Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

Built in the early 15th century, the Temple of Heaven is a complex of magnificent religious buildings in the heart of Beijing, set in the 267 hectares of the Temple of Heaven Park. The temple perfectly displays the unity of Confucian design, the layout of the buildings placed to symbolise the relationship between earth and heaven and the complex as a whole to promote balance and harmony.

Technically an alter rather than a temple, the site was used by the Ming and Qing dynasties for biannual ceremonies where the emperor, as ‘Son of Heaven’, would pray for a good harvest at the beautiful Hall of Prayer. Surrounding the temple are extensive grounds dotted with groves of old trees, gardens and walkways, which are used by local people to gather and practice Tai Chi, play chess or socialise. The Temple of Heaven was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.   

Popular Tours Visiting Temple of Heaven

holiday duration 14 Days from
holiday price 2,245pp

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.

holiday duration 10 Days from
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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.

holiday duration 16 Days from
holiday price 2,945pp

China is a land of many wonders – ancient and modern, natural and man-made. This hugely popular tour is a comprehensive journey through China’s most iconic sights from the magnificent Great Wall to the mighty Yangtze River.

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Temple of Heaven Map

Eight Facts About The
Temple of Heaven

The harvest ceremony performed by the emperor had to be perfect as it was believed the smallest mistake could constitute a bad omen for the year to come

The location of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest was determined by Fengshui masters as the point where heaven and earth meet

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is 38 metres tall and built with the use of nails

The wall surrounding the Imperial Vault of Heaven is a ‘Whispering Wall’ – whispers will carry from one end of the wall to the other

Even the shapes of the buildings are significant here – circular buildings signify heaven and square signify earth

The numbers 3 and 9 recur throughout the design – both are considered important or ‘lucky’

The temple was occupied by the Anglo-French army during the Second Opium War

When the emperor and his entourage processed to the Temple of Heaven and carried out the ceremonies for a good harvest, no ordinary people were allowed to watch

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