Tower in Dusk

 Arrow Tower

This is Jianlou, Archery Tower or Arrow Tower, which is located on the southern end of the Tiananmen Square. The building used to be part of the southern gate of the Imperial City in Beijing. Standing south of Zhengyanmen or Zhenyang Gate, the archery tower was part of a defense system of the old Beijing. There used to be walls that connected the archery tower to Zhengyang Gate, forming a kind of a trap between the two towers. If attackers broke through the first gate, they would find themselves in a very tight spot, under flying arrows coming down from from both of the two towers and the surrounding walls. Together, the buildings formed a complex known as Qianmen (Front Gate).

Today, from south to north, on the Tiananmen Square, there are the Archery Tower, the Zhengyang Gate, the Memorial Hall for Chairman Mao, the Monument for People's Heroes, flagstaff, and Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace). Tiananmen then leads to the southern entrance of the Forbbiden City, where China's imperial family used to live and reign.

The map below shows the main structures on the Tiananmen Square. The shiny, oval-shaped building to the Tiananmen Square is the new National Opera House.

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