Decoration on the roof tiles, if it can be decorated it will be, its lovely!
Below are a selection of photos that really should have been in the last blog, but it was getting too long.
You very soon learn to look up at the ceilings as well as around these buildings!
The dragons on each square of the ceiling in the photo before this one.
The interior of the building.
A closer view of the animals on the roof corners, such detail even on things that are not easily seen. Thank goodness for zoom on modern cameras!
Dragons everywhere, this time a roof dragon.
Now where was I? Oh yes, I remember now! After having a good look round the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests we continued south crossing the Imperial Walkway Bridge, which by this time was packed with people all heading up to where we had just come from, so maybe it was a good thing that we came in the way we did! Halfway along the Bridge we found a small shop selling ice cream, which we were more than ready for, so we took our ice creams round the back of the shop where it was nice and cool and quiet and enjoyed our treats looking out over the parkland.
Looking through to the Imperial Walkway to the next set of buildings.
Once through the arch, looking back the way we have just come, off to get that ice cream!
Approaching the Vault of Heaven enclosure.
We arrived at the Imperial Vault of Heaven which is another beautiful round building enclosed by a circular wall, and was the place where all the important documents were kept.
One of the buildings inside the enclosure
…and the ceiling!
The circular wall surrounding this enclosure is known as the ‘whispering wall’. Of course we had to try the wall, although the phrase ‘talking to a brick wall’ did come to mind....But it worked! We were the only ones talking to the wall, and I quite clearly heard my daughter say ‘mum’ it was great fun.
You can see the ‘whispering wall’ on the right of this photo.
We had to queue to get up the steps to see the interior of the Vault of Heaven, but it was worth it just to see the amazing ceiling!
Looking over the circular wall in the direction that we had come from.
The interior of the Vault of Heaven.
Looking up …..
…to see this!! Wow is all I can say!
Continuing south from here we came to The Circular Mound Altar of Heaven, a marble structure of three concentric terraces, the bottom terrace represents hell, the middle terrace represents the Mortal World and the top terrace represents Heaven. Each terrace is surrounded by carved marble balustrades, beautifully carved. In the centre of the top terrace is the Heart Stone, which is slightly raised, and has the unusual effect that if anyone stands on it and speaks their voice echoes back to them. Unfortunately we were unable to try this for ourselves as there were so many people waiting.
The Mound Altar of Heaven
Looking back towards the Vault of Heaven.
Views from the top of the mound.
We then passed through the Zhaoheng Gate and left the site by the Southern entrance. The Temple is well worth a visit, and if I ever go back to Beijing I would visit again. I hope you have enjoyed the visit to The Temple of Heaven, and the photos.