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"Temple of Heaven" Temple of Heaven Tip by Avieira67

Temple of Heaven, Beijing: 229 reviews and 504 photos


The Temple of Heaven [TIAN TAN] was established in 1420 during the reign of Ming Emperor Yongle [1403-1424].
The architecture and layout of the temple of Heaven is based on elaborate symbolism and numerology. The buildings in the Temple of Heaven are round, like the sky, while the foundations and axes of the complex are rectilinear, like the earth.
Three principle structures lie along the primary north-south axis of Tiantan. At the southern end sits the Altar of Heaven, an empty three-tiered plinth that rises from a square yard. Constructed in 1530 and rebuilt in 1740, it is built of white marble. The number of stones in the various tiers are all multiples of three--a prevailing numerological theme at Tiantan.
Next along the axis is the Echo Wall and the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The Triple Echo Stones in the courtyard return various numbers of echos depending on the stone one stands on. The Imperial Vault of Heaven, which sits in the center of the plaza, is a round building that once contained memorial tablets of the Emperor's ancestors.
At the north end of the compound is the hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, an impressive three-tiered wooden structure that sits on a tri-level marble plinth. It was constructed in 1420 but burned in 1889. The hollow interior is magnificently decorated and contains a large ceremonial throne facing south.

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  • Updated Jul 7, 2015
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