Temple of Heaven 4.0 rating

  Cultural Attractions

Temple of Heaven, to the south-east of the Tiananmen Square, is the site where the emperor prayed every year for a bountiful harvest and fair weather. Built in 1420 and later renovated a few times, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its architectural integrity and authenticity as well as symbolism.

The layout of the temple complex is oriented along the Red Steps Bridge on the north-south axis, with a circular northern part and square southern part, symbolizing ancient Chinese belief that Heaven is round and Earth is square.

In the northern part stands the Qinian Dian Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a circular wooden building where the Emperor prayed for good harvests by sacrificing animals and burning incense in ceremony. Its blue circular roof represents the sky, and the roof is centered around a gilded dragon and phoenix. Dragon and phoenix motifs are a recurring feature throughout, representing the emperor and empress. The hall has with three levels of marble, with 4 inner (Dragon Well), 12 middle and 12 outer pillars, representing the 4 seasons, 12 months and 12 traditional Chinese hours respectively.

The 360 metre long Red Steps Bridge to its south leads to the Imperial Vault of Heaven, a circular building where the emperor made offerings. It is surrounded by the Echo Wall that can transmit sounds over large distances.

The Circular Mound Altar is an empty circular platform on three levels of marble stones, each decorated by lavishly carved dragons. The center of the altar is a round slate called the Heart of Heaven or Sun Stone where the Emperor prayed for favorable weather.

The Fasting Palace or Palace of Abstinence was where emperors fasted before the ceremony.

The Temple of Heaven is surrounded by a sprawling public park popular with local residents practicing tai-chi and other martial arts in the mornings. It has one of the greenest patches in the city, with ancient trees and a peaceful ambience.

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About Temple of Heaven

 Beijing

Temple of Heaven and Nearby Attractions on Map

Nearby Attractions km / mile
Tiananmen Gate

Tiananmen Gate(2.9 km)
The Tiananmen Gate or Gate of Heavenly Peace is a symbol of China, dominating the northern end of the Tiananmen Square with a large portrait of Chairman Mao.

National Centre for the Performing Arts
Yongdingmen

Yongdingmen(1.7 km)
Yongdingmen was the former front gate of the outer section of Beijing's old city wall during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, originally built in 1553.

Longtan Park

Longtan Park(2 km)
Park with lake, boats for hire, teahouses and a restaurant, childrens playground, pavilions, a bird market and a lot of dragons.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square(2.7 km)
The Tiananmen Square is a large and historic public square in Beijing where Chairman Mao, the father of communism in China, declared the foundation of the People’s Republic on 1st October 1949.

Ming Dynasty City Wall Site Park

Ming Dynasty City Wall Site Park(2.6 km)
Beijing's city wall was build around 1435.

Ancient Observatory

Ancient Observatory(3.3 km)
The observatory covering 1,000 m2 was built in 1442and has been open to the public since 1983.

The Great Hall of the People

The Great Hall of the People(3 km)
Seat of China's parliament and important political meetings.

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