Beijing: 6th May 2014.
The Emperor didn’t always stay in the Forbidden City. Twice a year, at the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, he came to the Temple of Heaven to pray for a good harvest.
The Temple was commenced in 1420, under the Ming Dynasty, and actually represents Heaven, as they conceived it at the time. The thinking was that Heaven was round, like the central three-tiered Hall of Prayer, and the Earth was square, like the walls surrounding it. And, it was purposely built over a greater area than the Forbidden City, for the Chinese believed that Heaven had to be larger than the Emperor’s earthly residence.
It stands amid extensive gardens, and was opened as a public park in 1988. The story behind it was a little too much to take in in one short visit … but it was still worth it, just to admire the architecture.