Tiāntán, or the Temple of Heaven (name literally translated to Altar of Heaven) really still is a heavenly haven. Numerous beautiful buildings, gardens and park trails to enjoy with the soft fold music quietly playing along the main park trails. This area was built for prayers for Heaven in order to ensure good harvest, and there is a direct access trail from the old emperors home in the Forbidden city to here. To explore this place properly one needs to spend there more than half a day really – just like for many other historical sights in Beijing – here you don’t have too many buildings to see, but the gardens are definitely worth exploring and enjoying after one has seen the temple buildings.
The buildings themselves are architectural masterpieces, being built without nails and such things, and the interiors being restores are just a marvel of colour and amazing patterns – and of course that heavenly blue colour in the roof tiles as well as inside. All-in-all a fantastic place to visit with a wealth of history behind it – and it is also one of those Unesco’s World Heritage sites!
My review of Temple of Heaven -Tiāntán 天坛 : Excellent
Address: Tiantan Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100050. Tel. 010-67028866.
Entrance fees: cheap park only 10 RMB, through ticket to all sites 30 RMB (in 2012). Open 6-22, separate times for buildings 8-17(18 summer)
Park website link
“This is a really beautiful site and when we visited the temple, the number of people was moderate – what also helps is that the are is pretty vast, so there was no crowding at any given points. Even on a hot day one can find shadow, sit down on the green lawn and listen old, soft Chinese music from hidden speakers, or watch people practise Chinese dance in groups, calligraphy with large brushes using the road as paper pr perfect their Chinese yo-yo skills (pretty amazing tricks as by far we can just barely keep the yo-yo using one thread).
There are few vendors inside selling drinks, snacks and souvenirs and few more outside the gates (depending on what entrance you take to the park. As always, the craftsmanship and the restoration is of great quality, and there aren’t too many amazing-looking buildings so one gets to concentrate, enjoy and learn enough about the buildings on site. Bathrooms were also relatively clean here – on Chinese standards. Also, since this is a little way off the Forbidden city (technically behind it I guess) the traffic wasn’t too bad either – an important factor as we have sitting in the city traffic for 2-3 hours on weekends. The entrance fee is also pretty low.”