Front Gate (Qian Men).


Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central

Qianmen, aka 'Front Gate', consists of a pair of gate-like structures: the northernmost is the 40m-high Zhengyang Gate, which dates from the Ming dynasty and was the largest of the nine gates of the Inner City Wall. The similarly proportioned building to the south is the gate's forward-defensive arrow tower. This would have been joined to Zhengyang Gate by a semicircular enceinte (enclosing wall), which was demolished last century.

Zhengyang Gate has a museum on three of its floors, and offers good views over Tian'anmen Sq and the arrow tower.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central attractions

1. Zhengyang Gate

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Qianmen (前门), or the Front Gate, consists of a pair of gate-like towers, the northernmost being the 40m-high Zhengyang Gate, which was also the largest of…

2. Zhengyang Gate Arrow Tower

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This is the forward-defensive structure of Zhengyang Gate, which sits behind it. The imposing building is a jiànlóu (arrow tower), which would have been…

4. Chairman Mao Memorial Hall

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One of Beijing's more surreal spectacles is the sight of Mao Zedong's embalmed corpse on public display within his mausoleum. The Soviet-inspired memorial…

5. Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall

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Presenting a top-down perspective on the world's most micromanaged megacity, dry exhibits detail the government's grand schemes for Beijing, with scant…

6. Tian'anmen Square

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Flanked by triumphalist Soviet-style buildings, Tian'anmen Sq is an immense void of paved stone (440,000 sq metres, to be precise) at the symbolic centre…

7. Monument to the People’s Heroes

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In the centre of Tian'anmen Sq rises the 40m-high Monument to the People’s Heroes, an obelisk of Qingdao granite completed in 1958 (though it was…

8. Qianmen Avenue


Running due south from Beijing's 'front gate', the mighty Qianmen, this street was once the main commercial thoroughfare through what was known as the …