Ditan (The Earth Altar) was also known as Fangze altar and was
awarded as the "national heritage protection unit" on June 10, 2006.
The altar is the second largest one of five ancient altars in
Beijing. Ditan Park was built in the ninth year of Emperor Jiajing
reign in the Ming Dynasty (AD 1530), and it was used to be the place
where emperors in Ming and Qing feted the "Imperial Land God". The
altar is also the largest one among the existing altars in China.
The altar is shaped as a square and covers a total area of 37.4
hectares. The structure
of building follows an ancient Chinese architecture rule of "round
heaven and square land".
is rare to see foreign people or tourists in the actual Temple of
Earth in the park. The Temple itself is actually a very small (and
underwhelming - when comparing with the Temple of Heaven) portion of
the park. Aside form the Temple, the park offers a children's play
arcade, water calligraphy (where tourists can purchase over sized
brushes and "paint" with water on the cement.), food, and other
attractions. The park is frequented by joggers and runners, and is a
very popular place to do Tai Chi. Since the 1980s, traditional
temple fairs have been held regularly during the Chinese lunar new
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