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
In the large complex of the Temple of Heaven, all the eyes go to the Hall of Prayer, but facing it, there's a smaller structure with similar architecture, and where the crowds are not so dense, allowing more time to see the details.
Beautiful colors, harmonious forms, and a good stop to look around in both directions.
The Imperial Vault of Heaven is a single-gabled circular building, built on a single level of marble stone base. It is located south of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and resembles it, but is smaller. It is surrounded by a smooth circular wall, the Echo Wall, that can transmit sounds over large distances.
The Vault was originally built in 1530 and named the Hall for Appeasing Gods and was the main hall of the Celestial Treasure House of the Circular Mound Altar, housing the Gods tablets that were used at the ceremony of worshipping Heaven. It was renamed to its current name in 1538 and rebuilt to its present shape in 1752. It measures 19.2 metres in height and 15.6 metres in diameter with a blue tiled roof crowned with a gilded sphere.
The Imperial Vault of Heaven was originally built in 1530. Tablets of the Gods of Heaven were kept in here. When the sacrifice to heaven was made they would be moved to the circular mound for the ceremony and then returned afterwards. It is built of wood and is a smaller version of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, again, with the blue roof symbolising heaven. An echo wall surrounds the Imperial Vault of Heaven. Apparently if one person stands at the east end of the wall and another person stands at the west, they can hear each others whispers clearly.
The Imperial Vault of Heaven is located directly north of the Circular Altar. it is a smaller version of the Hall of Prayer and was built to store ceremonial stone tablets.
The vault is surrounded by the circular Echo Wall (Huiyin Bi). Apparently it is possible for two people on opposite sides of the enclosure to send whispered messages to each other along the wall with remarkable clarity. However with hundreds of tourists crammed into the area, I highly doubt it would work. However it didn't stop people from trying.