Postcard Perfect — By Rachel Greenberg on September 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Built in the early 1400s, the Temple of Heaven is considered the most important Taoist building in China. It was commissioned by Yongle Emperor, the same emperor who oversaw the construction of the Forbidden City.

Ancient Chinese regarded their emperor as being the “Son of Heaven”, and so this magnificent palace acted as the royal place of worship. Traditionally the Emperor would make his way from the Forbidden City to the Temple of Heaven to pray for a good harvest twice a year. No ordinary people were allowed to see the processional, and if even one small detail was omitted from the ritual, it was believed that China would suffer.

Today the Temple of Heaven receives millions of visitors a year, especially during National Day celebrations.

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