The city of Beijing is planned on a north-south grid, with Tiananmen Square - the political heart of the country - at its very centre. The square is flanked by Tiananmen to the north, Qian Men to the south, the Great Hall of the People to the west and the History Museum to the east. Tiananmen, or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, is where Chairman Mao proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic on 1 October 1949. Just north of the square lies the Imperial Palace (Gugong), also known as the Forbidden City as it was the private dwelling of the Ming and Qing emperors, their huge families and 70,000 eunuchs. It is an intricate maze of halls, temples, gardens and libraries.
Students can carry out research into the Imperial Palace and find out the functions of its main halls. Find an aerial map of Beijing and allow students to familiarise themselves with the points of the compass in Chinese and locate some of the city's main sightseeing spots.