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Temple Of Heaven

Beijing, China

 The Temple of Heaven is located in southern Beijing.It was first constructed in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Ming emperor Yongle,and was extended and renovated during the reigns of Ming emperor Jiajing and Qing emperor Qianlong.It was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest. Covering an area of 273 hectares,it is the largest architectural complex in the world for rituals to pay homage to heaven. 
    In 1918,The Temple of Heaven was turn into a park,it attracted masses of visitors from home and abroad by the grand scales,unique buildings and profound connotation of historic culture of offering sacrifices to Heaven.After New China was founded in 1949,the central government invested large amounts of capital in the protection and maintenance of the historical and cultural sites inside the temple.In 1998, the Temple of Heaven was inscribed on the World Heritage List by the UNESCO. With profound cultural connotations and imposing architectural styles,the Temple of Heaven is considered a reflection of the ancient civilization of the Orient. 
    The spacious Temple of Heaven is well-afforested.When going into the Temple,a feeling of solemnity, respectfulness,holiness and quietness will well up in the mind. When looking at the beautiful sacrificial altars,one will feel the his soul is purified and his thoughts sublimed. 
    The five architecture groups in the Temple are given respective features,while the magnificent Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is the major symbol.The temple is divided by two enclosed walls into inner altar and outer altar. To better symbolize heaven and earth, the northern part of the temple is circular while the southern part is square, which reflect the ancient Chinese belief that Heaven is round and Earth is square. 
    Located in the northern part of the temple is the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests, where the emperors sacrificed animals and burned incense sticks to pray for good weather for the crops; while in the southern part is the Circular Mound Altar where emperors held ceremonies for worshipping the Heaven. Two principle clusters of worshipping buildings are connected by the Red Stairway Bridge. Additionally, in the temple are the Hall of Abstinence where emperors held fasts before the ceremony and the Divine Music Hall, an imperial organization in charge of performing during the ceremonies.The Temple of Heaven is a cultural museum of offering sacrifices to Heaven,which merges architecture,aesthetics,acoustics,astronomy,calendar,music and dancing into an integral whole.It is an important window through which we can learn the history of China.

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