Fodor's Expert Review Mao Zedong Memorial Hall
Sentries here will assure that your communion with the Great Helmsman is brief. First, check your bag and camera at the designated point to the east of the hall. Then, join the long and winding line that leads first to a spacious lobby dominated by a marble Mao statue and then to the Hall of Reverence, where his embalmed body lies in state, wrapped in the red flag of the Communist Party of China and inside a crystal coffin that's lowered each night into a subterranean freezer. In a bid to limit Mao's deification, a second-story museum was added in 1983; it's dedicated to the former Premier Zhou Enlai, former general Zhu De, and China's president before the Cultural Revolution, Liu Shaoqi (who was persecuted to death during the Cultural Revolution). The hall's builders willfully ignored Tiananmen Square's geomancy: the mausoleum faces north, contradicting centuries of imperial ritual. Note that the hall is only open in the mornings.