It’s an extraordinary sight watching such an eclectic gathering of individuals congregating at a specific site on a daily basis to socialize, exercise, and play games, especially at a site so filled with history and architectural wonder as the ground of the Temple of Heaven and the myriad structures located there.
Indeed, just watching the teeming masses was almost as interesting and definitely as entertaining as visiting and photographing the various halls and other structures.
But let’s get back to the architecture. I’ve already introduced you to the exterior of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests:
We also had a glimpse of the interior of this immense and colorful structure:
What we haven’t seen is yet another very impressive hall — The Imperial Vault of Heaven. Unlike the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault displays a single gable and is perched upon only one tier of stone.
If you study the above photo of the Imperial Vault you’ll notice that both the Imperial Vault and the elevated platform upon which it sits are both enclosed by a large, circular wall. This is known as the Echo Wall. Echo Wall has an interior circumference of 633 feet/193 meters, and the inside of the wall is so smooth that even the slightest sound follows the wall. In other words, if it’s not too crowded and noisy when you visit, you can station two people at opposite sides of the Imperial Vault and one will be able to hear the other speaking in a normal voice as long as the speaker is facing the wall and the listener has his or her back to it.
But the exterior and the Echo Wall are not the only attractions at the Imperial Vault of Heaven. While the structure is smaller than its neighbor the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the interior decoration and colors are every bit the equal.
Fun Photo Friday will conclude not only our visit to the Temple of Heaven, but also to Beijing. Starting next week we move on to Shanghai.