Take a look at this Official Postcrossing card from China! Here is Tian Tan, or the Temple of Heaven, located in the country’s capital, Beijing. This is a complex that was completed in 1420 during the time of the Ming Dynasty, and was used by the emperors of the Ming and subsequent Qing Dynasties as a place for the emperor to worship the Heaven. This was known as the Heaven Worship Ceremony. The process involved rituals, music, dance, and the placement (and later, burning) of sacrificial offerings. The ceremony would take place in the Circular Mound Altar, a triple-layered circular platform in the southern part of the complex. On the opposite end is the building that you see here: The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. As you might expect, this was where the emperor prayed for good harvests! (I dig these kinds of naming conventions!) Each tier, or gable, of the building is adorned with blue tile, the color of which represents heaven. The interior and exterior are both decorated with symbols of Chinese culture, to include dragons and phoenixes. An architectural intricacy of this building is that there are no beams going across the ceiling; rather, there are three concentric circles of columns that are connected along the circumference (there’s some geometry schooling for ya). Each circle of columns represents a unit of time: the middlemost four represent the seasons (okay I guess this is a square, not a circle… time for ME to go back to geometry class…), the next 12 represent the months, and the outermost 12 represent “Shichen”, which is a unit of time that equates to two hours in the west. These columns, of course, are also very thoroughly decorated. Unfortunately, the original building was struck by lightning and burned down, but it was rebuilt in a way that maintained its former look. Today, the Temple of Heaven (again, this is the entire complex, not just this building) is an attraction for eager tourists, and since 1998 has been a UNESCO World Heritage site. Thank you so much for this brilliant postcard, Chen!