Address: Di’anmen, Xicheng District, Beijing, China
Building Function: A historical building as one of the four gates of the imperial city of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1636-1912)
What You Need to Know about Di’anmen
Di’anmen, one of the four gates of the imperial city, is one of the important landmark buildings on the central axis of Beijing city. It is the north gate of the imperial city of Ming and Qing Dynasties, while Tian’anmen is the south gate of the imperial city. The north and the south correspond to each other, symbolizing that Earth and Heaven are peaceful without natural and man-made disasters, and the wind and rain come on time. (In Chinese, Di and Tian mean Earth and Heaven respectively and An means peace.)
Di’anmen is located in the middle of the northern wall of the imperial city, facing Jingshan Park in the south and Drum Tower in the north. Di’anmen was also called North Gate during the Ming Dynasty. It is also known as Houzai Gate or Back Gate.
According to historical records, Di’anmen is a palace gate building with a brick and wood structure. It consisted of seven rooms. The three in the middle were used as the passage. The central room was seven meters wide. The two secondary rooms in the middle were both 5.4 meters wide. The width of the four rooms used as check-in rooms was 4.8 meters each. As for Di’anmen, the total length is 38 meters. The height is 11.8 meters. The width is 12.5 meters.
Di’anmen once played an important role in history. Because it was the north gate of the imperial city, emperors had to exit from Di’anmen when heading northward. They also went out of Di’anmen when they offered sacrifices to the gods in Ditan (Temple of Earth).
Development of Di’anmen
In 1420, Di’anmen was built in the 18th year (1420) of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty and it was named Bei’anmen.
In 1503, it was renovated in February of the 16th year (1503) of Emperor Hongzhi.
In 1652, it was rebuilt in July of the ninth year (1652) of Emperor Shunzhi of the Qing Dynasty and was changed to be Di’anmen from Bei’anmen.
In the 26th year (1900) of Emperor Guangxu, when Eight-Nation Alliance invaded Beijing, the enemies encountered firm resistance of the Qing army in Di’anmen.
During the period of the Republic of China, in order to facilitate transportation, the imperial city walls on the east and west of Di’anmen were demolished in 1913 and 1923.
In the early days of the People’s Republic of China, from the end of 1954 to February 1955, Di’anmen and Yanchi Tower were demolished so as to ease the urban traffic.
In the 1950s, Di’anmen was demolished and turned into a road. After that, the name Di’anmen evolved into the name of the surrounding area, referring to the Di’anmen area.
Di’anmen is a traditional commercial area. Di’anmen Waidajie has been a famous commercial street since the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368). Today, there are all kinds of shops, including Makai Restaurant, Di’anmen Department Store, Di’anmen Drugstore, and Di’anmen Xinhua Bookstore.
There are some municipal and district cultural relics protection units in the area, including the Temple of Huodezhenjun, Wanning Bridge, and Yanchi Tower. In addition, Yanchi Tower is located on the east and west sides of Di’anmen Neidajie. It is the sentry post of the imperial city. Each tower covers an area of about 300 square meters.
Useful Tips to Visit Di’anmen
Di’anmen is very close to many tourist attractions, such as the Forbidden City, Beihai Park, Shichahai, Jingshan Park, Nanluogu Alley, etc. Visitors can also explore and taste the decent Beijing snacks in the Di’anmen area.
How to Get to Di’anmen
Take bus 5, 111, or 124 and get off at Di’anmen Nei Station.
Take bus 3, 13, 42, 60, 118, 612, or 4 and get off at Di’anmen East Station.
Take bus 60, 82,107, or 124 and get off at Di’anmen Wai Station.
Take Metro Line 6, get off at Beihai North Station. And then walk eastward for 40 meters along the Di’anmen Xidajie(West Di’anmen St.), turn left into Dongguanfang Hutong, walk about 100 meters to the destination.
Chinese: 请带我去地安门。English: Please take me to Di’anmen.
If you go to Di’anmen from the center of Beijing (Grand Hyatt Beijing), it takes about 15 minutes (about 20 yuan).
If you go to Di’anmen from Beijing Capital International Airport, it takes about 35 minutes (about 95 yuan).
If you go to Di’anmen from Beijing Daxing International Airport, it takes about 1 hour (about 200 yuan).
If you go to Di’anmen from Beijing West Railway Station, it takes about 30 minutes (about 30 yuan).
If you go to Di’anmen from Beijing South Railway Station, it takes about 30 minutes (about 40 yuan).