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Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven is located in the southeast of Beijing and existed for more than 500 years. Temple of Heaven was built for emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties to worship the heaven. Temple of Heave is the largest and best-preserved architectural complex for sacrifice in China.

Occupying an area of 2,720,000 square meters, the Temple of Heaven is slightly larger than the Forbidden City. There are two layers of walls around the Temple, dividing it into two parts: the inner enclosure and outer enclosure. The main buildings of the Temple include Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Imperial Heavenly Vault and Circular Mound Altar. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest has three concentric circles of massive wood columns symbolizing the four seasons, 12 months and 12 daily hours. The Imperial Vault of Heaven is a smaller circular building constructed without crossbeams; its dome is supported by complicated span work. The Circular Mound Altar is a triple-tiered white stone terrace enclosed by two sets of walls that are square outside and round inside, which are symbolic of the square earth and round heaven. Emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties held their ceremonies to worship the heaven in the Circular Mound Altar on winter solstice. Therefore the Circular Mound Altar also called “Heaven Worship Altar”.

The whole construction of the Temple of Heaven is made by wood so it is the architectural masterpiece of wood construction in China. Another marvelous and magnificent spot of the temple is Echo Wall. When standing in the center of the Circular Mound Altar, you can hear the bright sound which seems to come from the earth’s core and sometimes from the sky.

The design ideology of the Temple of Heaven manifests broad and vast sky. As for the aspect of distribution of building, the inner enclosure is situated on the east of north-south axis of outer enclosure; the Circular Mound Altar and Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is located on the east of the axis of the inner enclosure. This layout makes the west part of the Temple wider.

As the largest building complex for worshiping heaven in the world, the Temple of Heaven was inscribed on the list of the World Cultural Heritage in 1998.

Travel Tips

Address: Tian Tan Lu (north gate entrance), Beijing, China

Opening Times: Daily 8:00-18:00; daily 6:00-20:00 (park).

Admission Fees: 10RMB (low season), 15RMB (low season)

Note: joint ticket: 30RMB (Low season),35RMB(High Season) Disabled Access: Yes Telephone: (10) 6702 8866.