china edition
 

 

Nanjing - Confucius Temple

Jiangsu - Lianyungang - Nanjing - Suzhou - Wuxi - Yangzhou - Zhenjiang

Nanjing Confucius Temple, Fuzimiao in Chinese, is the holy shrine of Confucius, the outstanding ancient Chinese philosopher and thinker. The temple was first built in 1034 in the Song dynasty, expanded on the basis of the Imperial Academy of the East Jin dynasty.

The complex consists of Confucius Temple, the Imperial Academy and Gongyuan where provincial and national examinations were held. However, people called the complex and surrounding streets Confucius Temple due to custom.

The grand complex structure experienced vicissitudes of history. It was burnt and restored for many times. In 1937, brutal Japanese invaders burnt it into ashes. However, it was rebuilt by the local government in accordance with Ming and Qing style in 1984, and rated as one of the top 40 tourist attractions in 1991.

Confucius TempleConfucius Temple has the largest screen wall in China, which is 10 m high and 110 m long. The main structure is Dacheng Hall, seated on a 1.5 meter high base and measuring 16.22 m in height, 28.1 meter in width and 21.7 meter in depth. In front of the hall, there is a platform where ancient sacrificing, dancing and singing were performed. These acitivities have been revived.

On the sides of the pathway leading to the hall, 8 Confucius' disciples, sculptures of white marble, stand. On a stand before the hall, there is a 4.18 meter tall bronze sculpture of Confucius, the largest of its kind within the nation. Inside of the hall, 4 white marble saints flank a huge portrait of Confucius hung at the center, which is also the largest of its kind. On the walls inside, there are 38 pictures recording Confucius' deeds. The pictures are decorated with various gems, gold and silver.

Mingyuan Tower, the main structure of Gongyuan, used to be the commanding center in the session of examinations. Behind the tower, examination rooms arrayed, one for each student. They had to live in those shabby rooms during the session. At its peak time, it covered a space of 70,000 square meter and had 20,644 rooms, excluding rooms for governmental personnel.

The place was red-light district in ancient time, especially in the Ming and Qing dynasties. When national examinations were held, service industry prospered to provide thousands of candidates various services. Book houses, teahouses, hotels and whorehouses appeared like mushrooms. Many famous, talented and versatile prostitutes came to be known. The annually lantern festival held here also earned a lot of fame.