Temple of Sun Park
RitanPark, a national AAA tourist attraction and a historic site under national protection, is located on Ritan North Road, Chaoyang District, about 10 kilometers from the center of the city. It is a spot of cultural interest in classical garden. Ritan, or Temple of Sun, was built in 1530, or the 9th year of Emperor Jiajing’s reign in the Ming Dynasty. Before the People’s Republic was founded, many pieces of ancient architectures had been vandalized or stolen. In 1951, the government of Beijing decided to turn it into a park. In 1956, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Parks requisitioned surrounding lands and expanded the park to 206,200 square meters, and opened it to the public.
Ritan (Temple of Sun) is one of the five altars, famous historic sites in Beijing. It was the place where the Ming and Qing emperors worshipped the god of the Sun. It covers an area of 206,200 square meters, of which 124,273.36 square meters are covered by greenery, 4,700 square meters covered by water, and 10,357 square meters covered by ancient architectures. There are 44 ancient trees in the park. In the past few years, while maintaining its cultural traits, the park has been updated with modernized facilities.
The park has completed and opened to the public a children’s amusement park and a fishing area. Since 1992, it has attracted large numbers of tourists with activities that are rich in culture, such as music festivals, flower shows in the spring, morning exercises performances, and adoption of ancient trees.
The major attractions of the park are: the Altar,West Heavenly Gate, North Heavenly Gate, Divine Depot and Divine Kitchen, Slaughter Pavilion, Dressing Hall, sacrificial mural, the southwest scenic area, China Rose in Round Ponds, Yuxin Garden, Peony Garden, and senior citizens’ area. The altar to the sun is a west-facing square platform built of white stones. There are three Lingxing gates built of white stones on its due west, and another three respectively on its east, south, and north. Between the outer altar, which lies directly opposite the west Lingxing gates, and West Heaven Gate is a sacred road that used to be taken by the emperor when he came for offering sacrifices.
Dressing Hall: This is a square courtyard, with a three-bay south-facing main hall in the north, which is flanked by a three-bay east-facing wing hall and a west-facing one. The halls, surrounded by palace walls, were for the emperor to change his clothes or rest.
The southwest scenic area: This blends the view of South China courtyard and the plain elegance of the northern garden. In its vicinity is a 4,700-square-meter lake, on the bank of which are ancient-style waterside houses, a stone boat, and little pavilions. A curved bridge and an arch bridge span it from north to south. It is girt with a meandering path; a eastward stroll along which leads to a secluded place. The cliff beside the lake commands a view of the lake blended with the hills.
YuxinGarden: This 3,000-square-meter garden has pleasant scenery. A tortuous path runs across it in the cool shade of 40-year-old chinars with a diameter of 1 meter.
Senior citizens’ area: This area covers an area of 5,000 square meters. There are 6 stone sculptures based on folklore that stand on its west side, in keeping with the cultural atmosphere in the park. There are many kinds of trees and 300 peonies of famous species, whose fragrance pervades the area when they are in blossom. This is a beautiful, quiet, and comfortable place for senior citizens to rest and exercise.
Address: No. 6 Ritan North Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing