Confucius Temple in Hancheng
Confucius, a great thinker and educator in ancient China, was respected by monarchs of many dynasties since Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD). The name of the temple changed with Confucius' honorary names again and again. It has been called Wen Miao, Fuzi Miao, Xianshi Miao, and was finally named Confucius Temple in the Ming and Qing Periods (1368-1911). The temple was specially built for offering sacrifices to Confucius.
Located on Dongxue Lane in Hancheng city, Confucius Temple (Wen Miao) was built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 --- 1368). Although the temple has been rebuilt many times over the course of the ensuing 1,000 years, the main building retains its original architectural style, which is representative of ancient architecture that has existed in Shaanxi Province since the 13th Century.
The lection Collection Pavilion (also called the Zun Jing Ge), Wenmiao, Hancheng.
Outside the temple there are two doorways, called "Virtuous Pass (Xian Guan in Chinese)" and "Saint City (Sheng Cheng in Chinese)," and inscribed with "virtue beyond times" and "virtue covers the universe." Entering the temple through these two doorways, one can see a colourful glazed Five Dragons Screen, which is 17 meters long and about 4 meters high. With their vivid postures and expressions, the five dragons seem to fly up to the sky.
The whole temple is divided into four courtyards. In the first yard stand many tall ancient cypresses, planted during the Yuan and Qing dynasties. In the center, there is a large pool surrounded with stone balustrades and crossed by a two-hole stone bridge. On the eastern and western sides of the temple, there are two symmetrical pavilions - Geng Yi Pavilion (means dressing room) and Zhi Zhai Pavilion (means the sanctum) - and six stele pavilions recording the reconstructions of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
From here the first yard starts with many tall ancient cypresses, Wenmiao, Hancheng.
The second courtyard extends from Qian Door on the north side to Da Cheng Palace on the south. The palace is the main and most majestic building of the entire Confucius Temple. It stands on the center axis, with delicate carving on its exterior and a stone hathpace as its base. The third courtyard extends from Da Cheng Palace to Ming Lun Hall. Ming Lun Hall was built in Ming Dynasty (1368 --- 1644) with a stone stele forest and library on both sides. Above its door is one stele inscribed with four characters, "Shi Dao Zun Yan" which means "strict teacher ethics." This hall once was once used for lectures and sermons.
From Ming Lun Hall, moving to the north, visitors come to the Lection Collection Pavilion on a hathpace, which is the fourth yard. From this highest part of the whole temple, one can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city.
The temple grounds cover an area of 8100 square meters with buildings laid out symmetrically. The magnificent gateways and numerous halls, pavilions and shrines - elaborately roofed with glazed tiles - are representative of traditional Chinese architecture, which is simple and unsophisticated, imposing and grand. Therefore, the temple was listed among the important culturally protected buildings of Hangcheng on May 31st, 1957, and of Shaanxi Province in 1977.
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