|At the same level of defense as the southeast archery tower, the Archery Tower 箭楼 (jiànlóu), directly south of Tian'anmen, was added to the walls of the outer city for extra defense. You can see its location on the map below. It is sometimes called Qianmen 前门 because it is the "front gate" of the city. Zhengyangmen, shown on the next page, is also called Qianmen. These gates marked the south entrance to the Inner City. In Chinese astrology, south is primary. Facing south brought good fortune and placed the individual in harmony with the heavens. The entire city was oriented toward the south.
A more complete account of the Qianmen area and the gates can be found on this site on the Qianmen Neighborhood page. The walls that once extended through Beijing and joined the two towers were dismantled in the 1960s to make room for the Ring Road, a major expressway. The materials from the walls were used as part of the construction materials for the Underground City in Beijing.
The Underground City is a series of tunnels, built as air-raid shelters, that still run under Beijing and join most of the major areas. More information about the Underground City can be found on this site.
Last update: January 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2009