From Any Angle

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.

Circular Altar in front of Temple of Heaven

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.

park in Temple of Heaven

Today it’s a huge park, where Beijing locals spend their weekends, knitting, walking, tai-ji-chuan, water calligraphy, drinking tea and picnicing.

Dragon detail carved on stairs leading to Temple of Heaven

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.

Crowds beneath the circular rooved Altar in Tian Tan.
Temple of Heaven – roof detail
Peering into the Atlar, intricate engraving inside the emperors worshipping temple at Tian Tan
Dragon detail in centre of ceiling in Temple of Heaven

Built in the Ming dynasty, no photo collage of Tian Tang, Heaven’s Altar, would be complete without the beautiful double-ringed pagoda.

Double ringed pagoda in Temple of Heaven grounds
The glorious Double-Ringed Pagoda in the Temple of Heaven complex, symbolising the matrimonial bliss of the emperor and his empress.

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