Temple of Heaven Beijing
The Temple of Heaven was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped heaven and prayed for good harvests. They came here twice a year, on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month and on Winter Solstice. At first, both heaven and earth were worshipped here. Following the construction of the Temple of Earth in 1530 in the north of Beijing, only heaven was worshipped in this temple. The temple is considered a Taoist temple, although Chinese heaven worship predates Taoism.
Located in southern Beijing, it was first constructed in 1420, during the 18th year of the reign of Ming Emperor Yongle, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City. During the reigns of Ming Emperor Jiajing and Qing Emperor Qianlong, it was extended and renovated. Covering an area of 273 hectares, it is the largest architectural complex in the world for rituals to pay homage to heaven. In 1918, it was turned into a park. In 1998, it was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Temple of Heaven is round in the north and square in the south, implying the traditional Chinese belief that there is a “round heaven and square earth”. Two layers of surrounding walls divide the temple into the Inner Altar and the Outer Altar. The two altars, connected by a 360-metre-long raised walk called the Vermilion Steps Bridge, are arranged in a line forming a north-south axis 1,200 meters long .