Temple of Heaven, Beijing

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  • Temple of Heaven
    Temple of Heaven
    by loja
  • Temple of Heaven, beautiful Chinese roofs
    Temple of Heaven, beautiful Chinese...
    by loja
  • Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
    Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
    by loja
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    The Temple of Heaven.

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jul 11, 2013

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    This is another hugely famous sight and it is worth seeing, but don't get too excited or you might end up disappointed.

    The Temple of Heaven is located in the southern part of Beijing. It occupies an area of around 273 hectares - mainly vast, tree-filled gardens. It was built in 1420 and was used as a place for the Chinese emperor to worship heaven. The temple's main buildings are the circular Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven which is enclosed by a circular wall of bricks known as the echo wall and the Circular Mound Altar.

    The Temple of Heaven joined the world cultural heritage list in 1998. Again I feel my lack of knowledge of what I was looking at may have dampened my enjoyment of this site. Or it could just have been the taxi driver who overcharged s in gettng there.

    The Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven.
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    Temple of Heaven

    by JessieLang Written Oct 13, 2012

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    The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty. The Emperor came here twice a year during the solstices. The temple is all wood, constructed without nails. All the weight is on 4 huge pillars (for the 4 seasons.) Other design elements are in 12s, representing years and hours. Nine is an important number, and there are 3 sets of 9 steps up to the temple. The roof corners on the gates have musical animal figures (children of the dragon.)

    The Temple of Heaven has a blue roof (for the sky.) All the other royal palaces and temples have yellow roofs, a royal color. Only royals could wear yellow on the grounds.

    A park surrounds the temple, and it is a great place to people-watch. It is busy, with people exercising, playing games, singing, etc.

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    The Imperial Vault of Heaven

    by cal6060 Updated Aug 1, 2012

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    This is another beautiful building at The Temple of Heaven. After passing through the Nine-Dragon Cypress and the Gold color gate, we entered into the The Imperial Vault of Heaven. The signboard was written:

    " Built in 1530 (the 9th year of Emperor Jiajing's reign of the Ming dynasty), in a round shape with a double -eaved roof, and named first the Hall for Appeasing Gods, it was the main hall of the Celestial Treasure house of the Circular Mound Alter, housing the Gods' tablets to be used at the ceremony of worshiping Heaven. It was renamed the Imperial Vault of Heaven in 1538 (the 17th year of Emperor Jiajing's reign) and built into the present shape in 1752 (the 17th year of Emperor Qianlong's reign of Qing Dynasty). 19.5 meters in height and 15.6 meters in diameters, the hall is a finely interlaced wooden structure with a blue tile roof crowned with a gilded sphere, looking elegant and majestic. It has a coffered ceiling with a bluish green design of a coiling gilded dragon playing with a pearl at the center. It is indeed a masterpiese of ancient architecture of China."

    Next -- > Circular Mound, Lingxing Gate & Echo Wall

    In Chinese: 皇穹宇

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    Vermilion Steps Bridge

    by cal6060 Updated Aug 1, 2012

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    The Vermilion Steps Bridge is the connection bridge between the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest (North) and the Imperial Vault of Heaven (South). Under the bridge, it is not a river with water but open field. You can get a good views of all the Temples from different angles. Locals enjoyed walking and resting on the bridge. I saw people taking wedding photos on the bridge. Great choice of location!!

    Chengzhen Gate is located south side of the bridge. After Chengzhen Gate, you will see Imperial Vault of Heaven.

    Enjoy your moment there...

    In Chinese: 丹陛桥 (Dan Bi Qiao)

    Vermilion Steps Bridge, The Temple of Heaven Vermilion Steps Bridge, The Temple of Heaven Vermilion Steps Bridge, The Temple of Heaven Chengzhen Gate, The Temple of Heaven
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    Firewood Stove & Burning Stove

    by cal6060 Updated Aug 1, 2012

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    This is where the burning took place before worshiping.

    Signboard was written as:

    Firewood Stove - The Firewood Stove is a huge green glazed brick stove. Before the ceremony of worshiping Heaven began, a clearly washed and shaved calf was put on the stove and with great respect and to be burnt while the emperor stood by watching the process- a ritual called " Observation of the Burning".

