Confucius Temple, Beijing
When visiting Confucius Temple, you should schedule enough time in your day and read all that is presenting in the exhibition halls. Located on either side of the main courtyard, just before Da Cheng Hall, it offers an amazing account of the life of Confucius and some insight into that era.
Confucius was born in 551 BC. Said to be born into a wealthy family that fell on hard times. Confucius made incredible contributions in philosophy and particularly in education. One of my favorite quotes and philosophy on education from Confucius is "Providing Education for all, indiscriminately." If you think about that for a minute, you come to realize how important such a statement is.
The exhibition halls have plaques throughout the buildings that tell of Confucius' life. Most important for tourist is that everything has a very good English translation.
I spent more time that I allotted here and would have liked to stay longer. Maybe because I am in the education field or that I enjoy eastern philosophy.
Spend the time. You will not regret learning about this amazing historic figure.
Confucius Temple was not on my list of places to visit. I only had several days in Beijing at the end of my Tibet trip. I was walking to Lama Temple and came upon the entrance to Confucius Temple. There is a wall that surrounds it but I could see the beautiful architecture from the street.
I decided to detour and take in the Confucius Temple. This also includes the Imperial College. I am so glad I did. I enjoyed this attraction more than any other I visited in Beijing. They did a wonderful job in the exhibition halls and give a detailed account of Confucius' life.
Construction of the temple began in 1302. As you enter, there are pavilions with carved stone pillars. Continuing on is a large statue of Confucius. The largest building in the complex is Da Cheng Hall. On either side of the of the courtyard approaching Da Cheng Hall are exhibition halls. These are very well done. In the courtyard are pavilions of larger stone tablets.
It only costs 30rmb to visit as long as you like and includes the imperial college.
Hours of operation:
Monday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Tuesday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Wednesday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Thursday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Confucius Temple should definitely be on everyone's to do list!
This temple was close to the Yonghegong Lama Monastery. Confucius temples are fairly simple and plain inside but they are still interesting.
This temple was built in 1302. It is the second largest Confucius temple in China; the largest is in Qufu, Shandong Province. The temple has four courtyards, Xianshi Gate (Gate of the First Teacher), Dacheng Gate (Gate of Great Accomplishment), Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Accomplishment) and Chongshengci (Worship Hall). Inside the temple there are 198 stone tablets containing 51,624 names of Jinshi or advanced scholars of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.
While the Temple of Confucious may not be on as grand a scale at the Llama Temple or the Temple of Heaven, it arguably has the most name recognition. After all who hasn't heard of Confucious and the Golden Rule? While it may be a smaller temple it is located on beautifully kept grounds that have a more initimate earthly appeal, exactly how Confucious would have wanted it. There is a Romanesque arch and a old as time itself tree that supposedly Confucious meditated under (depending on who you ask) Visiting the Temple of Confucious is best combined with the Temple of Llama as they are very close to each other and share more than just their proximity....they are both peaceful and serene places to visit.
This china's second Confucius temple and is set amongst century old tree's. It was built in 1302 and is lined with rows of steles. those at the entrance immortalize the prize-winners in imperial competitions starting from the 14th century. A further 189 are hidden away at the back of the second courtyard which preserve the 13 canons of Confucius devotedly inscribed in a labour of love lasting 12 years by the calligrapher Jiang Heng [1672-1742]. The majestic yellow tiled hall of great achievements [dachengdian] is open to the public along with the capital museum displaying archaeological remains.
The Beijing Confucian Temple is the second largest Confucian Temple in China after the one in Confucius' hometown of Qufu (see more on my Qufu page). It was built in 1302, and imperial officials used it to pay their respects to Confucius until 1911. The compound was enlarged twice, during the Ming and Qing dynasties and now occupies some 20,000 square meters.
