Temple of the Moon (Yuetan Park)
The Temple of the Moon is located to the west of Nanlishi Road and to the south of North Yuetan Road in Beijing. Originally named Xiyue (the moon at night) Altar, it was the place where emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911) offered sacrifice to the God of the Moon and the Gods of the Stars. In 1955, the Temple of the Moon was renovated into a park. Most ancient buildings remain today, and in 2006, the Temple of the Moon was listed as an important cultural relic site under state-level protection.
The north section features ancient buildings housing the Altar of the Moon. The altar has a square platform measuring 5 feet (1.5 meters) high and 16 square yards (13 square meters). Differing from the red glazed surface of the Altar of the Sun, it is glazed in white symbolizing the moon, and it has six steps each on the four sides. On each of the four sides of the walls sits one stone gate. The east gate has three portals and six pillars while the other three gates only have one portal and two pillars.
Another outer layer of walls also surrounds it. The 16 feet (5 meters) high and 630 yards (576 meter) long wall, rebuilt in 2004, was constructed with 150,000 pieces of brick made with traditional techniques. During the construction, relics of walls from the Ming Dynasty, now on public display, were found.
Jufu Palace (Changing Palace) outside the east gate used to be the place where the emperor could change his garments and took a rest. The palace has three south-facing main halls, covered with green glazed tiles. On the crossbeams, there are traditional Chinese paintings, and a tablet inscribed in large characters "Ju Fu Palace". Inside the palace, a horizontal tablet inscribed by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty is hanging on the wall. On both sides of the main hall, there are three minor halls covered with black glazed tiles.
Shen Ku (Holy Storehouse), Shen Chu (Holy Kitchen), and Zaisheng Pavilion (the venue for slaughtering animals) are located in the southwest. The east-facing Holy Storehouse is where the tablets of the Moon God are cherished, while the Holy Kitchen facing south is the place where the oblations were made. A well was dug to get water for the sake of washing sacrificial offerings.
The bell tower outside the north gate houses a big brass bell on its second floor. With a height of 10 feet (3 meters) and weighing two tons, the bell is modeled in accordance with the original brass bell cast in the Ming Dynasty.
Characterized by natural beauty, the south section of the Temple of the Moon is a new scenic area named Inviting the Moon (Yao Yue in Chinese) Garden. In the center of the garden, a courtyard was built in which cassia trees grow and an open-air tea house is seated. If you want to survey the whole park, you can go to the pavilion on the top of the mountain in the northwest corner of the garden.
How to Get to the Temple of the Moon
2. Take bus 15, 19, Night Line 12 or 56 and get off at Yuetan Park Station, then walk southward to the gate.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search
|Entrance Fee:||CNY1; free for children under 1.2m (3.9ft)|
|Opening Hours:||06:00 - 21:00|