Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
South of the Monument to the people’s Heroes is Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. The square hall stands on a double platform with marble balustrades. Forty-four octagonal granite columns support the double roof, with eaves of gold glazed tiles. Inside the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall are three main sections.In the front is the north lobby, for the commemoration of the late Chairman Mao, with a white marble statue, three meters high, of Chairman Mao seated in an armchair in the center of the lobby. Behind the statue, a woolen needlepoint tapestry” What a magnificent motherland”24 meters, covers the back wall, depicting the vast landscapes of China.
Passing through the carved side doors of nanmu (this kind of nanmu can give off an unusual scent reputed to repel mosquitoes in summer), you enter the central hall where Chairman Mao’s remains recline in a crystal coffin, with the red flag of the Communist Party of China draped over his body Banks of flowers on a black marble base surround the coffin. The body is less than two meters from the aisles so that viewers can clearly see him.
On the white marble south wall is an inscription in gold reading: “Eternal glory to the great leader a teacher Chairman Mao Zedong.” Beyond is the south lobby, where the late Chairman Mao’s famous poem “Reply to Comrade Guo Moruo*” is inlay in his own handwriting on the white marble north wall. Both the poem and the powerful calligraphy are very stirring.
Outside the southern entrance, running from east to west, are the bright red flags, representing all the provinces (including Taiwan), municipalities, and autonomous regions in China.
Encompassing 5.72 hectares (14.3 acres), construction of Chairman Mao Memorial Hall began in November 1976 and it was completed in May 1977. Currently, the remains of, the late Chairman Mao are mechanically raised from a freezer for viewing, then lowered again at night.
Around the Memorial Hall is a landscaped garden planted with evergreen pines and cypresses. Flowering trees and shrubs from all parts of China fill the air with fragrance, among them pomegranates from Shaanxi, tangerines from Shaoshan, Chairman Mao’s birthplace, Hunan, azaleas from Sichuan, camellias from Yunnan and thirteen pines from Yan’an (yan’an was the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from January 1937 to March 1947) in northwest part of China, which remind people of the 13 momentous years the late Chairman Mao spent there after the Long March of 1934 to 1935.
*Guo Mruo, 1892-1978,Writer,poet,historian,archaeologist, paleographer, and social activist