BEIJING – The iconic Tiananmen Tower, or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, on the north of Tiananmen Square and famous for its large portrait of Mao Zedong, will be closed to members of the public for about one year due to renovation work, the local government said on Tuesday.
Tiananmen, a gateway to the Forbidden City, the old imperial palace, should open again in April 2019, even though work will not conclude until the end of May the same year, according to the maintenance committee of the Tiananmen area.
The renovation work, recently approved by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, will start on Friday and the site needs to be closed to avoid possible risks to tourists, state-owned Xinhua agency reported.
In recent years, Tiananmen, one of China’s most photographed monuments, has borne the brunt of weather, pollution and time, causing the red paint covering its walls to peel off in certain areas and cracks to appear in its structure, according to conservationists.
The place is of historic significance for the Chinese, as besides being the gateway to the palace, it is the place where Mao declared the foundation of the People’s Republic on Oct. 1, 1949.
The works will be completed just a few months before China celebrates the 70th anniversary of its foundation.