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Temple of Heaven is bigger than the Forbidden City. It was originally constructed as a ceremonial space for emperors during the 15th century, but has been open to the public since 1918. Nowadays, the site is a gathering point for local musicians, dancers and other performers who practice their martial arts and hobbies here.
Hidden behind high walls, the Temple of Heaven park offers a welcome respite from the hectic city streets of Beijing. The northern section is semi-circular, representing heaven. The square southern part symbolizes Earth.
Explore the halls, pavilions and gardens filled with interesting architecture. You’ll get insight into the practices of ancient Chinese philosophy, history and religion.
Be prepared for a lot of walking if you set out to follow the traditional ceremonial route. Start at the Zhaoheng Gate in the south and follow the main stone pathway. You’ll soon reach the tiered Circular Mound Altar, where emperors would offer sacrifices in the hope of getting a good harvest. Ancient philosophical symbols are incorporated in the design of the temple.
Notice how the altar’s architecture is built around the number nine, a significant number in ancient Eastern culture. Count out how each terrace is constructed with stones grouped in multiples of nine.
A short distance ahead, you’ll find the round Imperial Vault of Heaven Pavilion. Inside, glance upwards at its ornate ceiling with a colorful design centered on a large gilded dragon. If you have a travel companion, try out the Echo Wall surrounding the pavilion: The acoustics of this space means that your whisper will be heard all the way at the other end.
Temple of Heaven is located in the Dongcheng District. To get there, take the subway to Tiantandongmen Station. Exit A leads to the East Gate entrance of the temple. There are additional fees to visit the various sections of the park. Electronic guides in English are available for rent.
You could comfortably spend a whole afternoon at Temple of Heaven. The list below provides a nice selection of the activities you can try here:
If you're seeking more options, have a look at our Beijing things to do page.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Wangfujing Street, National Museum of China, and Qianmen Street. Tiananmen Square and Beijing Financial Street are also within 2 mi (3 km). Chongwenmen Station is only a 3-minute walk and Ciqikou Station is 13 minutes.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Tiananmen Square, Tiananmen, and Wangfujing Street. Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven are also within 3 mi (5 km). Wangfujing Station is only a 2-minute walk and Tian'anmen East Station is 12 minutes.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dongcheng Dongjiaomin Lane and National Museum of China. Tiananmen Square and Qianmen Street are also within 1 mi (2 km). Qianmen Station is 9 minutes by foot and Chongwenmen Station is 11 minutes.
This family-friendly Beijing hotel is located in the historical district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Wangfujing Street, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen. Tiananmen Square and Beihai Park are also within 2 mi (3 km). Dengshikou Station is only a 5-minute walk and Wangfujing Station is 14 minutes.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Wangfujing Street, Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square. Forbidden City and Xidan Shopping Center are also within 3 mi (5 km). Chongwenmen Station is only a 4-minute walk and Ciqikou Station is 11 minutes.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Beijing Shengmi E'er Catholic Church, Beijing New World Shopping Mall, and Beijing Qianmen Street. Soshow and Tiananmen Square are also within 1 mi (2 km). Chongwenmen Station is 11 minutes by foot and Ciqikou Station is 13 minutes.
Located in Dongdan, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oriental Plaza and Wangfujing Street. National Museum of China and Tiananmen Square are also within 15 minutes. Wangfujing Station is 6 minutes by foot and Dengshikou Station is 14 minutes.
This family-friendly Beijing hotel is located in the business district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Peninsula Beijing Shopping Arcade, Wangfujing Street, and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and Tiananmen are also within 1 mi (2 km). Dengshikou Station is 8 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 11 minutes.