Tiananmen Square was originally designed and built in 1651 and enlarged in 1958. The Square, named after the Tiananmen that literally means the Gate of Heavenly Peace, just sits at the city center of Beijing. It is the largest city square in the world, occupying an area of 440,000 square meters - 880m North to South by 500m West to East (about 109 acres), able to accommodate one million people at one time. Located to its north, the Square separates it from the Forbidden City by the Tiananmen Tower, served as the front entrance of the Forbidden City, initially built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). During this dynasty and the following Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) the Tower was where proclamations were issued to the whole nation. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of P. R. China in 1949 on the Tiananmen Tower.
With the Monument to the People's Heroes towering at the center, the Square has the Tiananmen Tower at the north, the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall at the south, the National Museum of China at the east and the Great Hall of the People at the west. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history. The common people were prohibited from entering the tower, but now tourists with tickets are permitted to climb it.