8 Sacred Places in Beijing
Temple of Heaven
Dating back to the 1400s, the Temple of Heaven is a plaza composed of three Taoist temples: the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (the towering purple-roofed pagoda most people recognize), the Imperial Vault of Heaven, and the Circular Mound Altar. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Chinese emperors visited the Temple of Heaven once a year to make sacrifices to heaven for blessed weather and bountiful harvests.
Today, the Temple of Heaven has been converted into a public park double the size of the Forbidden City, and it is more likely that you'll see residents performing Tai Chi or flying kites in the public square than making sacrifices in the temples.
Photo Credit: (clockwise from the right) Lim Yong Hian, Jack Cronkhite, and Jonathan Larsen