TEMPLE OF HEAVEN PARK
This was another large complex of buildings related to the Chinese Emperor. and the last in my tour of China – after this we came home! So no more posting form me on China.
This was a religious park where there were a number of temples related to the various ceremonial activities that the emperor had to perform, especially blessing the harvest and praying for a good one. This involved animal sacrifices and large fires burning in large urns.
There were several temple sites in the park mainly based along a long axis north to south which was laid out as a long walk. This was for the emperor go walk on and no one else of course. We didn’t manage to look at all the sites which on this long path and most of those not on the path too, as it was very cold again, still in the minus figures and time was passing.
The end of the path was a threefold mound and in the centre of the highest point was a round stone which is supposed to be the centre of Heaven. Naturally everyone wanted to stand on it including us. However we didn’t take photos of this momentous occurrence.
The sites we missed included where they ceremonially fasted and the flower and rose gardens, which of course were empty at that time.
At one temple there was the 70 year gate. It seems that a certain Emperor became a little feeble as he reached 70 years of age and they created a short cut for him so he didn’t have go walk quite so far and climb so many steps. Only emperors who reached 70 where thereafter were permitted to use this gate. Unfortunately, no emperor ever reached his age again due to poison, knife or other means of reaching heaven rather earlier in life!