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Temple of Heaven

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

  Panorama : Hall of Prayer for Good

  Harvest,Temple of Heaven

  At the Temple of Heaven Emperors of the Ming and

  Qing Dynasties (1368-1911) worshiped Heaven and

  prayed for good harvests. The northern part of the

  outer surrounding wall is semi-circular; the

  southern part is square; this forms a pattern

  symbolic of the ancient belief that Heaven was round

  and the earth square. The double surrounding wall

  separates the temple into the inner and outer

  temples with the main structures in the inner one,

  covering 273 hectares.

  The inner temple is also partitioned by a wall into

  two groups of buildings. The north structure is the

  Altar for Praying for Good Harvests with the Hall of

  Prayers for Good Harvests as the principal building

  used to pray each spring for good bumper harvests.

  The south structure is the Circular Mound Altar used

  to worship Heaven at the winter solstice; the

  principal construction here is a large round marble

  terrace named the Circular Mound.

  The two altars, connected by a 360-meter-long raised

  walk called the Red Step Bridge, are arranged in a

  line forming a north-south axis 1,200-meter long;

  the walk is flanked by century-old cypresses.

  To the inner portion, south of the West Celestial

  Gate is Abstinence Hall where the emperors observed

  abstention before the rituals. In the western part

  of the outer temple is the Divine Music Office,

  which was in charge of the teaching and performance

  of the music for the rituals. The Temple of Heaven

  are includes the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests,

  the Hall of the Heavenly Emperor, the Circular

  Mound, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, Abstinence

  Hall, the Beamless Hall, the Long Corridor,

  Longevity Pavilion in a double ring shape as well as

  the Echo Wall, the Three Echo Stones, and the Seven

  Meteoric Stones.

  Built first in 1420 during the Ming Emperor Yongle's

  reign, it was expanded and renovated during the Ming

  Emperor Jiajing's (1522-1566) and Qing Emperor

  Qianlong's (1736-1795) reigns. The Temple of Heaven

  is a magnificent masterpiece of architecture in a

  solemn environment. Since the founding of New China,

  the government has allotted major resources to

  protect and restore the cultural monuments here. The

  Temple of Heaven with its long history, deep

  cultural significance and magnificent architectural

  style mirrors the ancient culture of the China.

  A masterpiece of the Ming and Qing architectural art

  and a precious example of China's ancient

  architecture, the Temple of Heaven is the largest

  architectural group for worshipping Heaven in the

  world. In 1961, it was listed by the State Council

  as a key monument under state protection." In 1998,

  it was recognized by UNESCO as a human heritage of

  the world."


Editor : Zhu Jia

Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics