Luckily after lunch the sunshine came out for our visit to the Temple of Heaven Park, built in 1420. I had read ahead of time that it’s a park where the elderly spend time – in the morning doing exercises and in the afternoon playing cards. Didn’t disappoint!
Lonely Planet describes it as:
A tranquil oasis of peace and methodical Confucian design in one of China’s busiest urban landscapes, the 267-hectare Temple of Heaven Park is absolutely unique. It originally served as a vast stage for solemn rites performed by the emperor of the time (known as the Son of Heaven), who prayed here for good harvests and sought divine clearance and atonement. Strictly speaking, it’s an altar rather than a temple – so don’t expect burning incense or worshippers.