|The outer Golden Stream 金水河 (Jīnshuǐ Hé) runs in front of Tian'anmen Gate. When you walk toward the gate, you cross over bridges. Many people miss the bridges because they are so interested in what is coming next. When a major edict was issued by the emperor, officials would gather in front of Tian'anmen Gate and the edict would be carried over the Golden Bridges on a large phoenix platter. The edict was received with great ceremony and then taken to the offices of scribes to be copied and distributed to all areas of the country.
The Forbidden City was originally built in the early 1400s under the reign of the Yongle Emperor. This area that is now Tian'anmen Square was filled with ministry offices and a central road leading from what was called Chengtianmen Gate and is now called Tian'anmen Gate.
The original gate was wooden and much simpler. It was destroyed by fire in 1451 and rebuilt in 1465. It burnt again in the 1600s and was not rebuilt until 1651 under the reign of the Qing Emperor Shunzhi. At that time this much more imposing gate was built. Marble was used for the base and large stones were shaped to make the walls. It stands about 110 feet tall.
Last update: January 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2009