Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Temple of Heaven - Beijing China


Today my cousin and I visited The Temple of Heaven located a bit south of Tian'anmen on line 5 of the subway (tiantandongmen).


My favorite spot was the Circular Mound Altar, which is most significant this time of year! This is a photo of my cousin Elliott looking regal as he poses.

The Circular Altar has three layered terraces with white marble. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 A.D. - 1911 A.D.), the emperors would offer sacrifice to Heaven on the day of the Winter Solstice every year. This ceremony was to thank Heaven and hope everything would be good in the future.


Another important building in Temple of Heaven is Imperial Vault of Heaven. If you look at it from far away, you will find that the Vault is like a blue umbrella with gold head. The structure of it is like that of Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, but smaller in size. The structure was made of bricks and timber. The Vault was used to place memorial tablets of Gods. White marble railings surround the vault.


The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is a big palace with round roof and three layers of eaves. Inside the Hall are 28 huge posts. The four posts along the inner circle represent four seasons-spring, summer, autumn and winter; the 12 posts along the middle circle represent the 12 months; and 12 posts along the outer circle represent 12 Shichen (Shichen is a means of counting time in ancient China. One Shichen in the past equaled two hours and a whole day was divided into 12 Shichens). The roof is covered with black, yellow and green colored glaze representing the heavens, the earth and everything on earth. The Hall has a base named Altar for Grain Prayers which is made of three layers of white marble and has a height of six meters.

Thanks to: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/beijing/heaven/ for the intel!

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Did you know that the Temple of Heaven is seen as the most holy of Beijing's imperial temples. It has been described as "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design".

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