Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Maozhuxi Jinian Tang)
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is hard to miss on any visit to Tiananmen Square, the vast plaza that fronts the Forbidden City, and a large number of Beijing city tours pass by it, although few go inside. Entrance to the hall is free, with small charges for the compulsory storage of bags and cameras. There is always a line to view the corpse of Mao Zedong in its crystal cabinet, but as visitors are forbidden from even pausing at the body, let alone taking photos, the line generally moves pretty quickly.
Things to Know Before You Go
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is primarily of interest to history buffs and collectors of Communist memorabilia.
Bring your passport to gain admission to the hall.
Deposit bags and cameras at the storage lockers by the National Museum of China before you join the admission line.
Visitors may bring cell phones into the hall but must keep them in their pockets.
Travelers wearing singlets or flip-flop sandals may be denied admission.
A wealth of souvenirs are available inside the hall.
How to Get There
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall stands at the heart of Tiananmen Square, the epicenter of downtown Beijing and China’s political center, just a short walk from the gates of the Forbidden City. Qianmen (line 2) is the closest subway station, but Tiananmen East and Tiananmen West (both on line 1) may be more convenient.
When to Get There
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is generally open in the mornings from Tuesday to Sunday only, although it opens on Mondays during July and August. Avoid visiting on the major Chinese public holidays, particularly Golden Week (early October) and Lunar New Year (in late winter). December 26 (Mao’s birthday), September 9 (the anniversary of his death), October 1 (National Day), and the Qingming (tomb-sweeping) festival in early April are insanely busy.
Who Was Chairman Mao?
Mao Zedong (occasionally still written “Mao Tse-Tung”) rose from relatively humble, rural beginnings to become the leader of the Chinese Communist Party and ultimately of all China. He’s still pictured on Chinese bank notes and hugely respected within China. While many credit him with setting China on the path to prosperity, others focus on the millions of deaths during the Great Chinese Famine and the massacres of the Cultural Revolution.
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- Monument to the People’s Heroes
- Great Hall of the People
- National Museum of China (NAMOC)
- Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace)
- Qianmen Street
- Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)
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