The Temple of Heaven

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The Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven in BeijingThe emperors may have lived in the palace in the Forbidden City but the Temple of Heaven was the place they came to give thanks to the gods of heaven or to plead with them for better weather.

The Temple is set within a large park with several other buildings dotted around it. To get there from the parking at the east gate, we walked about 300 metres along a covered walk way, passing locals playing cards and Chinese chess.

These games seem to be played enthusiastically with people standing around almost shouting advice and slapping the card or counter with a loud crack on their go!

We also passed a small crowd of people who were singing unaccompanied except for the help of an accordion. I am not sure what they were singing about but the impression was one of revolution suggesting an historic cultural revolution song.

The Temple of Heaven is a grand building. Circular with three levels if roof and a golden ball at the top to ensure the emperor’s prayers reach heaven it was also built at the beginning of the Ming dynasty. It is set within a square wall emphasising the difference between heaven (the circle) and earth (the square).

The temple was not as busy as the Forbidden City and it was a pleasant walk around to see what was what. I could probably have spent longer looking at the other buildings in the complex but the heat was clearly taking its toll on the children, so after a few more requests from Chinese tourists to have their photos taken with the children, we headed back to the car and the waiting hotel.