Which Of These Monuments Was Rebuilt In Complete Secrecy?
Answer: The Tiananmen Gate
Located in Beijing, China, the Tiananmen Gate, is a large and historically significant monument. First built in 1420, the gate is the entrance to the Imperial City which, in turn, houses the Forbidden City (the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming to the end of the Qing dynasties). As such, the gate is not only an interesting historical site, but a site of significant cultural heritage to the Chinese people.
Though built hundreds of years ago, the gate has had quite a turbulent life. Over the centuries, it has been destroyed and rebuilt, then later damaged and repaired multiple times as well as purposely expanded and redesigned. Despite being burned down at least twice (pre 1645), lightning strikes, vandalism, and redesign, however, the gate remained unchanged from 1645 to 1969. At that point, the then “current” gate was over three hundred years old and between its age and heavy use in the mid 20th century, it had significantly deteriorated.
Because the gate was such an important national symbol, the then (and first) Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou Enlai, ordered the gate closed for renovations. The entire structure was completely covered in scaffolding and the public was told the gate was simply being renovated.
What only top government officials and a collection of skilled workers gathered from all around China knew, however, was that the gate wasn’t just getting a fresh coat of paint and a little renovation on the inside, but a complete rebuild. Working in complete secrecy over the course of a year, the workers replaced every bit of the Tiananmen Gate with new modern materials (making it more resistant to earthquakes) and added modern amenities (an elevator, water supply, and heating system), all while simultaneously preserving the form of the original structure in meticulous detail.