Welcome to Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven is the most sacred place for the most awed people—it was the place where emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties worshiped the god and offered sacrifice to the Heaven. What’s more, it is the largest architectural complex in the world for rituals to pay homage to heaven. The spacious Temple of Heaven is well-afforested. When going into the Temple, a feeling of solemnity, respectfulness, holiness and quietness will well up in the mind. When looking at the beautiful sacrificial altars, one will feel his soul is purified and thoughts sublimed. With distinctive features entirely different from the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven is extreme precisely arranged in round or quadrate shapes, manifesting the relations between the Heaven and the earth—people in ancient China believed that the sky is round and the earth is quadrate. Luxury decorated, the buildings flickers and glints in the sunlight, wearing a sacred air. Blue and green colored glaze on the roof and red walls and pillars indicate the exalted identity of the emperors, as well as their awedness to the mysterious Heaven. At present, people can explain many phenomenons in scientific perspective, which were extremely mysterious to the ancient people. People no longer offer sacrifice to the Heaven; however, the Temple of Heaven is the treasure of human being, which records one aspect of life of ancient Chinese and the development of the human society.

Temple of Heaven is located in southern Beijing. It was first constructed in 1420, and was extended and renovated during the reigns of Ming emperor Jiajing and Qing emperor Qianlong. With profound cultural connotations and imposing architectural styles, the Temple of Heaven is considered a reflection of the ancient civilization of the Orient. In 1918, Temple of Heaven was turned into a park and attracted masses of visitors from home and abroad by the grand scales, unique buildings and profound connotation of historic culture. After New China was founded in 1949, the central government invested large amounts of capital in the protection and maintenance of the historical and cultural sites inside the temple. In 1998, the Temple of Heaven was inscribed on the World Heritage List by the UNESCO. The Temple of Heaven is a cultural museum of offering sacrifices to Heaven, which merges architecture, aesthetics, acoustics, astronomy, calendar, music and dancing into an integral whole. It is an important window through which we can learn the history of China.
The Divine Music Administration
The Divine Music Administration is located in the southwestern part of the Temple of Heaven, covering an area of nearly 10,000 square meters and consisting of many courtyards. As an academy of ceremonious music of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it offered special institutions and professionals to conduct training for performers of sacrificial music and dancing, and in its zenith period, more than 3,000 people received the training at the same time. Highly valued in the terms of art and culture, the Divine Music Administration is regarded as one of the five major architectures in the Temple of Heaven.
The Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, core structure of the Altar of Prayer for Grain was where the Ming and Qing emperors held ceremonies for good harvests. First built in 1420, the hall stands on a round 5.2 meter-high white marble base, which comprises three tiers. Each tier is surrounded by white marble railing boards and balustrades. There is a huge white marble stairway on the middle of stair of each tier, with the relief of patterns of clouds, phoenix and dragon respectively, from bottom to top. Correspondingly, the railing boards, balustrades and drainage outlets of each tire are carved the same patterns. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, 32 meters in height, is a lofty cone-shaped structure with triple eaves, covered blue glazed tiles, and the top is crowned by a gilded ball. This majestic hall looks as if it was a colossus that might prop up the sky from the ground.
The Danbi Bridge
The Danbi Bridge, which is 360 meters in length and four meters high, is a raised walkway connecting the Circular Mound Altar and the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests. The middle stone-slab path on the bridge, which is 30 meters wide, is the Divine Road and was for the exclusive use of the God of Heaven. The brick-paved path on the east side is the Imperial Road, which served only the emperor. The brick-paved path on the west side was called the King’s Road and was at the disposal of the aristocrats and high-ranking officials who accompanied the emperor for the ceremony. The northern part of the bridge is slightly higher than the southern part, symbolizing the ascent to heaven.
Admission fee: 15RMB/person
Opening hours: 8:00-17:30
1. Take No.52 and No.122 bus at the Beijing West Railway Station to the south gate of Temple of the Heaven.
2. Take No.359 bus at the Beijing Capital Airport, change to the No.120 bus at the station of Zuojiazhuang, and get off at Temple of Heaven.
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