Facts of the Temple of Heaven
Names: Simplified Chinese: 天坛; Traditional Chinese: 天壇; Pinyin: Tiāntán
History: First built in the 18th year of Emperor Yongle of Ming Dynasty (1420 A.D.).
Area: About 2,700,000 square meters
Address: on the east of Tianqiao, Chongwen District 67018866
Opening hours: 06:00 to 20:00
Visiting time: 1.5 hours
Known as a masterpiece of ancient architecture, the Temple of Heaven is one of the most inspiring places in Beijing. It locates in the southern section of central Beijing with an area of 2.7 hectares. The complex was used as sacrificial places for the Ming and Qing emperors to pray to the heaven for good harvest. Now it is an attractive park with numerous landmarks, walkways, and impressive architectures. In 1998, it has listed as one of the World Cultural Relics by the UNESCO.
The Temple of Heaven was first built in the 18th year of Ming Yong LE (1420) and was reconstructed during the period of Emperor Jiajing in Ming Dynasty and Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty, functioning as the worship place by the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Renovations were continuously taken in the past centuries.
The design of the Temple of Heaven complex was based on symbolism and numerology. Earth was represented by a square and Heaven by a circle. Evidence can be found in the design of several temple complex. Two cordons of walls circle the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Circular Mound Altar. The number nine represents the emperor and is evident in the design of the Circular Mound Altar. You will see the slabs that form the Circular Altar have been laid in multiples of nine. Similarly with the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, the interior twenty-eight columns are divided into four central pillars to represent the seasons, twelve inner columns to represent the months and twelve outer columns to represent the two-hour tranches that make up a day.
Travel Tips for Visiting the Temple of Heaven
1. In the early morning, the Temple of Heaven Park started to bustle with local people doing all types of exercise, dancing, singing, playing games, etc. You may have seen the “legendary Kung Fu grandpas” on YouTube. You will see them here.
2. The park is quite large and offer several visit routes. Entering from east gate and existing from south gate is the most recommended.
3. There are many picturesque corners and special points in the park. An interesting and famous place for you to visit is called Echo Stones. A whisper can travel clearly from one end to another person who standing far apart. Many visitors get there early trying to hear the Echo without other groups to disturb.
4. For independent travelers, you can access the park by public buses, metro, or taxi.
Beijing Tours including Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven is one of the must-see sights in Beijing. If you travel in a quick pace of Beijing, it is usually put together with Forbidden City or the Great Wall of China.
If time permits, you can discover more in the surroundings like the Beijing Museum of Natural History next to its west gate, Hongqiao Pearl Market a few blocks away, and Qianmen Street that full of snacks.
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