Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
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HOURS: Tues.-Sun. 8 a.m.-noon,
Sept. 9 and Dec. 26 8 a.m.-11 a.m., 2-4 p.m.
METRO: Qianmen (Line 2)
The body of the Great Helmsman lies in permanent state at this mausoleum on People’s Square, despite his lifelong desire to be cremated. The mausoleum was begun after Mao’s death in September 1976 and opened on May 24, 1977, by his successor, Hua Guofeng.
The edifice is a true work of art, made from Sichuan granite, Guangdong porcelain, Shaanxi pinewood, quartz from the Kunlun mountains, and even a rock from Mount Everest. The addition of water and sand from the Taiwan Straits makes a clear political statement.
Mao’s preserved body lies inside a crystal coffin that took an unimaginable amount of wrangling to construct. Thankfully, it is earthquake-proof.
The mausoleum’s 2nd floor contains memorial halls to other political veterans like Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai.
© Susie Gordon from Moon Beijing & Shanghai, 2nd Edition