting place of Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death in 1976.
Although Mao had wished to be cremated, his body was embalmed and construction of a mausoleum began shortly after his death. This highly popular attraction is located in the middle of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the capital of China. It stands on the previous site of the Gate of China, the southern (main) gate of the Imperial City during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
What to explore at Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Maozhuxi Jiniantang)?
The mausoleum is pleasant to visit in the summer, because the needs of Mao's corpse require extremely cold air conditioning that contrasts with the sultry weather outdoors. As the line snakes around the statue of Mao, guards hurry the line along into the next room where the corpse is on display. Here, you can see Mao's body draped to the chest in a hammer-and-sickle flag, lying serenely in a coffin. The body was renovated in 1997, but after twenty-one years of stasis his face seems a bit waxy. Mao was obese at the end of his life, and no attempt was made to disguise this. Dedicated Mao-watchers should note that you can only see one side of the corpse on each visit. If you choose to go into the left line on your first visit, you will only see the left side of the corpse. Two visits allow you to see the side missed the first time.
How to get to Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Maozhuxi Jiniantang)?
Subway Line 1: get off at Tiananmen East or Tiananmen West Station, and Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is to the south.
Subway Line 2: get off at Qianmen Station, and Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is to the north.
Take bus no.1, 5, 10, 22, 37, 52, 205, 728 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen West.
Take bus no.1, 2, 10, 20, 37, 52, 59, 82, 120, 126, 203, 205, 210, 728 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen East.
Take bus no.2, 5, 8, 20, 22, 120, 126, 203, or 210 and get off at Tiananmen Square East.
Take bus no.2, 5, 20, 120, 126 or 210 and get off at Tiananmen Square West.
- Walk past the father of todays China
- Short visit, but worth doing
- Go for the cultural compass
- A piece of History
- A curious experience if you have the time
Tiananmen Square, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China
Tips for you
I have seen Lenin and Ho Chi Minh and wanted to complete this fascinating trifecta. It was an absolute must do for me. First the logistics. Closed on Mondays. Take your passport ( although mine was not checked). Do not take a bag or camera if you can help it, else check it in at the bag locker near the museum before you enter the square. Security is tight. I left everything at the hotel. Regrettably I didn't bring my phone either as I assumed it would not be allowed. It is, you just have to turn it off when you go in. The main reason I brought nothing was to avoid queues to deposit the bags. It is free of charge. I came for the flag raising ceremony at dawn which was crowded and accompanied by music. The throngs of Chinese people who had come to see it where a spectacle alone. As soon as the flag raising was over I sprinted across the square ( as did others) to join the queue to see Chairman Mao. Regrettably the dawn flag raising was at 4.50 am and the queue did not start moving until 8 am. Officially it should open at 7.30am. Highly annoying that it is not open immediately after the flag raising. Anyway, I suffered loads and loads of pushing into the queue and shoving and spitting etc during my 3 hours in the queue. Exasperating but it was what i had signed up for. Near impossible to stop the pushing in although my friend and I tried our best. We saw a lot of genuine patriotic experience in the queue. A pilgrimage of sorts. Wish I had had my phone to capture some of it and also to while away these 3 hours. I ended up sitting on the floor as I simply couldn't stand for3 hours. Be careful when the queue starts going though so you do not get trampled!! Once the queue gets going it moves. Within 10 minutes we were in and out and had been whisked past Mao. I have never witnessed so many Chinese people being so silent and reverent. Many were on their knees paying respects when they saw his massive statue inside. The body itself is in uniform and draped in a flag. It looks well preserved ( too well to be real ? ) Anyway, I am definitely glad I did this. I enjoyed being part of that line even though it was too long as I got a real insight into just how much the Chinese respect Mao. I suspect this queue would be too long for those with children. There were no children in the queue whatsoever when I was there and only a handful of foreign tourists.
Awesome atmosphere of total respect, surrounded by an eerie silence. Worth visiting to learn about Chairman Mao. Most of time, very crowded.