Oct 16, 2013

Confucius

Confucius Temple in Beijing, China

Located on Guozijian Street inside Anding Gate, the Confucius Temple 孔庙 in Beijing is the place where people paid homage to Confucius during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Its neighbor in the west is Guo Zi Jian (The Imperial College), which was the institute of the highest education well preserved in China.

The Confucius Temple was initially built in 1302 and additions were made during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It has a total area of 22,000 square meters (5.4 acres). It is the second largest temple constructed for Confucius, the greatest thinker and educationalist in ancient China, ranking only behind the Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong Province.

This temple consists of four courtyards. The main structures include Xianshi Gate (Gate of the First Teacher), Dacheng Gate (Gate of Great Accomplishment), Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Accomplishment) and Chongshengci (Worship Hall). Dacheng Hall is the main building in the temple, where the memorial ceremony for Confucius was often held. Inside the temple one can see that 198 stone tablets are positioned on either side of the front courtyard, containing 51,624 names of Jinshi (the advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Also 14 stone stele pavilions of the Ming and Qing dynasties hold the precious historical information of ancient China.

One item of note is the 700-year-old Chujian Bai (Touch Evil Cypress) in the temple. Its name is associated with an ancient legend. During the Ming Dynasty, one day the superior official-Yan Song came to worship Confucius on behalf of the emperor. When he was passing by the cypress, one of the branches of the tree took his hat off. Since Yan Song was a treacherous official, people have thought the old tree could distinguish between good and evil people. Hence its name.

In the temple, you can also find remarkable pictures like two flying dragons playing a pearl among clouds, which are believed to be used only in the imperial palaces because dragon stands for emperor in ancient China. From those, it is easy to imagine the importance of the Confucius Temple in the feudal society of China.

Admission Fee: 
CNY 20 (including Guo Zi Jian – The Imperial College ) 

Opening Hours: 
8:30 – 17:00 (stop selling ticket at 16:30) 
Recommended Time for a Visit: 
One hour 

Subway: 
Subway Line 2: get off at Yonghegong Station, get out of the station from Exit C (Southwest Exit), and walk south about 600 meters, then you’ll find Guozijian Street where the Confucius Temple and Guozijian located.
Subway Line 5: get off at Yonghegong Station, and get out of the station from Exit D (Southwest Exit). 
Bus Route: Take bus 13, 116 or 684 and get off at Guozijian Station.
Take bus 3, 116 or 117 and get off at Yonghegong Station.
Take bus 13, 18, 44(小), 44(大), 62, 75, 116, 606, 800(内), 800 (外), 909 or 特2 and get off at Yonghegong Qiao Dong Station.
Take bus 125 and get off at Yonghegong Qiao Bei Station.

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