|Zhengyangmen 正阳门 was rebuilt in 1906 after it had received mortar fire in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion. When it was rebuilt, the Chinese took the opportunity to redesign and enlarge it. The gate was not replaced, but copied Chongwenmen and Xuanwumen, two other gates of the Inner City wall. It got the best elements of each of those gates and became the tallest of all the gates. It is 132.4 feet high (40.36 meters), 134.5 feet wide (41 meters) and 68.89 deep (21 meters).
It is considered the main entrance or front door to the Inner City and the Imperial Palace. Because it is the front door, it is often called Qian = front + men = door --> Qianmen. This can be confusing because the Archery Tower is also sometimes referred to as Qianmen, as is the entire area to the south of Tian'anmen Square.
It wasn't opened to the public until 1991. In 2005, the last of the original materials were replaced. The entire mudworks base was replaced with modern brick.
Last update: August 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009