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The Temple Of Heaven, Beijing

Temple of Heaven Beijing

  • The Temple of Heaven Park is situated in the Chongwen District of, Beijing. Initially, this was the site where kings of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) arranged the Heaven Worship Ceremony. It’s China's biggest and most representative existing masterwork among China’s ancient sacrificial constructions. It was originally constructed in 1420, during the rule of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644); it was expanded and reconstructed during the rule of the Ming ruler Jiajing and the Qing ruler Qianlong. It was opened to the general public as a park in 1988, showing ancient religion, history and philosophy. Profound cultural connotation and impressive architectural style of the Temple of Heaven provide an insight into the traditions of the ancient Eastern civilization.
  • The Temple of Heaven is spread over an area of 2,700,000 square metres. Chinese kings were prohibited from constructing a house for themselves which was bigger than the earthly home dedicated to Heaven hence the difference in total size of the two complexes. There is a long wall enclosing the temple.
  • The northern area within the wall is semicircular representing the heavens.
  • The southern area is square representing the earth. The northern area is above the southern area. This design indicates that the heaven is above and the earth is below and the design represented an ancient Chinese thought that the heaven is circular and the earth is square.
The Temple is divided into an inner part and outer part.
The Circular Mound Altar

  • The Circular Mound Altar is situated in the southern part of the Imperial Vault of Heaven. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the kings would offer sacrifice to Heaven every year on the day of the Winter Solstice. This rite was to express thanks to heaven and expect everything would be fine in the future. Established in the 9th year of Emperor Jiajing (1530) of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), it’s the very spirit of the Temple of Heaven and therefore it’s also known as the Terrace of Worshiping Heaven.
Lantern Viewing Pole
  • There is a 29 metre high pole in the southwest of the Circular Mound Altar that was used to suspend a lantern. A lever and pulley raise and lower the lantern.
Architectural Art Of 9
  • In ancient China, even numbers were called negative numbers and odd numbers were called positive numbers. The biggest positive number is 9, therefore 9 was used to represent the imperial authority. The quantity of steps and fences of Circular Mound Altar is either 9 or a multiple of 9.
Heaven Heart Stone
  • This is a round stone in the middle of the altar that is a little protruding. If anyone stands on it and speaks, the sound waves will be echoed. In ancient times, the ritual officer would stand up on the stone to read the sermon and the clangorous sound appeared to be reaching to paradise.

Imperial Vault Of Heaven