The Temple of Heaven served as the exclusive imperial altar where Ming and Qing emperors would pray for good harvests and fortune. The complex is divided into inner and outer sections, with key structures like the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and Imperial Vault of Heaven.

Beyond the intricate architecture, marvel at ingenious acoustic effects like the Echo Wall and Three Sound Stones. Follow the common south to north route (or east to north) through the Circular Mound Altar, Imperial Vault of Heaven, Divine Terrace Bridge, and finally the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests before exiting.

Around April, the sprawling grounds erupt in seas of azaleas and provide a pastoral escape right in the city. Allow at least 3 hours to take in the highlights. Arrive early morning to beat crowds.

The Temple of Heaven is located in central Beijing. Visitors can take the subway or numerous buses dropping off right at the south, north, east or west gates. Lose yourself wandering tree-lined walkways and immaculately crafted temples where emperors communed with the heavens.