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Guozijian (The Imperial College)

Updated:2008-06-06 10:19 | Source:

  Beijing Guozijian is located at Guozijian

  Street (originally named Chengxian Street),

  Andingmennei Street of Dongcheng District. Chinese

  scholar trees line on both sides of the street. Four

  colorfully painted archways stand each at the east

  and west ends of the street and the two sides of

  the gate of Guozijian. Guozijian Street is Beijing's

  only existing street of ancient architectural style.

  Situated in the central street and adjoining the

  Confucius Temple, the structure of Guozijian accords

  with the tradition Temple on the left, college on

  the right. To the east the building faces Yonghegong

  Temple, the biggest Lama Temple in Beijing.

  Guozijian is a famous cultural and historical site

  in Beijing.

  Beijing Guozijian was the highest seat of learning

  and education-supervising administrative organ in

  the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties of the ancient

  China. It was first built in the 24th year of

  Zhiyuan Reign of the Yuan Dynasty, and was renovated

  on a large scale during Yongle and Zhengtong reigns

  of the Ming Dynasty. During the reign of Emperor

  Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty, it was added with

  Biyong (the hall where emperors gave lectures), the

  East and West Stele Pavilions, the Glazed Archway

  and so on. The whole complex of Guozijian faces

  south, and along its central axis are Jixian Gate

  (the front gate), Taixue Gate (the second gate), the

  Glazed Archway, Biyong, Yiluntang (Hall of Sacrifice

  of Ethics) and Jingyiting (Jingyi Pavilion). On its

  east and west sides are the six halls in the

  traditional symmetrical layout. With a total

  building area of more than 10,000 square meters,

  Guozijian is now the only existing architecture of

  state-sponsored ancient highest academy.

  The administrative officials of Guozijian were

  called Jijiu (the chief), Siye (Dean of Studies) and

  Jiancheng etc. Teachers were called Boshi (or called

  Jiaoshou in Chinese, professor in English), Zhujiao

  (professor assistant) and so on. Students who

  studied in Guozijian were called Jiansheng, and they

  mainly studied Confucian classics. Besides Han, Man,

  Meng, Hui nationalities students, Guozijian also

  received foreign students from Korea, Japan, Russia,

  Vietnam and other countries. In its northwestern

  corner a Ryukyu College was set up specially as the

  place where students from Ryukyu (today's Okinawa in

  Japan) studied and lived. Outside Guozijian there

  were Jiaozhi House (the residence for students from

  Jiaozhi, today's Vietnam) and Russia College. All

  these played an important role in fostering talents

  of various nationalities in China and in promoting

  the cultural exchange between China and in promoting

  the cultural exchange between China and foreign

  countries.

  According to the original building concept, the

  Confucian Temple, in memory of the education

  advocator Confucius, was situated on the east of

  Guozijian; to the west was Archery Range for the

  practice of archery; to the south was Southern

  College. All the above formed the complex called

  Guozijian. This shows a traditional Chinese spirit:

  respecting teachers and stressing education,

  learning knowledge and practicing military arts.

  Hundreds of dormitories for Jiansheng (students in

  the imperial college) were distributed around

  Guozijian. There were also the Memorial Temple for

  Han Yu (a famous poet and writer in ancient China),

  the Land God Temple and other additional buildings,

  and thus an integrated teaching area came into

  being. But today residential areas replace the then

  Archery Range, Southern College, the Memorial Temple

  for Han Yu and The Land God Temple. Whereas the main

  buildings of Guozijian are well preserved. In the

  compound of Guozijian three courtyards lie from

  south to north in perfect order. Dotted with green

  ancient trees, the whole scenery looks majestic with

  its magnificent halls. In summer, the dense shade of

  the trees protects the complex from the sun; in

  winter, a white quiet snow covering dress the

  compound up into a fairyland. Guozijian, with its

  quietness and elegance, long history and unique

  architectural style and with its profound cultural

  background, is an ideal spot for sightseeing and

  appreciating antiquity.

  (Source:

  http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/Tour/ScenicSpots/)

Editor : Zhu Jia

Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics