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Temple of Heaven

An anerial view of the Temple of HeavenThe Temple of Heaven is situated in the southern part of the city. It was built in 1420, encompassing 273 hectares (674 acres). The perimeter of the Temple of Heaven is 6,369 meters with 6 meters high.

The History of Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped heaven and prayed for good harvests. After the completion of the Temple of Heaven in 1420 in more than 500 years until the Qing Dynasty, 22 emperors made 654 sacrifices to heaven in the Temple of Heaven. They came here twice a year, on the 1 5th day of the 1st lunar month and on Winter Solstice. At first, both heaven and earth were worshipped here. After 1530 when the Temple of Earth was built in the northern suburbs, only heaven was worshipped in this temple.

In ancient China, sacrifice to heaven by people has a history of about 5,000 years. It originated from natural worship. People thought that everything was dominated by heaven due to underdeveloped science in ancient China. Ancient Chinese hoped that heaven could help them by sacrifice. This objectively reflected the people's wishes to nature. But Emperor regarded sacrifice to heaven as his patent and tried to consolidate his rule through sacrifice to heaven. In ancient China dozens of temples of heaven were built and only the Temple of Heaven in Beijing is still standing. It is the largest architectural group of buildings and unique in the world today. The Republic of China (1912-1949) in 1912 abolished the activities of sacrificing to heaven. It was open to the public in 1919.

Various Temple of Heaven Tour & other top attractions in Beijing,  US$ 17+. Click and Join!

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven is regarded as one of the greatest architectural structures in the world. Some environmental artists and gardeners describe the temple as a place where people can Qiniandian with red pillarstalk to the heaven. In Beijing, four imperial temples were built during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). At the southern end of the city axis is the Temple of Heaven. It is the most important of the four. The other three are the Altar of the Earth in the north, the Altar of the Moon in the west, and the Altar of the sun in the east just behind the Beijing Friendship Store. All of them are still buildings of its kind in China, nearly four times larger than the Forbidden City. The whole building complex was designed in a way that made good use of color, sound, geometric figures of the circle and the square, and changes in height. The combination of building and garden helps make it appear mysterious and magical.

The architecture of Temple of Heaven has two themes. One is "on the earth," while the other is "in the heaven." The square-shaped palace for fasting in the west of the temple appears like a "forbidden city" in smaller size. The circular shaped Qiniandian (Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests) and Huanqiu (Circular Mound Altar) are thought to have been connected with heaven. This symbolizes the second theme, which dominates the whole temple. In imperial days, the Chinese people believed that the sky was in circular shape and the earth was square. 0n the basis of this traditional concept, the circle was widely adopted in the design of the temple's main buildings. It is in accord with people's imagination of heaven. Nowadays, there are more than 100,000 tress of various kinds, of which 60,000 are evergreen pines. Out of 60,000 pines, 2,566 are ancient cypresses. Of these ancient trees, 100 trees reach the age of more than 1,000 years. The Temple of Heaven has the most ancient trees in Beijing.

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Temple of Heaven Tour

Regarded as one of the greatest architectural structures in the world, Temple of Heaven is the place you should not miss during the Beijing tour. There is also a one day Beijing tour to the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace and the price is 30 USD.