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The Qufu Temple of Confucius (Kong Miao), located in the heart of Qufu city, is the oldest and largest temple of its kind within China. Along with the Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion, the temple forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site collectively known as San Kong (meaning ‘The Three Confucian Sites’).
Built in 479 BC, shortly after Confucius’ death, the temple features an impressive 466 halls, pavilions, and other rooms that are surprisingly still intact. Over the years, alterations and expansions on the temple building have transformed it into a sprawling complex with nine rows of courtyards leading up to a statue of Confucius before the temple entrance.
The Great Accomplishment Hall forms the main basis of the building, which features another statue of Confucius and a stone inscription of the Ming Dynasty, with various images depicting the story of Confucius.
The Cemetery of Confucius (Kong Lin) contains the tomb erected in memory of Confucius, along with the remains of more than 100,000 of his descendants. Situated just north of the sage’s birthplace of Qufu in Shandong Province, the cemetery sits around two kilometers from the Confucius Temple and the Kong Family Mansion, which together make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The oldest graves at the cemetery date back to the Zhou Dynasty. Confucius’ tomb has gone through a few changes over the years, with the present-day tomb being in the form of a cone-shaped hill.
Located in Qufu city, the Kong Family Mansion (Kong Fu) was the residence of the descendants of Confucius. Situated just to the east of the Confucius Temple, the Kong Family Mansion was the aristocratic home from where the family tended to the Confucian sites in Qufu. It was the largest residence of its kind in Chinese history.
Today, the mansion is a museum and, along with the Confucius Temple and the Cemetery of Confucius, makes up a UNESCO World Heritage Site collectively known as San Kong (meaning ‘The Three Confucian Sites’). The Confucius family mansion is set out in the traditional Chinese way, with the official rooms at the front and residential lodgings at the back. Visitors go to marvel at the grandiose exterior and elaborate interior of the mansion and to see the cultural relics still preserved there, including a number of scrolls and paintings.