Some of my favorite structure and people shots from The Temple of Heaven:
Tag Archives: Beijing
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.
In Beijing is yet another must-see stop. It’s the sprawling complex of buildings devoted to Taoism located at the Temple of Heaven. There is simply so much to see at this site that I’ll be devoting this week’s scheduled blogs to it, culminating once again in my photographic favorites on this week’s Fun Photo Friday.
The first structure you’ll notice after entering through the North Heaven Gate is the often photographed Hall of Prayers for Good Harvests.
This enormous, round, tri-gabled structure is some 36 meters/118 feet wide by 38 meters/125 feet tall. It sits atop three-levels of stone base with nine steps connecting each tier. Each tier is enclosed by carved marble railing.
Visitors stepping into this wooden structure are rewarded with an exploding kaleidoscope of intense colors.
At the base of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests are two large halls — the west and east annexes.
Inside the east annex are models of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests as well as other items of interest.
Before we look at a few more of the buildings in this complex, let’s take a look at the people who frequent these grounds. We were amazed at the number of people who visit this park on a daily basis for exercise, games, and other pedestrian pursuits.
Several groups of people were playing a particularly intriguing game using something very similar to the birdie in badminton. Only, in this case, there is no net and the “racket” is your feet. People were batting the birdie with great skill, frequently catching the birdie from behind with a blind back-kick that would send the birdie soaring over their heads to another awaiting player. It was quite an impressive display.
More on the Temple of Heaven on Wednesday. Until then here are a few more photos: