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Shanghai Confucian Temple
Travel in Shanghai


Wenmiao was founded during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD), but was reconstructed in its current form in 1855. Like the Yuyuan (yù yuán 豫园) Temple, Wenmiao (wén miào 文庙) housed the Small Swords Society when they took over the city during the Taiping (tài píng tiān guó 太平天国) Uprising. The temple was once Shanghai's most prestigious learning institution and is now the only temple of Confucius (kǒng miào 孔庙) (551-479 BC), China's greatest philosopher, in downtown Shanghai. It is also the biggest second book market in Shanghai.

altThe Confucian Temple is a typical combination of temple and school in ancient China. It was built in 1294, when Shanghai was just taking shape from a small fishing village.The temple has witnessed Shanghai's growing progress of more than 700 years, from a small Chinese county to one of the world's biggest metropolises now confronting the problem of integration the modern with the traditional. The temple was once the headquarters of the Stagger Society, a rebel group that revolted against the Qing's reign in Shanghai from 1851 to 1855. During the Culture Revolution (wén huà dà gé mìng 文化大革命), it was badly damaged but in 1995 it was designated for renovation by the Shanghai government. And now, the temple is no longer the study and research center of Confucianism, instead it is gaining fame as a secondhand book market and is the destination for book-lovers and collectors. Visitors to the temple especially students write wishes on slips of paper and tie them to boards or trees using red ribbons.


Just over the temple walls is a permanent book market, and the front courtyard of the temple houses a sprawling used-book market on Sunday mornings. The offerings include many antique English books, as well as bargain copies of books on Shanghai and China. The nearby ponds and gardens of the inner temple make a great place to enjoy your new books.

Ling Xing Gate (líng xīng mén 棂星门)
Ling Xing is the name of the so-called “top scholar star” in ancient time. When the emperor set up the altar to worship the heaven, he worshipped Ling Xing first. Later, Ling Xing Gate was constructed in front of the ConfucianTemple to indicate that Confucius was the top scholar in the heaven. It also implies that worshipping Confucius is like worshipping the heaven.

altWu Hall (wǔ diàn 庑殿)
The side hall of Da Cheng Hall, Wu Hall used to be the place where people worshipped Confucius, his 72 best students, and learned scholars of past time. Now it exhibits 300 carvings of couplets written by 180 famous calligraphers of Ming and Qing Dynasties, including pieces by Kang Xi, Yong Zheng and Qian Long emperors of Qing Dynasty. There are scripts by national heroes Shi Kefa and Lin Zexu as well as calligraphy by famous ancient scholars.

Ming Lun Hall (míng lún táng 明伦堂)
The words “Ming Lun” comes from Mencius (mèng zǐ 孟子). In the ancient time, Ming Lun Hall was where Confucian scholars lectured and where Confucian culture was promoted. Ming Lun Hall also has a glorious past. On September 4, 1853, the Small Dagger Society used Ming Lun Hall as the headquarter to organize the uprising.


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Address: No.215, Wenmiao Road (wén miào lù 文庙路)
Tel: 021-63779101, 021-63771815
Opening Hours: 9am - 4:30pm
Admision Fee: 1 yuan/person (the secondhand book market)
10 yuan/person, 5 yuan/student (the whole temple)
Public Transportation: You can take bus No. 911, 18, 24, 451, 715, 775, 451, 789, 6, 929 and get off at Wenmiao Road.

Tags: Travel in Shanghai     Travel in Beijing