    Burning Stove - It is a iron stove for burning the offerings. 8 stoves placed here were used to burn the offerings placed in front of the tablets of the first 8 generations of the Qing Emperors worshiped as the accessory deities.

    After visiting the Hall of Imperial Heaven including the Stoves, we proceeded to Vermillion Steps Bridge..

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    The Hall of Imperial Heaven

    by cal6060 Updated Aug 1, 2012

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    After visiting The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, I continued to visit The Hall of Imperial Heaven. It is much smaller hall. The signboard was written as:

    The Imperial Hall of Heaven was "the Heavenly Warehouse" of the Altar of Prayer for Grains. The tablet of 'the God of Heaven" and the tablets of the emperor's ancestors to be displayed and Harvests were kept here. The day before the ceremony, the emperor came here in person to burn incense sticks and perform the divide greetings for the transference, and then the officials of the Ministry of Rituals transferred the tablets to the appropriate places in the Hall of Prayer of Good Harvests. With a square root and eaves in four directions covered with blue glazed titles, the hall was built in 1420 (the 18th year of Ming Emperor Yongle's reign), and the hall placard bears an inscription in the handwriting of Zhu Houcong, emperor Jiajing of Ming Dynasty.

    In Chinese: 皇乾殿 (Huang Qian Dian)

    After visiting The Hall of Imperial Heaven, we continued to visit the Firewood Stove and Burning Stoves.

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    The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

    by cal6060 Updated Aug 1, 2012

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    I visited this place, and took the note on the signboard was written as:

    "Built in 1420 (the 18th year of Emperor Yongle's reign of Ming Dynasty), the original hall, rectangular in shape, was first named the Great Hall of Sacrificial Rituals used to workship both Earth and Heaven. Rebuilt in 1545 (the 24th year of Emperor Jiajing's reign) into a round hall with a triple-eaved roof, each covered with blue yellow and green glazed tiles respectively, symbolizing Heaven, Earth, and the mortal world, it was surmounted by triple roof with azure glazed titles only, culminating in a gilded sphere, and designated the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, exclusively used to pray for good harvests in early spring (in January). 38.2 meters in height and 24.3 meters in diameter, the hall is supported by immerse pillars, symbolizing the four seasons, the 12 months of the year, the 12 time divisions of the day and night, and all the constellations. It is the only existing example of the ancient architectural style of Mingdang."

    At least, you know what to expect before your visit!!

    In Chinese: 祈年殿 (Qi Nian Dian)

    After visiting The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, should proceed to The Hall of Imperial Heaven..

    The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Beijing The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Beijing The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Beijing The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Beijing The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Beijing
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    UNESCO: The Temple Of Heaven

    by cal6060 Updated Aug 1, 2012

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    The Temple of Heaven is located southeast of Center Beijing. It was a Taoist temple where Ming and Qing emperors came here for the ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. This temple complex was constructed between 1406-1420 by Yongle Emperor.

    This is a must-visit place in Beijing. It was inexpensive to get in as comparing to other museums and parks in China. We went in though the North Gate, and walked a huge green park. We visited the Hall of Payer Good Harvest, Hall of Imperial Heaven and East Annex Hall.

    In the middle part, we walked through the Vermilion Steps Bridgesbefore entering Chengzhen Gate. Imperial Vault of Heaven was a beautiful temple we saw when entering Chengzhen Gate. We saw this 500 year old juniper. It continued with the Echo Wall, and the huge open field with an center round viewing deck. Then we exit through the South Gate.

    I recommend you to take at least 5 to 6 hours to enjoy it all. Beautiful gardens and parks .. not to miss...

    If you have extra time, don't miss other attractions in the Park.

    In Chinese: 天坛 (Tian Tan)

    Admission: Y35

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    A Slice of Heaven in the Heart of Beijing

    by wilocrek Updated Jun 2, 2012

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    One of the reasons that Beijing is such a special city is the way they have managed to perserve their diverse culture despite the modern growth of the city. Beijing is full of parks, ancient hutongs, and many different temples that are scattered throughout the city. The Temple of Heaven is a fine example of the ancient culture of China that has been perfectly preserved in the middle of a modern bustling city. It is part of a large park complex that offers places to sit, eat lunch, and watch as the locals meditate or practice yoga. Then of course there is the large and spectacular temple itself that towers over the park and points towards the heavens. When you climb up into the complex you will again, much like everywhere in Beijing, feel as though you have been swept away to another time. The picturesque Temple of Heaven is a must visit and a wonderful place to sit in the sun and admire the ancient Chinese handiwork that has more than withstood the test of time.

