September 29, 2018
Imagine a sea of people, walking with a purpose, all with one destination in mind! Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City were such a part of history. Tiananmen Square is named for the nearby Tiananmen, or “Gate of Heavenly Peace,” which marks the entrance to the so-called Forbidden City, the former imperial palace of China during the Ming and Qing dynasties, from the early 1400s to the early 1900s.
At the end of the China’s civil war, in 1949, the Communist Party had gained control of most of mainland China. They established the People’s Republic of China under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong. A celebration to honor the occasion was held in Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949. More than one million Chinese people attended.
Tiananmen Square is a public plaza in central Beijing, the capital of China. It’s said to be the largest urban public space in the world. Although the site has social and historical significance within China, it’s perhaps best known worldwide as the site of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which followed pro-democracy protests in 1989. The protests ended when Chinese government forces stormed the square, killing scores of protesters and injuring thousands more.
Aside from being one of China’s most visited tourist attractions, our visit coincided with the National Holiday (kind of like our 4th of July) for the entire week. What a fun experience, in particular if you are loving to be gawked at as one of only a few people out of ten thousand with blonde hair! I was warned that people would be staring at us as foreigners but didn’t realize the actual impact it would have on my confidence! I really liked it and it made me smile!
Our friend Matt said that many visitors may have been in Beijing for the first time over the holiday and from far away rural areas and potentially have never seen a “westerner” in person. I was flattered when asked to be in a picture.
After our walking tour and visit, we strolled the streets of Beijing until it was time to board our “Bullet Train” to Nanjing and visit to the Tennis Academy of China. This is where Matt is based while finishing his 14 months of research he earned through a Fullbright scholarship. Thankfully we found a dumpling shop right outside our adventure deep into one of the ancient “Hutongs”.