The Great Temple of Confucius in Qufu
Qufu, praised as "the Oriental Jerusalem" by Europeans, is the hometown of Confucius.
Temple of Confucius, the former residence of Confucius, once was the place where the ancient emperors offered their sacrificial services to Confucius.
It was first constructed as early as 478BC (200 years earlier than the Great Wall) and rebuilt and expanded many times in the following dynasties.
The Temple of Confucius is one of China's three ancient buildings which include Forbidden City in Beijing, the Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples in Chengde and Temple of Confucius in Qufu.
The temple was constructed in 478BC, one year after Confucius' death, at the order of the Duke of Ai of the State of Lu, who thought that the Confucian residence should be used to worship and offer sacrifice to Confucius.
The temple became national one in Eastern Han Dynasty (153AD) and was expanded repeatedly in the following dynasties.
In Song Dynasty, about 1018, the temple was rebuilt in larger scale.
During Ming Dynasty, about in 1499, the temple was destroyed by a big fire and rebuilt in 1504.
The existing temple was mainly constructed in Ming and Qing dynasties.
Occupying an area of 32,750 square kilometers, Temple of Confucius is 600 meters long and 145 wide.
There are nine courtyards and over 460 halls along three routes in the left, right and middle.
The front portal of the temple was called Lingxi Gate.
According to ancient legend, Lingxing was the star of wisdom.
The Lingxing Gate was constructed in 1754 during the rule of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty.
Kuixing Pavilion situated at the center of the temple, was the place where many rare ancient books collect.
Kuixing Pavilion was built in 1018 and rebuilt in 1483.
The main building, situated in the inner courtyard with entry via the Dachengmen, was usually known as the Dachengdian, literally translated as "Hall of Great Achievement".
This Hall was usually used to offer sacrifice to Confucius by ancient emperors.
In front of Danchengdian is Apricot Pavilion or Xingtan.
It is said that Xingtan was the place where Confucius had delivered his lectures.
With the spread of Confucian learning throughout Asia, Confucian temple was also constructed in other Asian countries like Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
And some even were built in Europe and American.
Now there are over 3,000 temples of Confucius in existence in the world.