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Temple of Heaven

Introducing Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. It was the place where the Emperors would worship Heaven and pray for bumper crops. Considered to be the supreme achievement of traditional Chinese architecture, its layout symbolizes the belief that heaven is round and earth square. 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 the Chinese civilizations.

Temple of Heaven Fast Facts
• Chinese Name: Tian Tan 天坛
• Best Time to Visit: Apr, May, Jun, Sept, and Oct
• Recommended Visiting Hours: About 2 hours
• Opening Hours
  Apr 1 to Oct 31: 8:30-17:30 (last entry at 16:30)
  Nov 1 to Mar 31: 8:00-17:00 (last entry at 16:00)
• Entrance Fee
  Apr 1 to Oct 31: CNY35
  Nov 1 to Mar 31: CNY20
• Address: Tiantan East Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing

What to expect at Temple of Heaven

Built first in 1420 (the 18th year of Emperor Yongle’s reign of the Ming Dynasty), and then expanded and reconstructed during the Ming Emperor Jiajing’s reign and Qing Emperor Qianlong’s reign, the Temple of Heaven is a grand and magnificent masterpiece of architecture with a formal and solemn environment.

The northern part of the outer surrounding wall is semi-circular in shape while the southern part square, a pattern symbolic of the ancient belief that Heaven was round and the earth square. The double surrounding wall separates the temple into two parts—the inner and outer temples with the main structures in the inner one, covering a space of 273 hectares in all.

The inner temple is also partitioned by a wall into two groups of buildings. The north structure is the Altar of Praying for Bumper Crops with the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests as the principal building used to pray in spring for a bumper harvest in the year. The south structure is the Circular Mound Altar used to worship Heaven at the winter solstice where the principal construction is a large round marble terrace named the Circular Mound.

The two altars, connected by a 360-metre-long raised walk called the Red Step Bridge, are arranged in a line forming a north-south axis 1,200 meters long, and flanked by century-old cypresses in a spacious area.

To the inner south of the West Celestial Gate is the Abstinence Hall where the feudal emperors observed abstention before the rituals. In the western part of the outer temple is located the Divine Music Office, which was in charge of the teaching and performance of the ritual music. In the Temple of Heaven are situated such main buildings as the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Hall of Heavenly Emperor, the Circular Mound, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, the Abstinence Hall, the Beamless Hall, the Long Corridor, the Longevity Pavilion in a double ring shape as well as the Echo Wall, the Three Echo Stones, and the Seven Meteoric Stones.

How to get to Temple of Heaven

By Metro
• Take Metro Line 5 to Tiantan Dongmen Station (Exit A) and enter the park through the East Gate.
• Take Metro Line 8 to Tianqiao Station (Exit C) and enter the park through the West Gate.

By Bus
• To East Gate: Take Bus No. 6, 34, 35, 36, 39, 41, 43, 60, 72, 116, 128, 525, 599, or 684, and get off at Fafasi Station; Or take bus No. 54, 957, or 958, and get off at Tiantan Tiyuguan Station.
• To South Gate: Take bus No. 36, 53, 122, 525, 958, Te 3, Te 11 or Te 12, and get off at Tiantan Nanmen Station.
• To West Gate: Take bus No. 2, 20, 36, 53, 71, 72, 93, 120, 622, Brt 1 or Te 11, and get off at Tiantan Ximen Station.
• To North Gate: Take bus No. 6, 34, 35, 36, 72, 106, or 110, and get off at Tiantan Beimen Station.

Additional travel advice on Temple of Heaven
• Through Ticket is for 3 attractions: the Hall of Prayers for Good Harvests, the Echo Wall and the Circular Mound Altar.

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