A quiet sanctuary away from the smoggy streets of Beijing, the restored main hall of this temple contains a statue of the sage Kongzi (Confucius). It is the second largest Confucian Temple in China, after the sanctuary in Confucius’ hometown of Qufu.
Inside the temple, stone tablets record the names of more than 50,000 learned scholars from the Yuan, Ming Qing dynasties. Also recorded are generations of ancient academics who managed to pass the Imperial Examination, regarded by historians as the world’s first standardized merit-based test.
Nearby is the Imperial College, built in 1306 by the grandson of Kublai Khan to teach Confucian classics. It was the supreme academy of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, where even the emperor came once a year to expound the classics to an audience of thousands.