The complex includes four courtyards aligned along a central axis. From south to north, noteworthy structures includes the Xianshi Gate, Dacheng Gate, Dacheng Hall and Chongshengci. Inside the temple there are 198 stone tablets positioned on either side of the front courtyard, and they contain more than 51,624 names of Jinshi (the advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, and 14 stone stele pavilions of the Ming and Qing dynasties that hold the precious historical information of ancient China. Next door to the temple is the Imperial College which is also included in the entry price and well worth a look.
Open: 8.30am-5pm. Admission: RMB20.
Inside the Confucius Temple are 198 stone tablets positioned on either side of the front courtyard, and they contain more than 51,624 names of Jinshi (the advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, and 14 stone stele pavilions of the Ming and Qing dynasties that hold the precious historical information of ancient China.
Open: 8.30am-5pm. Admission: RMB20.
These stone tablets were engraved with thirteen Confucian classics during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. The classics have more than 626,000 Chinese characters, all written in regular script by Jiang Hang, a Gong Sheng (scholar recommended by local government for further studies at the Imperial College, from Jintan, Jiangsu Province during the reign of Yongzheng. It took him 12 years to complete. In 1791, people started to engrave characters on the tablets and the work continued for three years before all the classics were engraved on 189 stone tablets.
Open: 8.30am-5pm. Admission: RMB20.
After visiting the Lama temple (Yonghegong), I also wanted to visit the Confucius temple.
On my Beijing map it seemed nearby.
And it was nearby, as I left the Lama temple I only had to cross the street, and a few hundred metres further was the entry to the Confucius temple.
At the entry of this side street there was also kind of a colourful gate (see picture), so in fact you can not miss it.
So the Confucius temple is located in a side street of Yonghegong Dajie (where the famous Lama temple is located).
When I visited these temples unfortunately it was raining and that makes it a bit less pleasant, as you have to carry an umbrella all the time, also in order to protect your camera.
In fact this Confucius temple was a temple, now it is kind of a museum.
As soon you have passed the ticket control, you enter the first courtyard, and there you can see the statue of Confucius, and a big series of steles.
So at the first courtyard you can see a big number of steles.
The sign board near the Steles said:
So on both sides of the gate of the ancient teacher, Confucius, and the gate of Great Achievements are found steles bearing the names. Native districts and positions on the list of successful candidates of 51.624 scholars who obtained the rank of Jinshi at the Imperial examinations during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, they furnish valuable data on the Imperial examination system of China
In one of the side buildings, which was named the Capital Library, you can see a big number of Steles. In fact it is a big hall (and it was a bit dark inside) filled with stone tablets.
Outside this hall there is a big wall with some explanation on these stone tablets. But I did not read it, as it was too much and it was raining and there was still a lot more to discover.
Qianlong sculptures: On the stone outside you could read a brief introduction of the forest of the Steles of the "Thirteen Classics" at the Confucius temple.
So once you have passed the gate with the statue of the ancient teacher Confucius, you come to the second courtyard.
At the back of this gate you find a souvenir shop where you can buy postcards and books.
This second courtyard is filled with many small pavilions.
But what was kind of funny on these pavilions, was the fact that almost each pavilions was supported by a bug turtle
Where these the ancestors of the famous ninja turtles? Who knows . . .
So the second courtyard at the Confucius temple was filled with small pavilions (which were supported by turtles - see previous tip), there were also a few statues.
And there was also a remarkable burning stove. In fact this burning stove was used to burn sacrifice and other offerings at ceremonies to commemorate Confucius.
And as you can see at the picture, it was still raining . . .
Across the road from the Lama temple you see the temple of Confucius. It is not as colorful and looks more desolate than the Lama temple, but is certainly worth the visit.
The Temple of Confucius was initially built in 1302 and additions were made during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is the second largest temple constructed for Confucius, the greatest thinker and educationist in ancient China, the largest being in Qufu, Shandong Province.
Inside the templecomplex are more than 100 ancient trees. One is a 700 years old cypress named "Chujianbai" (Touch Evil Tree). Legend tels the tree can see who is evil, it proved it by knocking the hat of a evil man...
The temple houses the Beijing museum too.