One of the places that I felt most comfortable during my trip to Beijing was at the Temple Of Heaven and its surrounding park. The Park sits just north of the 2nd Ring Road and the city canal and is about 4.5 km south of Tiananmen Square.
The most important building at the temple is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. It is 38 m tall and 36 m in diameter.
|The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests|
|Your author in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests|
|Decorations under the pagoda|
|Each pillar is a solid tree trunk|
|The emperors throne|
As impressive as the temple is, what I really loved about this place was the surrounding park. The park is gathering place for seniors from throughout Beijing. When you come, enter through the East Gate. This part of the park is is a gathering place for groups practicing tai-chi and dancing.
|A belly dancing class|
|More belly dancing|
|Tai-chi using a ball and racket|
Nearby is the Long Corridor. This is covered walkway where groups of people come to pass time, play cards, chess, knit and crochet. But most of all to visit. They are obviously old friends who have been doing this for years.
|The Long Corridor|
|A band performing traditional Chinese folk tunes|
Chess players and kibitzers
The Temple of Heaven Park plays this role in the lives of its users. They come and spend time with their friends They pass time and visit. It is the heart of a city in so many real ways. It was a place where I felt that I knew the people. It reminded me of my grandmother.