The Temple of Heaven, first visited by me in 2011, and lovely to visit again. The Temple is situated in parkland, the total size of the site is 2,700,000 square metres. The park is beautiful and is well used by the local people. Before we went to visit the main buildings on the site we wandered through the parkland, and enjoyed watching ladies fan dancing, people playing ball games and groups of ladies dancing to modern music. It is wonderful to see the open spaces being used so well by the local people.
The Hall of Prayers for Good Harvests, built totally of wood, with no nails! I recently saw a very interesting programme about these buildings, they do not have foundations, but are built straight on to the ground. The strength of these buildings is actually in the ornate roof supports as seen in the photo below. An experiment was done on a scale model of one of the pavilions in the Forbidden City, this building was then subjected to various strengths of earthquakes, using a special machine. It was found that the building did not collapse, it just moved a few inches. This probably explains why so many of these fascinating buildings are still standing, even though they have been built in an area known to suffer from earthquakes.
Wonderful decoration of these buildings, with a practical reason too :)
The marble terraces surrounding the Hall.
It was busy the day we visited but not too bad, we could get around very well :)
One of the side Pavilions.
I am fascinated by the roof furniture on these buildings, these are the Imperial Dragons, representing the authority of the state.
Below is the procession of animals, seen on the most important buildings, led by a man riding a Phoenix, brought up in the rear by the Imperial Dragon :) The maximum number of animals in these processions is ten, as can be seen on the roofs of the most important buildings in the Forbidden City.
Beautiful items and interiors of the buildings.
Green roof tiles this time, all decorated on the ends with dragons :)
Approaching the Royal Vault of Heaven,
The beautiful decorated ceiling, and roof supports of the Royal Vault of Heaven.
Below, a beautiful Wisteria plant blooming over a pergola in the parkland :)