The Great Hall of the People is one of ten buildings (creatively known as the Ten Great Buildings) constructed to honor the tenth anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in 1959. All are around today – among them the National Museum of China, the Beijing Railway Station, and the Chinese People’s Revolutionary Military Museum. All were built in the modernist style, heavily influenced by Soviet architecture. The most important of these is the Great Hall of the People, home to the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body.
Many authoritarian regimes don’t open public buildings like this to the public, but China does. Its façade belies the hall’s size. It has 171,800m² of floor space, more than the Forbidden City. The Central Hall has marble floors and is connected to the Great Auditorium, which seats 10,000. Here is where the National Assembly meets. You can also see the banquet hall, and the various rooms are immaculately furnished and decorated.
The Great Hall of the People is a unique attraction. It won’t take more than an hour to see everything, and it’s location on the west side of Tiananmen Square makes it easy and convenient to visit.
Subway: Tiananmen West (Line 1), Qianmen (Line 2)
Hours: Varies throughout the year.
December-March 09:00-14:00; July-August 07:30-16:00