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    The Temple of Heaven

    by roamer61 Written Nov 1, 2011

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    This was the primary temple for worship visited by the emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Built by the Ming in the 14th and 15th centuries, it is actually a complex surrounded by beautiful parkland. The Emperor would visit 2 times a year and pray for a good year, with ample crops and abundant rain.

    The complex is designed so you either buy a through ticket or individual tickets, depending on what you wish to do. In addition to the temples, the park is a lovely place to simply stroll. The Temple of Heaven, like the Forbidden City, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Imperial Vault of Heaven Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
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    Nine-Dragon Cypress

    by cal6060 Updated Oct 25, 2011

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    After passing the Chengzhen Gate, we saw this very old tree with named Nine-Dragon Cypress. The signboard was written as:

    " This is a Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis) of over 500 years old. Straight, robust and in a grotesque shape, the trunk is covered all over with spiral grooves which twist up vertically along as if nine coiling dragons were wreathing up into the sky, and hence the name of "the Nine-Dragon Juniper".

    Don't miss this... very interesting to watch..

    In Chinese: 九龙伯 (Jiu Long Bo)

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    Circular Mound, Lingxing Gate & Echo Wall

    by cal6060 Updated Oct 25, 2011

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    The southern part of The Temple of Heaven is the Circular mound surrounded by Echo Wall and Lingxing Gate. The Circular Mound was also built for religious purpose. The emperor would do a ceremonies to pray for rains during in the time of drought. Many animals would be scarified to make sure they have a good harvest.

    In Chinese: 圜丘坛 (Jiu Qiu Tan)

    The Echo Wall and Lingxing Gate were built to let their offering heard from Heaven.

    The signboard was written as:

    Echo Wall: The Echo Wall is the circular surrounding wall of the Celestial Warehouse. The hard and smooth wall in a perfect circumference constitutes an excellence refelcting body for the sound waves, which travel along the wall surface by continuous reflections. If two persons stand by the wall behind the East Annex Hall and the West Annex Hall respectively and speak with their face toward north, they can hear each other's voice clearly. Calls and responses or asks and answers constitute a wonderful conversation.

    Lingxing Gate: They are made of white marble in the special gate form of the surrounding walls of ancient alters, form similar to that of the monumental archway. The outer and inner surrounding walls of the Circular Mound are pierced with four groups of gates, each group with three gates. There are 8 groups of Lingxing gates, 24 gates in all, known as "the Cloud Gates Forming a jade Forest".

    Very interesting place to end the trip to The Temple of Heaven. It was almost sunset...: )

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    WALK THROUGH THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN GARDENS

    by DennyP Updated Oct 7, 2011

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    BEIJING
    Like everything that I have decided to visit here, I have found that it takes a long time to see properly and this huge park The Temple of Heaven Park is no exception...I decided that I would take a taxi here as my experiences with the local taxis were good as they even give you a metered receipt...great...
    The Park has a wall running right around it and has four gates , they are located at each compass point , and The park covers an area of over 250 hectares...many wonderful very old buildings can be seen within the park and like everywhere here a pair of comfortable walking shoes are a must , as you will certainly have to walk a lot here to visit the various sites.
    The dominant feature here , is of course the "Great Temple of Heaven...one of the Top Ten Temples in the world..known as the " Hall of Great Harvests"..a truly amazing three tiered structure with an umbrella type roof covered with beautiful blue glazed tiles..
    Like The Forbidden city you will encounter lots of groups of Chinese with their same coloured baseball caps lead by their whistle blowing guide carrying his raised flag....and although there are a lot of visitors ..there also is a huge amount of space..
    The gardens are beautifully maintained along with vast grassed areas if you want to sit down...but as I found allover my travels through Asia there are very few public seats to rest your weary self..Public toilets are rather scarsce also..

