Most Important Temples to Visit in China (I)- Confucius Temple

Tag: Beijing

Most Important Temples to Visit in China (I)- Confucius Temple

Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Confucius Temple

 

Although Confucianism served as the intellectual and moral backbone of China – indeed, much of East Asia – for over two millennia, you can't really call it a religion. Yet, despite its marked absence of otherworldly speculation, Confucian temples have always existed. 

 

The primary function of these temples was to pay homage to the spirit of Confucius and other great teachers in the tradition, a practice closely related to everyday ancestor worship. Although you'll sometimes come across statues of Confucius such as in Beijing, most places simply used plain spirit tablets (an upright wooden board with a name written on it) to represent those worshiped.

 

Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Confucius Temple

 

Fittingly, Confucian temples were almost always built within or next to a school; in some cases they even served as the school itself. Official rituals and sacrifices – usually conducted by the state (which was run by Confucian bureaucrats) – were also held at Confucian temples.

 

Beijing's Confucian Temple is the second largest in China and dates back to 1306. Like other Confucian temples, it's a pretty subdued place, with the swaying of old cypress trees in the breeze providing the most action. To the rear of the temple are stelae (stone tablets) upon which are engraved the 13 Confucian classics and the names of successful imperial examination candidates.

 

West of the temple is the Imperial Academy (Guozijian), which was the top school in imperial China. 

 

Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Confucius Temple – How do I get there?

 

Address: 13 Guozijian Jie (国子监街13号)

 

Metro: Lama Temple

 

Best Cities to Visit in China (I)- Beijing

Best Cities to Visit in China – Beijing

 

"Urbanity, courtesy, a manner at once smiling and restrained; a preference for the pleasant tastes, sounds and colors that money could buy rather than for wealth itself; an instinctive appreciation of beauty in art and nature–all these were commonly found in every level of society [of Beijing]." – John Blofeld, City of Lingering Splendour

 

Center of the known universe, Beijing elicits a range of emotions that run the spectrum from uncontainable excitement to moments of utter bafflement. It's been capital of the country since Kublai Khan set up shop in 1271 and the echoes of the imperial dynasties that followed still resonate in peerless sights such as the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. 

 

Best Cities to Visit in China – Beijing

 

Over the centuries Beijing has always attracted China's brightest minds and best talent, and even if the capital today is a thoroughly modern place, regardless of your interest – art, cuisine, politics, history, well being, or language – it still holds the keys that will get you started on your journey.

 

You could fill a library with books about Beijing, so we will simply say this: all roads in China eventually lead here.

 

Best Cities to Visit in China – Beijing

 

What's here? Wander through the Forbidden City for a taste of imperial splendor before you pop into a tiny eatery for some simple, freshly made dumplings. Compare the timeless artwork of the past with the enigmatic creations of the present. Pick up a few tai chi tips at dawn before you head off to stretch your legs at the Great Wall

 

Best Cities to Visit in China – Beijing

 

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