Day 1 of our Beijing tour with China Spree featured the dual whammy of Tiananmen Square and the adjacent Forbidden City (the latter of which will be blogged about shortly). Here are some photos of the world's third largest, and possibly most notorious, public square.
Our tour leader, Jing, was utterly fantastic. She was the glue that held our large party together. Brilliant English, especially for someone that has never been outside of China.
The wife, wrapped up for the cold Beijing morning (20 degrees Fahrenheit).
Zhengyangmen (aka Qianmen), a gate on the south side of the square, was the first thing we saw at Tiananmen Square.
Further south, and not technically in the square, was the Archery Tower.
North of Zhengyangmen was Mao's Mausoleum, officially the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, in which Mao Zedong's embalmed body is displayed.
Soldiers and plainclothes policemen are an ubiquitous sight on the square (or its perimeter across the street, seen here).
A glimpse from the side street to Tiananmen Gate, behind which lies the Forbidden City. Notice the massive Mao portrait, and the fact that there is a street (Chang'an Avenue) between the gate and the square.
Time to officially enter the square, which has secured entry points.
At ease, soldier... or not.
The National Museum of China (which we unfortunately did not visit during our week in Beijing) lies to the east of the square.
Monument to the People's Heroes, and the Great Hall of the People (home to the Chinese parliament), looking to the west of the square.
Another view of Tiananmen gate.
Plainclothes policeman, with the line for Mao's Mausoleum behind.
Great Hall of the People
Statues in front of Mao's Mausoleum (notice Mao's likeness at the top).
Some fat blogger.
Tiananmen gate, yet again.
Chang'an Avenue, with the Mao portrait of Tiananmen gate.
The Hui people are Chinese Muslims, and are easily identifiable from their headdresses. This couple was intrigued by our tour group.
Time to cross under Chang'an Avenue to the Tiananmen gate.
My wife had some reservations about going to China in February, but she was loving it so far.
Side view of Tiananmen gate.
Security cameras capture literally every angle imaginable. This was one of dozens, if not hundreds.
Monument before Tiananmen gate, featuring a dragon.
I was enjoying my new camera's capabilities.
Time to pass by the soldier and enter the Forbidden City. To be continued!