Jiefangbei解放碑 means ‘Liberation monument’ in Chinese, and this building located on the Yuzhong District peninsula is one of a kind in all of China.
Building work first began on October 31st 1946, with the finishing touches in place by August of the following year. Finally, on the first year anniversary of National Day in 1950, the structure was officially named ‘The People’s Liberation Monument.’
At the time of unveiling, it was the tallest building in all of Chongqing, something unimaginable nowadays, as all the surrounding edifices tower over from great heights, dwarfing it in comparison.
A few hard facts for you now;
The main body is made of reinforced concrete, with eight faces on the exterior, the ‘front’ of which faces slightly to the northeast. It sits 27.5 metres high, with sides 2.55 metres in length. Inside, there are eight floors that lead to the top where there is an automatic bell that rings every hour. At ground level, the total base area covers 642 square metres, entailing flower beds and a tiled surface.
In the past, members of the public could walk up the steps and approach the monument walls, but since it has been designated a protected cultural relic, people can now only admire from the perimetre.
When you hear the name ‘Jiefangbei,’ people are either referring to the monument itself, or more commonly, the entire pedestrianised commercial district that branches off in four directions a couple hundred of metres.
On Christmas Eve, New Year’s and the Spring Festival, tens of thousands of locals congregate here armed with inflatable hammers and foam spray to unleash on fellow party go-ers, paralysing the roads from late afternoon onwards.
The reason for our visit today was an invitation to a Chongqing International Women’s Group luncheon at the Crown Plaza.
Whilst a fairly uneventful social gathering, I did meet the latest president, a bubbly personality called Darleen.
As we set up makeshift poster stands just inside the ninth floor restaurant lobby, she told how they have revived membership numbers in recent years, achieved a balance of foreign and local members, and also involved a good number of males into the ranks.
After a short presentation on the groups main events and activities, such as the annual gala and helping left behind children in the countryside, everybody moved to the seated areas to get stuck in.
There were definitely benefits to the trip other than culinary fulfillment. My wife rejoined the organisation for one. Secondly, we also renewed an old acquaintance, a young lady from Kunming who runs an indoor golf school with her American husband, a topic I intend to cover in the future.
Finally, I have compiled some old photographs from Baidu, and added them to a video I took by the Liberation Monument this morning. Enjoy!
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