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The Temple of Successive Emperors

The Temple of Successive Emperors

The Temple of Successive Emperors (lì dài dì wáng miào 历代帝王庙) is a national AA tourist attraction, the only imperial temple in the Ming and Qing dynasties (míng qīng liǎng dài 明清两代) for worshiping the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors (sān huáng wǔ dì 三皇五帝), distinguished emperors, ministers, and generals of Chinese in successive dynasties and a key historic site under national protection. It lies at No. 131 Fuchengmen Inner Street (fù chéng mén nèi dà jiē 阜成门内大街), Xicheng District (xī chéng qū 西城区). With grand and well-preserved buildings, it is a well-known place of historical and cultural tourism.


Overlook of The Temple of Successive Emperors This temple is one of the three imperial temples: Taimiao (tài miào 太庙), Confucius Temple (kǒng miào 孔庙) and the Temple of Successive Emperors in Beijing. Built on the grounds of a former Buddhist temple, Bao'an Si (bǎo ān sì 保安寺), there's nary a Buddha in sight. It was officially opened to the public in April 2004. The temple covers an area of 21,500 square meters, of which 6,000 square meters are covered by ancient buildings.


SacrificeThe temple was built 470 years ago in 1530, or the 9th year of Emperor Jiajing’s (jiā jìng dì 嘉靖帝) reign in the Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝). It was an imperial temple during the Ming and Qing dynasties, used for offering sacrifices to gods and ancestors and distinctive emperors and heroes in history. Rulers didn't always come in person, but their representatives diligently carried out sacrifices in spring and autumn. The Yongzheng Emperor (yōng zhèng dì 雍正帝), who killed his brother to usurp the throne, had more reasons to pray than most, and made five appearances during his short reign.
 

Jingdechongsheng Hall The magnificent Jingdechongsheng Hall (jǐng dé chóng shèng diàn 景德崇圣殿), the main hall, has the same elevation and size as the Palace of Heavenly Purity (qián qīng gōng 乾清宫) in the Forbidden City (zǐ jìn chéng 紫禁城), housed the tablets of 188 emperors. Prominently displayed in its center are the spiritual tablets of the Three Sovereigns: Fuxi (fú xī 伏羲), Emperor Yan (yán dì 炎帝), Emperor Huangdi (huáng dì 黄帝), and the Five Emperors: Shaohao (shào hào 少昊), Zhuanxu (zhuān xū 颛顼), Diku (dì kù 帝喾), Tangyao (táng yáo 唐尧) and Yushun (yú shùn 虞舜). Flanked by those are the emperors of successive dynasties. Visitors may feel the solemnity and worship in the hall. The huge red wall before the gate is of a type seldom seen in China.
 

Stone TabletThe east and west wing halls housed those of 79 ministers and generals. Guandi Temple (guān dì miào 关帝庙) was built to worship Guan Yu (关羽), a hero of the Three Kingdoms period (sān guó shí qī 三国时期). Though his body lies in Dangyang (dàng yáng 当阳), his head rests in Luoyang (luò yáng洛阳), his soul is back in his hometown, and his statue is worshipped in Temples. The most striking feature is the intricately carved stelae (nearly 8m tall) set to the east and west of the main hall. The fact that great leaders of all dynasties were enshrined in this temple suggests an important trait of Chinese civilization¨continuity.
 

SighThe whole complex faces south, situated along a central axis. The buildings such as Shenchu (shén chú 神厨), Shenku (shén kù 神库), Zaishengting (zǎi shēng  tíng 宰牲亭) and Jingting (jǐng tíng 井亭) were constructed according to the system of imperial graves. It is simple, mysterious and a classic example of Chinese traditional architecture which records and shows the long history of China.
                                                  Map

Address: 131 Fuchengmen Inner Street (fù chéng mén nèi dà jiē 阜成门内大街), Xicheng District (xī chéng qū 西城区).
Admission: 20 RMB
Tel: 010-66120186
Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Transportation: Take bus 101, 102, 103, 13, 42, 409, 603, 709, 812 , 814, 823, 846 and 850 to Baitasi Station (bái tǎ sì zhàn 白塔寺站) and then walk to The Temple of Successive Emperors.
Attactions nearby: Guangji Temple (guǎng jì sì 广济寺) 
 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 August 2009 18:26
 

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