Temple of Heaven, located in the southeastern part of Beijing and south of the Imperial Museum, was established in 1420. It was used to hold the memorial ceremonies for Heaven by emperors in different dynasties. The total area covers 273 hectares. It is larger than the Forbidden City.
The emperors of ancient China always called themselves the sons of God. They worshipped the universe and the earth, so the ceremony for the universe used to be ranked above other national affairs each year. Therefore, the architecture for ceremony was also very important in the urban constructions, and the emperors always built it with the most advanced technology, the perfect artistic expressions, sufficient manpower, energy, materials and finance. The Temple of Heaven established in the late period of China's feudalistic society is the typical representative of Chinese ceremony architecture. It is the essence and pearl of Chinese ancient architecture and the gem in the world architecture history.
The design of the temple generally emphasizes the expansion and space of the world to show the supremacy of the universe. Inner Temple is located at the east of mid-axes from south to north of outer Temple. Each part of Temple of Heaven releases the particular meaning and the expression measure of symbolization. Each part of Temple of Heaven in south, north, east, and west owns a gate respectively. The main architectures are generally located around the south-end and north-end of the mid-axes of the inner temple. It is better to begin visiting from the south gate.
In fact, to those who take the Temple of Heaven as the outside extension of their own private living, the magnificent buildings of Temple of heaven are indeed a large background of their daily actions. The larger attraction mainly comes from the forest-park of this city. Cypress and pine trees were largely planted during the period of Ming and Qing Dynasties. For many years, at dawn, lots of senior people often gather here from far places. They play shadow boxing, kick shuttlecock and jog along the forest paths. They are more active than the birds. They do not take notice of doctors' suggestions and the carbon dioxide index released by weather forecast.
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