The Temple of Heaven was the place where emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) held the Heaven Worship Ceremony. It is China's largest and most representative example of ancient sacrificial buildings. First built in 1420, it was enlarged and rebuilt during the reigns of the Ming Emperor Jiajing and the Qing Emperor Qianlong.
Covering an area of 2.7M sq meters (3.5M sq yards), the Temple of Heaven is larger than the Forbidden City. As the 'Sons of Heaven’, Chinese emperors were precluded from building a dwelling for themselves that was larger than the earthly residence dedicated to Heaven.
The temple is enclosed by a long wall. The northern part within the wall is semicircular symbolizing the heavens and the southern part is square symbolizing the earth. The northern part is higher than the southern part. This design shows that the heaven is high and the earth is low and the design reflected an ancient Chinese thought of 'the heaven is round and the earth is square'.
In 1988, the Temple of Heaven was opened to the public as a park and seems to be a very popular meeting place.