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Great Hall of the People

INTRODUCTION

An iconic landmark in Chongqing, the Great Hall of the People, also called the Chongqing People’s Auditorium, ranks in the top 10 of classical Asian architecture of the 20th century and the Classic Chinese Centennial Building of the 20th century. It is a magnificent piece of architecture and a building that you have to see with your own eyes to really appreciate. The very construction and history of this building are immense and well worthy of a visit in person. Construction of the great hall began in 1951 and was completed in 1954 and the exterior of the building bears resemblance to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. It is located at the People’s Square in Yuzhong District.

The Great Hall of the People. Photographed from the People’s Square. Photo by Mikkel Larsen / iChongqing

The Great Hall of the People is the meeting place of the Municipal Legislative Bodies, the Chongqing Municipal People’s Congress, and also where the Chongqing Two Sessions are held each year. The Great Hall of the People was featured on a stamp in 1998, marking the first anniversary of Chongqing becoming an independent municipality (it was formerly a city in Sichuan Province), in 1997.

BACKGROUND & HISTORY

Construction of the Great Hall of the People started in June of 1951 and finished in April 1954. The building’s total height is about 65 meters, the highest point being the dome in the center. The building uses architectural elements found in Ming and Qing dynasties, especially what is known as central axis symmetry as well as the colonnade type facades. Several characteristics are embodied in the design of the building as well, such as traditional Chinese Wooden Construction, Traditional Chinese Architecture, and proportions of different sections of the complex. The building also appears somewhat larger because it is elevated above the square itself from where most people will observe the Great Hall.

It was designed by Zhang Jiade who incorporated the Ming and Qing Dynasty aspects of the building and originally only had the main hall, along with the North and South Wings, the East wing was added in 1986. Originally called the Sino-Soviet building, the Great Hall of the People received its current name in 1955. The accompanying People’s Square was built in 1997. The People’s Square sees thousands of people pass through it daily, many showing up in the evening for relaxing, playing cards, and dancing, and exercising.

Situated in Yuzhong District, the great hall is not only a calling card of Chongqing but also one of the most magnificent auditoriums after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Mr. Liang Sicheng, a leading authority in Chinese architecture, called it “the most classic building of epoch-making Chinese classical architecture in the 1950s”. This ancient-style national architectural complex is also an important venue for Chongqing’s cultural exchange with foreign countries. Additionally, it has witnessed various large gatherings and performances, as well as significant and international conferences including Chongqing’s congress of party representatives, people’s congress, and the people’s political consultative conference.

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MAIN ATTRACTIONS

Beautiful Architecture & Surroundings

The Great Hall of the People in Chongqing is located at one end of the People’s Square, facing the Chongqing Three Gorges Museum at the opposite end. The building’s Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture and a mix of soviet architecture make the Great Hall look at once both grand and like a temple. The top dome bears a striking resemblance to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and the Great Hall and the People’s Square are both surrounded by trees and green lush areas where locals will congregate all throughout the day and evening.

The Great Hall of the People. Photographed from the People’s Square. Photo by Mikkel Larsen / iChongqing

The Main Hall

Outside of events and meetings, it is possible to visit the Great Hall of the People as well. The entrance ticket is 10 RMB per person and well worth it if you want to get a closer look at the architectural marvel. 

The interior of the main hall of the Great Hall of the people. The main hall has seats for 4.500 people.

The interior of the main hall of the Great Hall of the People. Photo by Mikkel Larsen / iChongqing

 

 

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