Chairman Mao Mausoleum
Chairman Mao Mausoleum © Morio
Although Chairman Mao Zedong requested to be cremated, it was decided hours after his death, in 1976, that he would be embalmed. Moa Zedong was Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death. It is said that, after his death, doctors reportedly pumped him so full of formaldehyde that his body swelled excessively. After draining the corpse and getting it back to a suitable state, they created a wax model of Mao Zedong, as a backup. It is unknown today which version of the Great Helmsman is on display at the Mausoleum at any given time.
The Mausoleum itself was built in 1977 on the prior site of the Gate of China, the main gate of the Imperial City during the Ming and Qing dynasties. On the first floor people can visit the actual tomb, and on the second floor there is a museum of sorts dedicated to six great communist leaders, including Mao himself. Those visiting the Mausoleum line up for hundreds of feet and visitors can buy flowers at the entrance. Visitors should remember to dress respectfully and maintain silence in the mausoleum, as the site is a place of worship more than a tourist destination. Those dressed in casual wear like vests and flip flops may be denied entry.
Address: South end of Tiananmen Square
Opening times: 8am - 12pm, Tuesday to Sunday. The Memorial Hall may be closed for special occasions.