    THE WHITE MARBLE   THREE TIERED ROUND ALTER THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN AND HALL OF GREAT HARVEST ITS A LONG WALK IN HERE FROM SITE TO SITE THE  ORNATE IMPERIAL VAULT OF HEAVEN
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    VISIT THE AMAZING TEMPLE OF HEAVEN

    by DennyP Updated Oct 7, 2011

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    The day following my visit to The Forbidden City I planned to visit The Temple of Heaven Park located in the Chongwen District of Beijing I found it once again to be an inexpensive taxi ride ..The Taxi dropped me right at the Entrance to the park and , as I was told...This is a huge park..but my main reason to visit here is to see the Temple of Heaven..known as THE TEMPLE OF GOOD HARVESTS.. this is one of the TEN GREATEST TEMPLES IN THE WORLD

    Located in the Temple of Heaven Park..This Temple is also known as The Temple of Good Harvests..Trying to always get to see one of these Top Ten Temples of the World is a must for me wherever I can find them, and I was looking forward so much to seeing this one..

    Built in the year1420 the original Temple was square and known then as "The Great Hall of Sacrificial Rituals"..Rebuilt in the year 1545 The great Temple now had a triple eaved roof added each covered with blue, green, and yellow tiles , these symbolising Earth, Heaven and The Mortal World.
    Once again in 1751 a major reconstruction took place and the Grand Temple was surmounted then by a triple tiered roof with bright blue glazed tiles only and renamed "The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.".
    The Temple is so wonderfully ornate and its size is only surpassed by its magnificence..
    (some stats) The Temple of Heaven is 38.2 meters high and 24.2 meters in diameter .The many huge pillars that support the Hall represent The 12 months of the year, The twelve time divisions of day and night and all the constellations..This Temple is the only existing example of this ancient style of architecture of Mingdang left in China.

    This truly is an incredibly well maintained and manicured Park with many beautiful gardens and grassed areas with different Temples and , intricately painted buildings to see and enjoy..The day I visited The Temple Gardens there were many people here but as the gardens areas are so huge the people just seem to disperse..

    THE TEMPLE OF GOOD HARVESTS..AND TEMPLE OF HEAVEN A FRAMED TEMPLE OF HEAVEN ANOTHER VIEW OF THIS MAGNIFICENT TEMPLE GETS VERY CROWDED.. LOOK AT THE AMAZING PAINTED DETAIL HERE
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    the Temple of Heaven

    by honestjohn Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420 during the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty. Situated in the southern part of the city, this grand set of structures covers an area of 273 hectares. To better symbolize heaven and earth, the northern part of the Temple is circular while the southern part is square. The whole compound is enclosed by two walls, a square wall outside a round one. The outer area is characterized by suburban scenery, while the inner part is used for sacrifices. The inner enclosure consists of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest and the Circular Mound Altar.
    Today the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is the hallmark of Beijing, which enjoys a prolonged history of civilization. The annex halls were symmetrically built on a 1.5-meter-high brick-and-marble terrace, to set off the loftiness and magnificence of the main hall. This unique building, 38 meters in height, is characterized by a cone-shaped structure with triple eaves and a top that is crowned by a gilt ball. The roofing is made of blue glazed tiles, the color of the sky. Underneath the roof, the beams and brackets are decorated with colored paintings. The base of the structure is a triple-tiered, circular marble terrace. At a distance, the terrace looks like a gigantic, spiraling cloud with the structure perched on top of it.
    The Imperial Vault of Heaven is the main structure of Heaven's Storehouse. Aside from exquisitely laid out architectures, Heaven's Storehouse is also famous for two structures with peculiar acoustic features, i.e. the Echo Wall and the Triple-Sound Stone. A mere whisper at any point close to the wall can be heard clearly on the other side, although the parties may be 40 or 50 meters apart. This is possible because the wall is round and hermetically constructed with smooth, solid bricks. The Temple of Heaven is also famous for its cypress trees - there are more than 60, 000 cypress trees in all, among which over 4,000 are more than one hundred years old, adding to the solemn atmosphere of the temple.

    Prayer Hall

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