Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven is a religious altar complex that was constructed during the Ming Dynasty as a place of prayer for the Emperor of China. The Emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties would come here annually to ask the gods for good harvest and make sacrifices. The Temple of Heaven was built between 1406 and 1420 under the guidance of the Yongle Emperor, who also designed the Forbidden City. The Temple of Heaven is a Taoist temple and in 1998 was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The architecture and layout of the Temple of Heaven is based on elaborate Taoist symbolism. The complex is designed in the shape of a circle. The northern half of the circle is meant to represent the heavens; whereas the southern part represents the earth.

The most iconic building in the Temple of Heaven is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Standing on a three-tiered marble base, this wooden building is circular in construction and was built without the use of a single nail. Other buildings within the Temple of Heaven complex include the smaller, circular Imperial Vault of Heaven.

The temple complex is located in extensive grounds containing gardens, trees and walkways. Here you will see the many groups of local people that gather here every day to sing folk songs, practice Tai-Chi and sword dancing, play chess or just come to sit and chat.

Top tours visiting the Temple of Heaven

14 Days from

Combining the contrasting urban splendour of Shanghai, Beijing and Xian with the majestic sights of the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and extraordinary landscapes of the Li River, this tour showcases China’s most glorious highlights.

10 Days from

The quintessential experience, this introductory tour offers a glimpse of China’s glorious past, fascinating present and bright future with visits to the exceptional and contrasting cities of Xian, Beijing and Shanghai.

23 Days from

China is an intoxicating blend of ancient and modern. From the hidden treasures missed by many to the well-known wonders famous across the world, this extensive tour covers all of China’s very best highlights.

View all Temple of Heaven tours

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At a glance

Time difference: GMT +8 Hours
Flight time: Approx 10 hours
Visa Required: Yes
Currency: Yuan
Tel Code: 010
Official Language: Mandarin
Religion: Buddhism
Airlines:  British Airways, Emirates , Etihad Airways , Air China , Cathay Pacific , Qatar Airways , Finnair , KLM , Air France , Turkish Airlines


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