A flank view of YongdingMen, the Southernmost Gate of the City during the Qing Dynasty Era (1644 AD - 1911 AD). The Gate lies a short walk East and slightly South of the XianNongTan - Altar of Agriculture.
function until 1911 AD. Even then the abdicated Emperor (Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi) continued his ritual visits to the Altars (as written in "From Emperor to Citizen") until he was forced out of The Palace in 1924 AD and not much later whisked away by Japanese agents to Shenyang in Japanese controlled Manchuria.
The Altar of the Moon was constructed in the West outside the City Gates of FuchengMen and FuxingMen. It is known as Temple of the Moon Park (YueTan Gongyuan) today. The Altar of the Moon is balanced in the East by the Altar of the Sun and accompanying Temple of the Sun, which can still be found in the Eastern Chaoyang District. They are found inside Ritan (Altar of the Sun) Park.
Welcome to China Report's Digital Introduction to Xian Nong Tan or the Altar of Agriculture in the Xuanwu District of Beijing.
The Altar of Agriculture is one of eight in its kind. Today Six of the 8 Altars remain fairly preserved and can be visited at various sites around the City. The Most important of the ancient Altars are -clockwise around the City- the Altar of Earth (Fangze Tan), the Altar of the Sun (Ri Tan), the Altar & Temple of Heaven, the Altar of Agriculture and last the Altar of the Moon.
The lesser Altars of the Gods of the Sky (Tianshentan), the Altar of the Gods of the Earth (Diqitan) and the Altar dedicated to the Goddess of Silk Worms complete the list.
A view of the Main Southern Entrance of XianNongTan at YondingMen XiJie'(Yongding gate West Street). Its the Entrance to bot Sports Stadium, Museum and the Altar remnants.
inside its very own Park, just North across the second ring road from YongHeGong - The Lama Temple which is balanced by the Altar of Agriculture in the South-West.
The Main Altar, The Altar of Heaven and the Temple of Heaven lie very nearby the Altar of Agriculture, at still a stiff walks Distance. Beijing was conceived on a
A Schematic Map of the Old City of Beijing in the Ching Dynasty -stuation as until
Summer of 1900 AD.
This Map includes the Location of the 5 Altars of the Ming Dynasty.
Grand Scale, and one can tell when hiking about its many historic Monuments.
An overview of East Xuanwu and Most of Chongwen District with the location of Hong Qiao Market clearly marked.
Walk westward from Yongding Men to cross some major highway overpasses and end up at the South Entrance of XianNongTan Park
Immediatly south of the Altar of Agricultre Park & sports stadium, plus the YondingMen flows a conccrete Canal which is a direct remnant of the Moat surrounding the Ching Dynasty Capital
kilometer distance. Up until after the year 2000 one could make out the Yongdingmen as a dot on the horizon from afar. However, today the Gate is usually shrouded in Beijing's polluted smog.
It is quite a walk down to YongdingMen and the Former City Walls. However, following the busy boulevard along its green center there is plenty to see. Among things there is sufficient space to fly Kites, which is a common scene near the YongdingMen.
Other practice sports or Tai Chi, or just loiter around and have a nap on one of the benches.
Get down to the Gate itself, which marks the starting point of the all important Feng Shui related Central Axis of the Imperial City. The Gate itself was built as part of a new layer of
The Altar of Agriculture is best found Navigating from the the Huge Temple of Heaven Park in the South-West of Chongwen District and the Old Imperial City.
Locate the Temple of Heaven Park on your Map, then follow the Path out of the Temple of Heaven Park's Western (Heavenly) Gate to end up at YongdingMen Nei Dajie' or Yongding gate Inner Street. Once at this busy boulevard head south towards where the road widens into a ceremonial boulevard. On your right side the XianNongTan Stadium, your destination will come into view behind some greenery. Beyond to the South YongdingMen is visible at about a
Traffic at YongdingMen Xidajie' can be so busy one would hardly notice the Former City Moat on the other side.
From YongdingMen Navigation is easy. Just head down the pedestrian passage on the Western Side of the Gate to cross underneath the western side of YongdingMen Nei Dajie' and the traffic intersection into the Xuanwu District.
After passing underneath it is only another 2 to 300 Meters before the Main Gate comes into view.
To Not miss out, cross over the wide YongdingMen West Street and have a look at the former City Moat.
The Moat comes down from the Western Yuyuantan Park and its large Ponds found in the Haidian District. From this park it pass in a southward direction through the (demolished)
The Main Gate of XianNongTan Park, with a Good View of the Sports Stadium. The Altar is located behind and North of the Stadium itself.
Today, a fairly wide concrete channel without much attraction, in the past the Moat was much wider, wide enough for cargo vessels to sail on, and thus it was impossible to cross.
It is the very Moat first faced by the Allied Armies who reached Beijing in 1900 AD, in an attempt to relief
the besieged Legation Quarter inside the City during the 1900 AD "Boxer" Rebellion and War. The original Yongding Gate was destroyed by Cannon fire at that Time, after which the Foreign Nations took control of the City of Beijing.
Very many years later the space left by the removal of YongdingMen was used to connect major roads in the area, and the whole area became a giant highway overpass and intersection. In a recent reversal however, Yongding men was rebuilt, on a much smaller scale than the Original, sacrificing a major road which now lies abandoned and cut, just south of the Gate along the Moat Canal.
Majestic view of the Traditional styled Main Gate of XianNongTan Park with Yongdingmen in the distance. Take a Taxi directly to the Gate or try the scenic Hike.
No other worthwhile scenes are in the immediate vicinity, so either head inside the Park gate to have a look at the Stadium and the Altar of Agriculture remnants or Go to another location. Due West along YongdingMen West Street lies the Taoranting Park of the Xuanwu District. Its a good place to rest, with several good restaurants nearby.
Usually no permission to enter needs to be asked at XianNongTan Park Gate and one can freely pass inside to have a look around the large Park, Stadium and sports Facilities.
Together, the main eight Altars were vital in the communications of the earthly ruling Emperor and the Heavens from which he supposedly took his Guidance, hence establishing and maintaining the "Mandate of Heaven".
All Altars date from the Yuan- and Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty Era's and were in