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Temple of Heaven

temple of heaven.jpg

Introduction
The Temple of Heaven, lies in southeastern part of Beijing City and it's a complex buildings for Taoist, it is regarded as a Taoist Temple. The Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties visited the complex annually when they prayed to Heaven for good harvests.The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed the Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. The Jiajing Emperor also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of the Sun in the east, the Temple of the Earth in the north, and the Temple of the Moon in the west. The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor. The Temple of Heaven was listed into the UNESCO World Heritage in 1998.

History
It was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. Jiajing also built three other prominent temples in Beijing. The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor. By then, the state budget was insufficient, so this was the last large-scale renovation of the temple complex in imperial times.

Temple of Heaven.jpegDuring the Second Opium War, the temple was occupied by the Anglo-French Alliance. And later, during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, the Eight Nation Alliance occupied the temple complex and turned it into the force's temporary command in Beijing, which lasted for one year. The occupation desecrated the temple and resulted in serious damage to the building complex and the garden. With the downfall of the Qing Dynasty, the temple was left un-managed. The neglect of the temple complex led to the collapse of several halls in the following years. In 1918, the temple opened to the public as a park in Beijing.

The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and was described as "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations."

What to see in Temple of Heaven
1.Circular Mound Altar
Circular Mound Altar.jpgThe Circular Mound Altar is located to the south of the Imperial Vault of Heaven. It is an open three-layered circular stone altar. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911), 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. Founded in the 9th year of Emperor Jiajing (1530) of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), it is the very heart of the Temple of Heaven and thus it is also known as the Terrace of Worshipping Heaven.

2.Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests
The Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests is located in the northern part of the Temple of Heaven Park, where in ancient times the emperors held worship ceremonies to pray for good weather and abundant harvests. Built in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests is the earliest building complex of the Temple of Heaven. It consists of two main buildings, namely the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Imperial Hall of Heaven; and several subsidiary buildings including the Long Corridor, the Dressing Terrace, the Danbi Bridge, the Divine Kitchen, the Butcher Pavilion, the Seven Star Stone.

3.Palace of Abstinence

Hall of Abstinence.jpgThe Palace of Abstinence lies to the northwest of the Circular Mound Altar and next to the west gate of the Park of the Temple of Heaven. It was a place for the emperor to abstain from food before the Worshipping Heaven Ceremony started. It has several distinctive buildings, such as the Beamless Hall, the Rest Palace, and the Belfry. The articles in the buildings such as the throne, the screens and even Qianlong’s ink brushes, are all original and therefore very precious.


Information
How to get there
1.Bus Route:
Take bus No. 120, 122, 36, 525, 53, 958, Te 11, Te 3, Te 12, Yuntong 102, and get off at Tiantan Nanmen (South Gate) Station.
Take bus NO.120, 17, 2, 35, 36, 504, 53, 622, 69, 71, 72, 93, Te 11, and get off at Tiantan Ximen (West Gate) Station.
Take bus NO.106, 110, 34, 35, 36, 6, 72, and get off at Tiantan Beimen (North Gate) Station.

2.Subway Route:
Subway Line 5: get off at Tiantan Dongmen Station, Leave from Exit A and you'll find the East Gate of the Park. 

Admission Fee
1. Entrance Fee:CNY 10(Nov.1-Mar.31 (next year)); CNY 15(Apr.1-Oct.31).
2.Combination Ticket:CNY 30(Nov.1-Mar.31 (next year));CNY 35(Apr.1-Oct.31). (including the entrance fee, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Circular Mound Altar & Echo Wall)

Opening Hours
1. North, East, South and West Gates are open from 06:30 to 22:00.Combination Ticket is unavailable after 15:30 at the four gates.(Nov.1-Mar.31 (next year)); CNY 15(Apr.1-Oct.31)
2.North, East, South and West Gates are open from 06:00 to 22:00.The main attractions are open from 08:00 to17:30. Combination Ticket is unavailable after 16:00 at the four gates.(Apr.1-Oct.31)

Time for Visit: 1.5 hours

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