The Great Hall of the People is located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square, Beijing, People's Republic of China, and is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China. It functions as the meeting place of the National People's Congress, the Chinese parliament.
The Great Hall of the People was opened in September 1959. It was one of the "Ten Great Constructions" completed for the 10th Anniversary of the People's Republic. It was built in 10 months by volunteers.
The Great Hall of the People was designed by Zhang Bo.The building covers 171,800 square metres (1,849,239 sq ft) of floor space, it is 356 metres in length and 206.5 metres in width. The centre peaks at 46.5 metres. At the eaves of the main gate hangs the national emblem of People's Republic of China.
The Great Hall of the People consists of three sections. The central section principally includes the Great Auditorium, the Main Auditorium, the Congress Hall (Standing Committee of SCPCC meets in conference), the Central Hall, the Golden Hall and other main halls. The northern section consists of the State Banquet Hall, the Salute State Guest Hall, the North Hall, the East Hall, the West Hall and other large halls. The southern part is the office building of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of China. Each province, special administrative region, autonomous region of China has its own hall in the Great Hall, such as Beijing Hall, Hong Kong Hall and Taiwan Hall. Each hall has the unique characteristics of the province and is furnished according to the local style.
The Great Hall of the People is the political hub of Beijing and home of the National People's Congress. Every year, in March, the Great Hall of the People plays host to the liang hui (literally means "two meetings") event, where both the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Congress (NPC) meet in sessions lasting for two to three weeks at the Great Auditorium. The Communist Party of China (CPC) also holds its National Congress every five years in the Great Hall of the People. This enormous building is open to the public when national conference is not in session, and visitors are shown in a selection of routes. In recent years, some non-political conventions and concerts have also been held in the Great Hall. In January 2009, American Country Music trio Lucy Angel gained the distinction of being the first American/Western group ever to be invited to perform at the Great Hall of the People, doing so before an audience of dignitaries and government officials.