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Ritan Park

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Introduction
The Temple of the Sun is an altar located in Chaoyang District, Beijing, China. It is within Ritan Park, in the Jianguomen area. The nearest Beijing Metro station is Yonganli on the Beijing subway Line 1.

The altar was built in 1530 during the late Ming Dynasty for use in ritual sacrifice to the sun by the Emperor of China. The area surrounding the Ritan temple is now a public park, and the site features extensive gardens and a small lake.

On the opposite side of Beijing, to the west, is the Temple of the Moon, located in Fuchengmen.

History & Background
The Ritan Park, now a public park, is home to several famous historical sites such as the “Temple of the Sun”.

The altar was built in the ninth year of Emperor Jiajing reign in the Ming Dynasty (AD 1530), and it was used to be the place where emperors in Ming and Qing feted the "Sun God". The altar was shaped as a square. 

In 1951 the Beijing government decided to expand the altar to an area of 21 hectares for Ritan Park. 

Under the concern from Premier Zhou Enlai, construction of South, North Gate and Exhibition Showcase were completed. 

From then on, a series of construction were conducted. Mudanyuan, Shengchunyuan and other places of interest within the park were delicately arranged in the park.

Highlights Of Ritan Park
Ritan Park is perfect for anyone wanting to take a relaxing stroll through well maintained gardens and ponds. The paths will take visitors a long through numerous pavilions and traditional Chinese structures that will sure to please any tourist wanting to experience ancient China.  The walk is great, however park’ s true beauty and significance lies in its Yuxin Garden, ancient storehouses, and the famous Temple of the Sun.

The Yuxin Garden is a massive garden that spans over 3000 square meters. The entire garden is breathtaking and one of Ritan Park’ s most beloved attractions. Here visitors can take the winding path to an enormous sycamore tree that is over one meter round. The tree is certainly a site to behold and offers fantastic shade during a hot day. We recommend taking a rest here and soaking in the atmosphere of this incredible garden.

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Another popular attraction is the Shen Ku and Shen Chu storehouses, found near the northern gate. In the Shen Ku storehouse lies the worship tablets that were used in the worship ceremonies years ago.  These two sites were also the location where they slaughtered the animal sacrifices.  Near here you can also find 44 ancient trees, including an eleven hundred year-old cypress tree, known as the “Nine Dragon Cypress”.

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The Temple of the Sun is the true heart of Ritan Park, contains a circular red wall that encloses the altar that symbolizes the sun. In the center of this enclosed area, you will find a massive altar surrounded by short green tiled walls that measure over 250 meters around. The altar, made of red bricks, contains nine steps in all directions.  The altar itself was reconstructed in 1985 to resemble the altar used in the Qing Dynasty.

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Along with all of its historic attractions and ancient gardens, the Ritan park proudly displays some artistic masterpieces.  The biggest artistic attraction is this giant tiled piece, pictured to the left, that depicts several people worshiping the sun. This stunning piece may seem slightly out of place, but is not the only oddity found here in the park, there is also a small amusement park built for the children who visit.

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Information
Admission Fee: Free

Opening Hours: 6:00 – 21:00

Directions: Unfortunately, the Ritan Park is not the most accessible of Beijing’s attractions, and reaching the park will include a bit of walking.  Take the Subway Line 1 or 2 to Jianguomen Station and leave through exit B.  You will then walk for about 10 – 15 minutes until you reach Ritan Park’s South Gate.

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