Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Temple of Confucius in Beijing

The Temple of Confucius in Beijing is the second largest in China, after the one in Confucius' home town of Qufu.  Built from 1302-1306, the temple was used to offer sacrifices to Confucius until the early 1900s and consists of 22,000 square meters (237,000 square feet) of halls, houses, and courtyards.

I approach the temple down a beautiful tree-lined residential street and enter through the main gate.

Street outside temple

Entrance to temple

Just inside, I walk up to Da Cheng Hall, the main structure in the temple.  Originally built in 1302 and rebuilt in 1411, the emperors worshiped Confucius in this hall.

 Da Cheng Hall

Outside, the courtyards are welcoming places to rest and continue to explore.  I wander into one courtyard and find a monk instructing young attentive kids.

 Class in the courtyard

Off the courtyard is a room full of steles, stone slabs carved by, or in honor of, the emperors.  This group contains the forward, written by Emperor Qianlong in 1792, for thirteen Confucian classics written by Jiang Heng.

Emperor's foreword

Next to it are 189 stone steles engraved with the thirteen Confucian classics, a total of 628,000 Chinese characters that took twelve years to complete.

The Confucian classics

Back outside, I see more great buildings in the complex, with the interiors impeccably restored.

 Buildings in the complex


In the courtyards are small buildings with more stone steles ordered by various emperors to commemorate important events.

 Buiding and stele inside

And, some small museums provide information on Confucius and life in that era.

 Several small museums

I wander some, then head back out into the courtyards to find the next adventure, the Lama Temple down the road.

 Great courtyards

Back out on the street

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