The Nanjing Confucius Temple, known in Mandarin as Fuzimiao (“Confucian Temple”), is a complex to revere Confucius, the founder of the philosophy of Confucianism, perhaps the most influential native systems of thought in ancient Chinese history. Confucius espoused ideas regarding the proper functioning of society, emphasizing ideas regarding sincerity, private and public ethics, and responsibility. Confucius was born in 551 BCE in the Lu Kingdom, south of Shandong Province. As a sign of respect for his knowledge, he was honorably referred as “Kong fu zi” or “sage/master Kong”.
A revered thinker, he has many students all over China to this day. After his death, his philosophical ideas were collected by his students and put into writing which was compiled in “The Analects of Confucius,” which was required reading for students and for professional advancement in China for centuries.With the wide spread of Confucian learning throughout East Asia, Confucian temples were also built in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. Arguably, however, the most famous one is found in Nanjing, China.
Built in the middle of the 11th century during the Song Dynasty, the Nanjing Temple of Confucius is located on Gongyuan Street near the bank of the Qinhua River. The Confucius Temple architectural complex mainly covers the temple, Xue gong, and Jiangnan Garden, which are all the highlight of Qinhua Scenic area. Surrounding the temple complex are a host of shops, restaurants, and cafes to cater to tourists.
The Temple of Confucius revolves around the Dacheng Hall, which marks axis lines between the Screen Wall and Weishan from south to north. It covers 26,300 square meters, or 6.5 acres, and is blended with the surrounding high wall and delicate turrets. In the center of the temple grow eight maidenhair trees, the center of which lies a straight stone-paved path leading to the Dacheng Hall, the main hall of the temple. When coming to the main hall, the first sight visitors experience is the bronze Confucius statue, standing nearly 14 feet (4.18 meters) high and weighing 2 3/4 tons (2,500 kg), making it the biggest statue of Confucius in China.
Dacheng Hall is the main hall of Confucius Temple, 53 feet high, 92 feet wide, and 71 feet long, in the middle of which hangs the 21-foot-long portrait of Confucius. In the hall are displayed stone and jade chimes, as well as other 13 kinds of musical instruments played for sacrificing in ancient times. These instruments would be regularly played for visitors to appreciate the charm of ancient Chinese music.
Near the temple is Jiangnan Examination Hall, where for many generations, imperial examinations were given to students based on the teaching of Confucius, the largest hall of its kind in China. Within the hall is a museum where visitors can appreciate the meaning the imperial examinations had for prospective civil servants through multiple Chinese dynasties.
In spite of the colder weather that comes with most winters in northern China, the Jinliang Latern Fair is held on the temple grounds in the first month of the lunar year. The summer typically sees more crowding as tourism season heats up.
How to get to: Take the bus of No. 4, 7, 40, 44, 49, 62, 304, 2, 14, 16, 23, Tourist2, Tourist4, 26, 33, 43, 46, 63, 81, 87, 101, 102, 103, 106, 305 and get off at Confucius Temple.
Take a look at more of the other unique wonders found in Nanjing or check out more sights in China!