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Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven is the largest group of structures in this world for rituals to pay homage to heaven. This was where 22 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties had presided over major ceremonies to pray to heaven for bumper harvests. The Temple of Heaven is a crystallization of the philosophy, politics, astronomy, music, architecture, and technology of ancient China.

The Temple of Heaven is situated to the southeast of the Former Imperial Palace, and forms an architectural system with its own axial line. The southern tip of the complex assumes the form of a square wall enclosure, while the surrounding wall on the northern tip is semi-circular to symbolize the ancient Chinese belief that heaven is round and earth square. The Round Altar, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, the Hall of Prayer for
Good Harvest are the three major structures on the complex's axial line and the core of the entire complex.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, where the emperors sacrificed animals and burned incense sticks to pray for good weather for the crops, is an immortal example of Chinese carpentry, and for this reason has become an emblem of Beijing. The compound of the Temple of Heaven is a world of imposing-looking ancient cypress trees. In 1918 the place was converted into a public park.

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