temple of heaven

  

The circular structure of this religious Taoist temple is one of Beijing symbol. The Temple of Heaven was built during the Ming dynasty and was visited by the emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties twice a year: they prayed for the good harvest, for the expiation of the people's sins, for the divine protection. The temple is surrounded by 267 hectares of park closed inside circular walls; four main doors permit the entrance corresponding to the four cardinal points. The northern part of the walls are semi-circular while the southern part is square reflecting the ancient thought that the heaven was round and the earth was square. Walking from north to south you can see the Hall of Praying for Good Harvests, where in spring the emperor prayed for bumper crops; the Imperial Vault of Heaven surrounded by the Echo Wall; the Circular Mound where ceremonies took place during winter solstice to worship heaven. The Echo Wall takes name from the fact that its perfectly circular structure is a reflecting body for sound waves.



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