At the southern end of Tiananmen Square just behind the Monument to the Heroes of the People, you will find the Mao Mausoleum. It is a relatively new structure, construction began in 1976 after the death of our leader Mao Zedong and completed only a year later in 1977.
Chairman Mao was born on December 26, 1893, in Hunan Province. He passed away in Beijing on September 9, 1976, at the age of 83. While Chairman Mao was still alive, he was one of the first high-ranking officials to sign up for cremation, a procedure that was shunned by the superstitious population.
So, actually, the construction of this mausoleum went against our leader's wishes. This disobedience was, of course, well-meant, as the people only wanted to honor the man for all he had done to help the People s Republic. They felt it was only right to put his remains in a memorial hall.
We are not allowed to talk inside the building. The hail is 260 meters long from north to south, 220 meters wide from east to west and 33.6 meters high. Like the Monument to the Heroes of the People, it is also located on the central axis of old Beijing. It has five parts, namely, the Courtyard, the Memorial Hall, the North Hall, the Viewing Hall and the South Hall.
In the Viewing Hall, the remains of Chairman Mao are displayed in a crystal casket. The casket is mechanically raised from a freezer for viewing during the day and then lowered again at night. It can be viewed on most mornings.
In the North Hall there is a white marble statue of a seated Chairman Mao. Behind it hangs a woolen tapestry with an inspiring phrase embroidered on it: Our motherland is such a great beauty. The hall also has an upper floor containing exhibits which describe in great detail the revolutionary careers of Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai, Marshal Zhu De and Chairman Liu Shaoqi. These are the same men whose pictures are printed on the current 100-yuan note.
This sculpture right in front of us is entitled "Great Achievements." The statue is 8.7 meters tall and presents some of the great achievements the Chinese people made under the leadership of Chairman Mao. At the back of the mausoleum there are two similar sculptures with the theme: "Carry the cause of our revolution through to the end."
To get into the mausoleum, you have to stand in that line. If you are wearing a hat, please take it off before going into the building. No cameras or handbags are allowed inside the hall.
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