天堂Tian Tang, or Heaven’s Altar, is where the emperors used to pray for good harvests and a good year for the people of China.
Essentially, the Temple of Heaven is a Temple.
As an example of temple architecture, its intriguingly cosmic. The whole complex was designed for the emperor’s prayers during the winter solstice.
The circular design, the repeating pattern of the number 9 on the floor structure of the Altar for Good Harvests and the 28 pillars representing the 28 lunar mansions of Chinese astronomy all set the stage for earth and heaven to merge, with the emperor as the intermediary.
Today it’s a huge park, where Beijing locals spend their weekends, knitting, walking, tai-ji-chuan, water calligraphy, drinking tea and picnicing.
Whether you are walking down the long high road, like the Emperor, towards the Altar, climbing the dragon-lined staircase, or up close and personal peering into the Altar, the Temple of Heaven is majestic, from any angle.
Built in the Ming dynasty, no photo collage of Tian Tang, Heaven’s Altar, would be complete without the beautiful double-ringed pagoda.
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