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Travel Experience to Temple of Heaven Park

The Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven China tour deals is a complex of Taoist buildings situated in southeastern urban Beijing, in Xuanwu District. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It is regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese Heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, pre-dates Taoism

A world-class artistic treasure, Beijing's Temple of Heaven has many stories behind its architectural charm. Built by Emperor ChengZu in 1420, the Temple of Heaven was used as a place of worship by a succession of emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). The plain round altar called Huanqiu Hill, was rebuilt in 1752 during the reign of Qing Emperor Gaozong. The Qiniandian or Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests was rebuilt in 1890 under Emperor Dezong.

The Temple of Heaven is a must visit in Beijing. It is much bigger than the Forbidden City and smaller than the Summer Palace with an area of about 2,700,000 square meters. The Temple was built in 1420 A.D. during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to Heaven. As Chinese emperors called themselves "The Son of Heaven", they dared not to build their own dwelling, "Forbidden City", bigger than a dwelling for Heaven China best tours.

The Temple of Heaven is enclosed with a long wall. The northern part within the wall is semicircular symbolizing the heavens and the southern part is square symbolizing the earth. The northern part is higher than the southern part. This design shows that the heaven is high and the earth is low and the design reflected an ancient Chinese thought of "The heaven is round and the earth is square".

The Temple is divided by two enclosed walls into inner part and outer part. The main buildings of the Temple lie at the south and north ends of the middle axis line of the inner part. The most magnificent buildings are the Circular Mound Altar (Yuanqiutan), Imperial Vault of Heaven (Huangqiongyu) and Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest (Qiniandian) from south to north. Additional buildings include Triple-Sounds Stones and Echo Wall. Almost all of the buildings are connected by a wide bridge called the Vermilion Steps Bridge (Danbiqiao), or the Sacred Way (shen2dao4).

The 5m-high Circular Altar is composed of white marble arrayed in three tiers. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 A.D. - 1911 A.D.), the emperors would offer sacrifice to Heaven on the day of the Winter Solstice every year. This ceremony was to thank Heaven China travel guide and hope everything would be auspicious in the future. The altar's geometry revolves around the imperial number nine. Odd numbers were considered heavenly, and nine is the largest single-digit odd number. The top tier, thought to symbolize heaven, has nine rings of stones, each ring composed of multiples of nine stones, so that the ninth ring has 81 stones. The middle tier- earth- has the 10th to 18th rings. The bottom tier -man- has the 19th to 27th rings, ending with a total of 243 stones in the largest ring, or 27 times nine. The number of stairs and balustrades are also multiples of nine.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is a big palace with a round roof and three layers of eaves. Inside the Hall are 28 huge posts. The four posts along the inner circle represent the four seasons; the 12 posts along the middle circle represent the 12 months; and 12 posts along the outer circle represent 12 Shichen (Shichen is a means of counting time in ancient China. One Shichen in the past equaled two hours and a whole day was divided into 12 Shichen). The roof is covered with black, yellow and green colored glaze representing the heavens, the earth and everything on earth. The Hall has a base named Altar for Grain Prayers which is made of three layers of white marble with a height of six meters.

The Temple of Heaven is enclosed by two walls and stretches 1,700 m from east to west and 1,600 m from north to south. There are square corners in the southern side and round corners in the northern side, symbolizing the roundness of heaven. East of the front (west) gate, within the inner wall there is a zhaigong (fasting-palace) in the south for the emperor to fast and bathe before worship. Further east is a north-south vertical axis formed by the main buildings. Huanqiu is in the south with a three-layered stone terrace. Within the Beiyuan courtyard of Huanqiu is a round hall - the imperial vault where the spirit tablet of the heavenly god lies. Further north is the Qiniandian Hall accessed by Danbi Bridge.

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