Temple of Heaven (Tian tan)
A Ming temple, Temple of Heaven or Tian tan was built by the Yongle Emperor, who also built the Forbidden City, as a stage for the important rituals performed by the emperor, or Son of Heaven. Chief among these were the supplication to the heavens for a good harvest and the Winter Solstice ceremony, which was supposed to ensure a favorable year for the entire kingdom.
In those days it was believed that heaven was round and earth was square, so the architecture of the buildings (round, set on square bases) and the layout of the park (squared off at the Temple of the Earth end, rounded at the Temple of Heaven end) reflect this belief.
The buildings are rich in symbolic detail - variations on the number nine, which represented the emperor; coloured glazes which represent heaven and earth; and pillars which represent the months of the year, the seasons and time. There are also echo stones where you can stand to hear your voice reverberate, and a circular echo wall which carries your whisper to the far side of the circle.
The park is a popular place for morning tai-chi.
You can reach the Temple of Heaven on buses 39, 106, 110, or by underground rail - get off at Chongwnemen, Qianmen or Tiantandongmen.
Tours & Tickets
Beijing Classic Full-Day Tour including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven
See all the classic Beijing sights on a full-day sightseeing tour covering Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven. Along ... Read more
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)
Experience the splendors of China over 11 fantastic days! Highlights include the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ... Read more
Duration: 11 days, 10 nights
Spend three full days discovering northern China’s ancient and modern history on a classic, private tour to Xi’an and Beijing from Guangzhou. View the ... Read more
Duration: 3 days (approx.)
Hit all of Beijing's must-see sights and experience its culture – including two UNESCO World Heritage sites and a Peking duck dinner – on this two-day private ... Read more
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Get to know Beijing and its amazing history by visiting three of the city's most impressive historic attractions: Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and ... Read more
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)
On this dynamic private tour of Beijing, discover world-famous monuments and experience local customs with your friendly local guide. Visit culturally ... Read more
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)
This private tour of Beijing will be filled with a variety of activities that lets you see and experience the best of the city in a single day. With your own ... Read more
Duration: 6-7 hours