The 13th Century Confucius Temple, containing the Guozijian Museum, is a fascinating insight into Chinese beliefs and culture. It is the second largest Confucius Temple in China and one of the largest temples in Beijing. Note the golden tiles used for the roof and dragon paintings – indicating the high status of the temple.
Formerly a site of scholarship and the imperial exams, now it is a popular pilgrimage for high school students preparing for the dreaded Gaokao exams.
The many stele around the temple contain the names of those scholars who successfully passed the imperial exams, recording them for eternity in stone. You can also admire the ancient Qianlong Stone Drums and other carvings around the site.
Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Accomplishment)
The site of ancient sacrificial ceremonies, now the Dacheng Hall holds a gruesome exhibition of the instruments used for these events.
Evil Eye Cypress Tree
According to ancient legend, the corrupt official Yan Song came to worship for the emperor. The tree, identifying his evil character, used its branches to remove his hat – thus revealing his secrets.
Originally the Imperial Academy of Beijing, the Emperor himself addressed students here. It is located directly next to the Confucius Temple and you can explore its many halls and gates, some containing displays of traditional instruments or furniture.
Tickets: 30 RMB.
Opening hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (winter), 8:30 – 18:00 (summer).
Recommended visit: 1 hour.
Transport: located just down the alley opposite the entrance to the Lama Temple.