UNESCO Hunt #13 : The Temple of Heaven


UNESCO Site #881 says:

“The Temple of Heaven, founded in the first half of the 15th century, is a dignified complex of fine cult buildings set in gardens and surrounded by historic pine woods. In its overall layout and that of its individual buildings, it symbolizes the relationship between earth and heaven – the human world and God’s world – which stands at the heart of Chinese cosmogony, and also the special role played by the emperors within that relationship.”

Feeling Heavenly.

The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420 during the Emperor Ju Di or Ming Dynasty. Prayers for good harvest days would be held here at the temple especially after the agriculture disaster that struck China. The first prayer was held during winter solstice and on the 10th day of the first Lunar year. If the drought still persists, he will hold another prayer for the third time then as the country relied on the crops for economic purposes.

Our guide Lily told us that so far 22 Emperors had offered prayers at the Temple of Heaven except for the Emperor who ruled for a short period of time and the Emperor who was still a child at the time. The Emperors must fast for 3 days before the praying ceremony takes place and this includes being pure from alcohol and the company of his concubines.

The Temple of Heaven in Tiantan Park.

The Temple of Heaven in Tiantan Park.


Temple of Heaven now.

In its very large compound lies a park known as Tiantan Park or Temple of Heaven Park, where people are seen playing sports and exercising. Although the prayers are no longer held here, the Temple of Heaven is an iconic landmark known by the people in China. Walking around the area gave me a sense of peacefulness and serenity and I imagined that it gives the same feeling for the locals, who chose this place away from the busy urban landscape.

Walking around the Temple of Heaven Park to see the view of area.

Walking around the Temple of Heaven Park to see the view of area.



Opening Hours: 6am-8pm daily (Park), 8am-5pm (historical buildings) | Entrance Tickets: RMB15 (Apr-Nov)/RMB10 (Dec-Mar) for the park; RMB35 (Apr-Nov)/RMB 30 (Dec-Mar) for both park and historical building | How to go: Take Subway Line 5 to Tiantan Dongmen Station and take Exit A or take the public buses num 6, 35, 36.

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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