Taking in the sights

This morning's cultural adventure was to visit the Temple of Heaven.  Ian, Kylie, Caleb, Grant and I had actually visited this ancient shrine to the heavens back in 2008, but had gone through without a guide and therefore missed a good deal of the historical information.  Yes, there are many signs in English, but anyone who has visited here before realizes that much is lost in translation...

Our first stop was to see the seven meteorites.

 Which interestingly enough is actually seven large rocks with one added small one.  Seven was considered a lucky number back in the time of the Ming Dynasty when the temple was created, the eighth "meteorite" was added during the Qing Dynasty to honor their ancestors.

From there it was on to the Temple for Good Harvest.  The emperor would come here on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month (the Lantern Festival at the end of CNY) to pray for a good harvest for the coming year.

Oh, and M7 Quote of the day...
"Look Mommy, they made it just like the one at Disney World!"
(pretty glad our guide didn't hear that little nugget of wisdom)

As we wandered through the site we learned several interesting things.  The Temple for Good Harvest originally had three colors for the roof area.  The top was blue, representing Heaven, the middle was yellow, representing the emperor, and the bottom was green, representing the common people.

Our guide gave us so much insight into the period of the Ming Dynasty.

Things like the fact this entire vast worship area was only entered by the emperor and his necessary staff and only two to three times a year depending on if rain needed to be requested on the summer solstice from the gods of the heaven.

But overall it was the intricate detail everywhere you looked that caught our attention.

That and the fascinating architecture...take that this building is constructed entirely of wood with not even one nail.

And then, just when the heat began to compound fact burnout for the kids, we reached the south gate and headed to our van (only slightly bigger than our own personal vehicle) and headed off to explore some more current historical sites.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Adorable comment about Disney World! :)