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Temple of Heaven

Behind the high walls of this peaceful complex lie some of the most impressive temples in Beijing, where human sacrifices were once held to appease ancient gods.

In the south-eastern Dongcheng District of Beijing, nestled behind high walls, sits a complex of religious buildings known as the Temple of Heaven. Originally built as a ceremonial centre for dynastic emperors during the 1400s, this huge site has been open to the public since 1918 and is now a favourite tourist attraction and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bigger and more popular than the Forbidden City, local musicians, dancers and other street performers gather here to practise their arts and hobbies in front of throngs of visitors. Sheltered from the busy Beijing streets, the Temple of Heaven is a welcome retreat from city life, and the impressive buildings are full of symbolic meaning.

The southern section of the complex is square, symbolising the Earth, while the northern part is semi-circular, representing heaven. The buildings themselves are excellent examples of classic Chinese imperial architecture and are replete with designs and decoration that give a fascinating insight into the practices of ancient Chinese religion and philosophy.

There is a traditional ceremonial route that many visitors follow which takes you past all the major structures, but make sure to wear comfortable shoes because it's quite a walk! The route starts out at the Zhaoheng Gate in the south of the complex and follows the main stone pathway around to the tiered Circular Mound Altar, where sacrifices were made by past emperors hoping for a good harvest. Keep an eye out for the antique philosophical symbols incorporated into the temple's design.

Another interesting feature to note is the way the architecture of the altar is centred around the number nine, an important number in ancient Eastern culture. Next, you’ll come to the Vault of Heaven Pavilion, a round imperial building with incredible acoustics and an ornate ceiling with a large golden dragon at its centre.

The Temple of Heaven is in the Dongcheng District. Take the subway to Tiantandongmen Station or jump in a taxi. There are extra charges for various areas of the park and there are audio guides for rent in many languages, including English.


Guide to Exploring Temple of Heaven


Map

Top Temple of Heaven Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 1,301 properties near Temple of Heaven
New World Beijing Hotel AU$177
New World Beijing Hotel

New World Beijing Hotel

No. 8 Qinian Street, Chongwenmen, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Beijing Shengmi E'er Catholic Church, Beijing Qianmen Street and Beijing New World Shopping Mall. Soshow and Tiananmen Square are also within 1 mi (2 km). Chongwenmen Station is 11 minutes by foot and Ciqikou Station is 13 minutes.

    Beijing Tiantan Xingcheng Hotel
    Beijing Tiantan Xingcheng Hotel

    Beijing Tiantan Xingcheng Hotel

    No. 89 TianTan Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Hongqiao Market and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 3 miles (5 km). Tiantandongmen Station is 9 minutes by foot and Ciqikou Station is 11 minutes.

      Jiusu Home- Chinese themed
      Jiusu Home- Chinese themed

      Jiusu Home- Chinese themed

      Bldg 16, Jinyuchi W, Jinyuchi Middle St, Dongcheng District, Beijing
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Beijing, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Beijing Qianmen Street and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 2 miles (3 km). Ciqikou Station is 8 minutes by foot and Tiantandongmen Station is 15 minutes.

        Communications Hotel Beijing
        Communications Hotel Beijing

        Communications Hotel Beijing

        Yunan Street 35, Tiyuguan West Road,, Chongwen District, Beijing, Beijing
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Hongqiao Market and within 3 miles (5 km) of Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square. Temple of Heaven is 1.5 mi (2.5 km) away. Tiantandongmen Station is 10 minutes by foot and Puhuangyu Station is 23 minutes.

          ibis Beijing Tiantandongmen Metro Station Hotel AU$50
          ibis Beijing Tiantandongmen Metro Station Hotel

          ibis Beijing Tiantandongmen Metro Station Hotel

          No. 66 Tiantan East Road, Dongcheng, District, Beijing, Beijing
             
            1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Hongqiao Market and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) away. Tiantandongmen Station is 11 minutes by foot and Ciqikou Station is 27 minutes.

            Hooray Yangqiao Beijing
            Hooray Yangqiao Beijing

            Hooray Yangqiao Beijing

            No.88, Majiapu Dongli, fengtai district, Beijing
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Oriental Plaza, Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square. Forbidden City and Tiananmen are also within 2 miles (3 km). Wangfujing Station is 6 minutes by foot and Chongwenmen Station is 10 minutes.

              Manxin Beijing Temple of Heaven
              Manxin Beijing Temple of Heaven

              Manxin Beijing Temple of Heaven

              38 Xixiaoshi St, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Beijing New World Shopping Mall and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 3 miles (5 km). Ciqikou Station is 6 minutes by foot and Tiantandongmen Station is 17 minutes.

                Beijing Shindom Inn Temple of Heaven
                Beijing Shindom Inn Temple of Heaven

                Beijing Shindom Inn Temple of Heaven

                BEIJING DONG CHENG DISTRICT TI YU GUAN, LU NO 25,, Beijing, PEK
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Hongqiao Market and Temple of Heaven. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 3 miles (5 km). Tiantandongmen Station is 14 minutes by foot and Ciqikou Station is 20 minutes.