Guides by Lonely Planet
Tiān’ānmén Square
Flanked by triumphalist 1950s Soviet-style buildings and ringed by low-rise perimeter fences, the world’s largest public square (440,000 sq metres) is an immense flatland of paved stone at the heart of Běijīng. Early risers can watch the daily flag-raising ceremony at sunrise, performed by a troop of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers marching at precisely 108 paces per minute, 75cm per pace. The soldiers emerge through the Gate of Heavenly Peace to goose-step impeccably across Dongchang’an Jie (the reverse ceremony is performed at sunset).
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