Temple of Heaven & the Prayer Altars

This section features the Temple of Heaven, the Earth Altar, the Moon Altar, the Sun Altar and the Altar of Agriculture.The stunning prayer complex at the Temple of Heaven is one of Beijing’s most unbeatable sights, and it is actually part of a larger five altar system that is precisely organized around the Forbidden City. The Temple of Heaven is actually called the Altar of Heaven (Tiantan) in Chinese and rests on the southern compass point. It is contrasted in the north by the Earth Altar (Ditan). With similar feng shui principles as those governing the Forbidden City, Tiantan’s southern location puts it in prime position to receive positive yang energy from the sun (and heaven). Similarly, Ditan in the north assumes the nagative yin energy associated with the Earth. To the east and west sit the Sun Altar (Ritan) and the Moon Altar, respectively, while the southwest holds the Altar of Agriculture (Xiannongtan). None of the other altars compare to the Temple of Heaven, but they are set in lovely parks and their history of imperial sacrificial ceremonies makes them worth a trip if you have the time.

 

Surrounding Attractions

 

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