Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven, is a medieval complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It has been regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, predates Taoism.


The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. Jiajing also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of Sun in the east, the Temple of Earth in the north, and the Temple of Moon in the west. The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor. By then, the state budget was insufficient, so this was the last large-scale renovation of the temple complex in imperial times.

The temple was occupied by the Anglo-French Alliance during the Second Opium War. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight Nation Alliance occupied the temple complex and turned it into the force's temporary command in Beijing, which lasted for one year. The occupation desecrated the temple and resulted in serious damage to the building complex and the garden. Robberies of temple artifacts by the Alliance were also reported. With the downfall of the Qing, the temple complex was left un-managed. The neglect of the temple complex led to the collapse of several halls in the following years.

In 1914, Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to have himself declared Emperor of China. In 1918 the temple was turned into a park and for the first time open to the public.

The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and was described as "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations..." as the "symbolic layout and design of the Temple of Heaven had a profound influence on architecture and planning in the Far East over many centuries."

  • Temple of Heaven
  • 天坛西三座门
  • Temple of Heaven
  • China
  • temple of the Heaven
  • temple of the Heaven
  • 北京・天壇公園~はるか昔神様がこれに乗って空から降りてきた。とされる隕石~
  • Temple of Heaven
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  • Temple of Heaven. 天壇
  • 祈年殿甬道 (the way to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests)
  • Altar of Heaven(天壇) (Dec 28, 2008)
  • Temple of Heaven. Beijing
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  • Templo del Cielo / 天坛 (TianTan) - (Chongwen District, Beijing, Zhongguo)
  • Temple of Heaven. Gate to Hall of Prayer
  • Beijing - Temple of Heaven - Richly decorated corniches
  • 北京天坛公园 摄影:刘福平
  • Beijing: Tian Tan
  • 天壇公園皇乾殿 Hall of Imperial Zenith, Temple of Heaven, Beijing
  • Temple of Heaven: Hall of Heavenly Prayers from outside west gate


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    The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Temple of Heaven

    The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is a magnificent triple-gabled circular building, 36 meters in diameter and 38 meters tall, built on three levels of marble stone base, where the Emperor prayed for good harvests