|Zhengyangmen 正阳门 (Zhèngyángmén) was originally constructed in 1419 as part of the plan to move the capital from Nanjing to Beijing. The Ming Dynasty had overthrown the foreign Mongolian based dynasty, the Yuan, in 1363. They had spurned the idea of occupying Beijing as they spurned most items associated with the Mongolian rule. By the early 1400s, Bejing's location again marked it as an ideal place to hold the country together politically and militarily. Emperor Yongle began construction in the 17th year of his reign. Although parts of the fortifications from the Yuan era were included in the city walls, the capital built by Yongle was much larger and was moved to take advantage of water and terrain.
The gate you see above bears only slight resemblance to that early gate. It has been rebuilt several times.
Last update: August 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009