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The Great Hall of the People

The Great Hall of the People (Rénmín Dàhuìtáng – 人民大会堂) is an immense building which houses the National People’s Congress, the highest legislative body of the People’s Republic of China.

Although the National People’s Congress does little more than rubber-stamp decisions made just over the road in the seclusion of Zhongnanhai, the Standing Committee, a body much closer to real power in China, also meets here.

The main auditorium of the Great Hall of the People can seat a mind blowing 10,000 people, and the banquet hall seats 5,000. At 46.5m tall at its highest point, the building is almost as high as the hill in Jingshan Park, just North of the Forbidden City.

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The huge columns and grand, solemn facade of the building speak above all of state power.

The Great Hall of the People is one of ten buildings built in Beijing in 1959 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. It took swarms of Communist volunteers just ten months to complete.

When meetings are not in session the Hall is open for tours. The tour takes you round a selection of one of the thirty rooms dedicated to the provinces of China, but it’s the sheer size of the banquet hall and the auditorium that are most impressive.

Practical

The Great Hall of The People is directly to the West of Tiananmen Square (to the right if you stand on the square and face the Mao portrait).

The closest subway station is Tiananmen Xi (line 1), and a taxi from anywhere in central Beijing should be less than 30Y.

Entry: 30Y
Opening times: 9am-3pm unless meetings are in session.


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