Altar of Agriculture

Chinese name
先农坛 (Xiānnóngtán)
Admission
FREE
Address
21 Dongjing Lu, Xicheng District (西城区东经路21号)
Transport
Walk 5 minutes east from the Temple of Heaven’s south gate.

The corresponding east and west compass points are marked with the Sun Altar, (Ritan), and the Moon Altar (Yuetan). All four altars, Ditan, Ritan, Yuetan, and the Circular Mound Altar at Tiantan were built conjunctively in the 16th century. Witness to sacrificial rituals on specific intervals throughout the year, their correlation to each other is a further testament to the fundamental importance of cosmology and geomancy in the historical psyche of the Chinese. Like Ditan, Yuetan and Ritan are gracefully located in their own relaxing parks.

Due west of the Temple of Heaven and southwest of the Forbidden City, the Altar of Agriculture was used to appease the gods for good harvest. The altar proper shares the park with Jufu Hall, which was included in the 1998 and 2000 World Monuments Watch to discourage its imminent collapse. The inclusion successfully encouraged a large restoration project, and the site is now protected by the national government.

 

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