Map of the Temple of Heaven
As I walk in from the south, I first enter the Long Corridor, off of which are 72 rooms associated with animal sacrifice, including the Animal Killing Pavilion, the Divine Kitchen, and the Divine Warehouse. Currently, animal sacrifices are apparently no longer performed in this facility and the corridor is a great resting place for people to hang out with friends and hold a few friendly games.
Hanging out in the Long Corridor
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
Inside the magnificent triple-gabled hall are is the alter for prayers.
Alters for prayers for good harvests and rains
On the elevated marble base are several smaller Annex Halls, which hold exhibitions describing the Hall and the worship and prayers carried on in each.
East Annex Hall and exhibitions
Heading out from the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, I head toward the Imperial Vault of Heaven, which was used to prepare for ceremonies in the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, holding tablets to be used in the ceremonies (including tables of the ancestors of the emperor) and in the events filling the days leading up to the formal ceremony.
Imperial Vault of Heaven
Across from the Imperial Vault of Heaven is the Circular Mound Alter, built of three circular levels of marble, where the emperor prayed for good weather.
Circular Mound Alter
Looking back at the Imperial Vault of Heaven from the Circular Mound Alter
Leaving this complex, I have one more stop in the park, to the northwest of the Circular Mound Alter is the Palace of Abstinence or Fasting Palace, where the emperor would live alone for three days prior to the ceremony, following a simple vegetarian diet and avoiding entertainment and court intrigue.
The main hall of the Fasting Palace ("Beamless Hall", consisting of a brick dome with no beam) was built in 1420 and was used for ceremonial rituals during the arrival and departure of the emperor. It now holds exhibitions.
Beamless hall and exhibitions
Behind the Beamless Hall is the Living Hall where the emperor would stay and prepare for the ceremony.
All surrounded by moat and walls and gates