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Temple of Heaven

Behind a high wall stands an ancient building once used in sacrifices. This huge historical place of worship is a quiet oasis in busy Beijing.

Temple of Heaven is bigger than the Forbidden City. It was originally constructed as a ceremonial space for emperors during the 15th century, but has been open to the public since 1918. Nowadays, the site is a gathering point for local musicians, dancers and other performers who practice their martial arts and hobbies here.

Hidden behind high walls, the Temple of Heaven park offers a welcome respite from the hectic city streets of Beijing. The northern section is semi-circular, representing heaven. The square southern part symbolizes Earth.

Explore the halls, pavilions and gardens filled with interesting architecture. You’ll get insight into the practices of ancient Chinese philosophy, history and religion.

Be prepared for a lot of walking if you set out to follow the traditional ceremonial route. Start at the Zhaoheng Gate in the south and follow the main stone pathway. You’ll soon reach the tiered Circular Mound Altar, where emperors would offer sacrifices in the hope of getting a good harvest. Ancient philosophical symbols are incorporated in the design of the temple.

Notice how the altar’s architecture is built around the number nine, a significant number in ancient Eastern culture. Count out how each terrace is constructed with stones grouped in multiples of nine.

A short distance ahead, you’ll find the round Imperial Vault of Heaven Pavilion. Inside, glance upwards at its ornate ceiling with a colorful design centered on a large gilded dragon. If you have a travel companion, try out the Echo Wall surrounding the pavilion: The acoustics of this space means that your whisper will be heard all the way at the other end.

Temple of Heaven is located in the Dongcheng District. To get there, take the subway to Tiantandongmen Station. Exit A leads to the East Gate entrance of the temple. There are additional fees to visit the various sections of the park. Electronic guides in English are available for rent.


Guide to Exploring around Temple of Heaven


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Beijing Tiantan Xingcheng Hotel
Beijing Tiantan Xingcheng Hotel

Beijing Tiantan Xingcheng Hotel

No. 89 TianTan Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
     
    2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Hongqiao Market and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 3 mi (5 km). Tiantandongmen Station is 9 minutes by foot and Ciqikou Station is 11 minutes.

    Jiusu Home- Chinese themed
    Jiusu Home- Chinese themed

    Jiusu Home- Chinese themed

    Bldg 16, Jinyuchi W, Jinyuchi Middle St, Dongcheng District, Beijing
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Beijing, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Beijing Qianmen Street and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 2 mi (3 km). Ciqikou Station is 8 minutes by foot and Tiantandongmen Station is 15 minutes.

      ibis Beijing Tiantandongmen Metro Station Hotel $46
      ibis Beijing Tiantandongmen Metro Station Hotel

      ibis Beijing Tiantandongmen Metro Station Hotel

      No. 66 Tiantan East Road, Dongcheng, District, Beijing, Beijing
         
        1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Hongqiao Market and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) away. Tiantandongmen Station is 11 minutes by foot and Ciqikou Station is 27 minutes.

        Manxin Beijing Temple of Heaven
        Manxin Beijing Temple of Heaven

        Manxin Beijing Temple of Heaven

        38 Xixiaoshi St, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Beijing New World Shopping Mall and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 3 mi (5 km). Ciqikou Station is 6 minutes by foot and Tiantandongmen Station is 17 minutes.

          Beijing Shindom Inn Temple of Heaven
          Beijing Shindom Inn Temple of Heaven

          Beijing Shindom Inn Temple of Heaven

          BEIJING DONG CHENG DISTRICT TI YU GUAN, LU NO 25, Beijing, PEK
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Hongqiao Market and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 3 mi (5 km). Tiantandongmen Station is 14 minutes by foot and Ciqikou Station is 20 minutes.

            Jinjiang Inn Beijing Zhushikou $40
            Jinjiang Inn Beijing Zhushikou

            Jinjiang Inn Beijing Zhushikou

            No. 72 Xixiaoshi Street, Dongcheng, District, Beijing, Beijing
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Beijing Qianmen Street and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 2 mi (3 km). Ciqikou Station is 7 minutes by foot and Tiantandongmen Station is 18 minutes.

              Jiu Su Home - 2 Bedroom Studio
              Jiu Su Home - 2 Bedroom Studio

              Jiu Su Home - 2 Bedroom Studio

              Building 10, No. 2 Jinyuchi Middle St, Dongcheng District, Beijing
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown Beijing, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Beijing Qianmen Street and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 2 mi (3 km). Ciqikou Station is 6 minutes by foot and Tiantandongmen Station is 19 minutes.

                Hanting Hotel $31
                Hanting Hotel

                Hanting Hotel

                No. 2 East Street, Yongding Gate,, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
                   
                  1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Hongqiao Market and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street is 2.7 mi (4.4 km) away. Puhuangyu Station is 16 minutes by foot and Tiantandongmen Station is 18 minutes.