Monday, August 25, 2008

The Most Amazing Bike Course in the Olympic History (Part 3) - The Temple of Heaven

The Beijing route will make Athens seem like a cakewalk, as it is widely considered one of the most challenging in Olympic history, yet the Beijing Laoshan Mountain Bike Course is also the most beautiful bike course.

Continued with my last post, here is the introduction of the second stage for the Beijing Laoshan Mountain Bike Course:

The Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven is one of the most strictly protected and preserved cultural heritages of China. There are 12 million visitors every year. The Circular Mound Altar The largest group of architectures ever to be dedicated to Heaven, the Temple of Heaven served as an exclusive altar for Chinese monarchs during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was decreed that rulers of successive dynasties would place altars in their own capitals to worship Heaven and pray for good harvest.

The ancient Chinese believed that Heaven was the supreme ruler of the universe and the fate of mankind, and thus worshiping rites dedicated to Heaven came into being. The Heaven the ancient Chinese referred to was actually the Universe, or nature. In those days, there were specific rites of worship. This was especially true during the Ming and Qing dynasties when elaborate ceremonies were held.

The garden grounds have six entrances all leading up to the most important ritual places, the Round Altar, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests which have all been arranged on a central north-south axis. The Hall of Prayer for good Harvests is mounted on a three-tiered marble terrace and its four inner pillars support the roof and represent the four seasons.

The Hall was burnt down in 1889 and was fortunately rebuilt following the original architectural blueprints from the Ming-dynasty only a year later. The grounds of the Temple of Heaven were regarded as sanctuary and therefore forbidden to the public until 1912. And as so many other landmarks in China, the Temple of Heaven has also been listed as a world heritage by the world heritage committee since 1998.

1 comment:

m.vprabubiz said...

hey, i had been to this place when i went to china for the first time. Itz a wonderful place to visit. don;t miss it ;-)

- swar amaze