Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven was used by the emperor to make offerings to the gods for a fruitful harvest. There are several stages for this. The emperor would reside on a special purpose building onsite to fast for three days before the main offering. A personal favourite of mine was a door that only one man ever went through. An especially old emperor was not able to walk for a long duration anymore, so they built a shortcut for him. Afraid that his successors might abuse this shortcut out of laziness he decreed that only emperors of age 70 or greater may pass through the door – but no emperor afterwards ever achieved this age.

The rituals went from south to north and went through several gates.
The rituals went from south to north and went through several gates.

The Temple site is actually more of a park with the odd building here and there. It is filled with people doing any of the following: dancing in bulk, dancing in pairs, individuals practicing their chi between the trees, and the occasional senior drawing calligraphy on the stone floor.

Impromptu calligraphy on the floor.
Impromptu calligraphy on the floor.

Afterwards I looked through the Pearl Market (unimpressive – I bought socks), and then walked all the way to the Qianmen pedestrian area where I got honked at by a tram. Some of the side alleys harbor some nice building fronts in the old style.

Basically a tourist street. A nice one though.
Basically a tourist street. A nice one though.

In the evening the entire dorm group of eight people went to the night market to eat curiosities. Alone I might have eaten at most one of them, but in a group you end up daring each other and building up expectations that I ended up eating a scorpion (crispy and mostly tasted like the seasoning), tarantula (legs are crispy and tasteless, body is yuck), deep-fried ice-cream (yumm), and starfish (tasted like plastic and only got worse with every second it spent in your mouth – yuck).

Me. Eating a spider.
Me. Eating a spider.

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