Tiananmen Square today, is very unlike the Tiananmen that most people remember from the student demonstrations of 1989. Today the vast square, the soul of China, acts more as a park with couples strolling hand-in-hand, children flying kites and playing hacky sack. At the north end of the square is the Gate of Heavenly Peace, Tiananmen, with is larger-than-life portrait of Mao. In the center of the square stands the Monument to the People's Heroes and behind that, the Chairman Mao Mausoleum. Within its walls, Mao Zedong lies in state, as people slowly file through to catch a glimpse of the man that changed the course of China.
The Great Hall of the People is along the west side of the square and is where China's parliament meets. Also west of the square is the National Grand Theater, coined "The Egg" due to its controversial style. The square still finds itself ground zero for protests every now and then, but is also the location for great festivities, like China's National Day celebrations.