Beijing Temple of Heaven, China

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Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven is the largest historic synagogue of China, located in the south of Beijing and has existed for more than 500 years.

It was the place where every emperor of Ming and Qing Dynasty (1386~1911A.D.) offer sacrifices to Heaven and a place for emperors to worship.

The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420, the same year as the Forbidden City. The Temple of Heaven covers an area of 2,700,000 square meters and has two altars, an altar on the inside and one on the outside.

The north wall of the Temple of Heaven exists in a circular shape while the other three walls are in square shape, together it represents "harmony of Heaven and Earth".

The inner altar is the main building of the Temple of Heaven. The Circular Altar and The Imperial Vault of Heaven stand on the north of the inner altar, while The Hall of Prayer and The Huang Gan Hall facing south. There is a 360 meters long corridor connecting the two together.

The Hall of Prayer is a 38 meters high, colorful, splendid, round hall. The eaves of the hall were built with blue color glazed tiles. Because the sky is blue, so the color blue was used to resemble heaven.

Twenty-eight huge pillars supported the hall, four of which are of 19.2 meters high. In the center of the hall, there is a huge round marble carved with dragons and phoenixes, matching the design of curling dragons on the ceiling.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven is another important building. It was formerly the place for housing the memorial tablets of "God in Heaven", with the height of 19 meters and 15.6 meters wide. Built with bricks and woods like the Hall of Prayer, it is smaller than the Prayer Hall.

It comes with a single eave, lie with blue tiles and gold color ceiling. There are also white marbles railings around the hall. Seeing from a distance, the Imperial Vault of Heaven is like a giant blue umbrella with gold tip.

There is a curving wall surrounding the Imperial Vault of Heaven, which called the Echo Wall. The inner portion of Echo Wall is very smooth and clean, so that sound could be bounced and transmitted. If there are two persons setting a part, one on each end, friend on the other end of the wall can hear your gentle whispers quite clearly. You will surely be interested in trying it and have fun of it.

Another important structure of The Temple of Heaven is The Circular Altar, which is a three levels stone altar. Each level has white marble railing. This Altar presents the design of geometric figure showing the ingenious architectural designs. The number of bricks used, slats on the altar, the steps and the fences are all "nine" or are "multiply of nine", symbolizing "Nine Divisions of Heaven", which is the center of heaven where God lives.

It is because the Temple of Heaven is where emperors worship and offer sacrifices, therefore, the components used in the temple are unique, and each has its own implication. If you look carefully you will understand that the designer was trying to bring out his original thought through this temple. It is to show the harmony between heaven and earth, God and mankind.

Because of its particular design, The Scientific, Educational, and Cultural Organization of United Nation inscribe the Temple of Heaven into the world heritage list. The Temple of Heaven is not only a famous scenic spot but is also well-known as an object to architects and people who show interests in architectural design.

As famous as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven is a "must" to visit for every tourist coming to Beijing.

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Forbidden City
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