Temple of Heaven


The Temple of Heaven, built in 1420, was the place where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshiped the God of Heaven and offered sacrifices to pray for abundant crops and favorable rain. Most of the structures we see today were built in the Qing Dynasty in accordance with the design system established in the Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty. The compound wall was built in a semicircle in the north and a plaza in the south. Surrounded by a double annular wall, the Temple of Heaven is divided into an interior and an exterior part. The total area is 273 hectares. Inside are ancient architectural complexes that include the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Altar of the Circular Mound, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Palace of Abstinence which served as a residence for the emperors during the period of abstinence before the rituals. There are also the Red Staircase Bridge (Danbi Bridge), the Long Corridor, the Seven Star Stones, the Nine Dragon Cypress, etc. The main ancient building on the outside is the Divine Music Administration, where musicians and dancers rehearsed ritual music for the sacrificial ceremony during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The Temple of Heaven is one of the highest level ancient Chinese temples that is still preserved with the best integrity and unique features. In 1961 it was designated as a "Protected Site with State Priority" and in 1998 it was inscribed on the "World Heritage List". In 2007, it was counted among the AAAAA national scenic areas in China and in 2009 among the national scenic areas.

See the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests illuminated by lights

The night view of the Temple of Heaven is also very beautiful. When night falls and the lights come on, the illuminated Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is very charming. The lights are only on on Friday and Saturday nights. And the lighting time varies depending on the time of sunset.

Visit the Altar of the Circular Mound, where emperors made sacrifices to Heaven

The Circular Mound Altar was built in 1530 (the ninth year of the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty). On the day of the solstice of each winter, the Ceremony of Adoration of Heaven was celebrated here at the altar, which is why it was popularly known as the Terrace of Adoration of Heaven. Originally, it was a round terrace covered by dark blue glass slabs. After expansions in 1749 (the 14th year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty), it was transformed into light green stone slabs surrounded by a white marble balustrade. The number of the stone steps, the number of the slabs of each platform and the number of the railings are 9 or the multiple of 9, which symbolize the 9 layers of Heaven and emphasize its supreme position.

Try the cultural and creative ice creams launched by the Temple of Heaven Park

To attract more tourists, many scenic areas in Beijing have launched a variety of cultural and creative products. Special shaped ice creams are one of them. For example, Yuyuantan Park has launched cherry blossom-shaped ice cream, and the Old Summer Palace has launched lotus flower-shaped ice cream, etc.

Temple of Heaven Park has also launched its special ice creams, which are in the form of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a landmark building of Temple of Heaven Park. Once launched, the ice creams have become popular among tourists. Many people like to take photos with ice cream in hand.

Plus, the ice creams are very delicious. Ice creams of different colors have different flavors. The red ones are red fruit flavor, the green ones are pistachio flavor, the brown ones are chocolate flavor, the white ones are vanilla flavor, etc.

Do you also want an ice cream in the shape of the Prayer Hall for Good Harvests? You can buy them at two shops in Temple of Heaven Park: one is near the north gate of the park and the other is near the Echo Wall.