Built 600 years ago by the third Ming ruler, Tiantan, or the Temple of Heaven, is prized for its architectural perfection. The northern building is conical and the southern is square, a configuration meant to symbolize heaven and earth. It was here the emperor prayed to heaven for good harvests, for guidance and for the atonement of the people's sins.
In the late autumn visit, the dynast meditated in the Imperial Vault of Heaven and then crossed the Bridge of Vermilion Steps to keep and all-night vigil in the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. The park that surrounds the blue-tiled structure is lively and bustling with its poultry market, taiqi enthusiasts, and exhibitions.