Kong Miao, the Confucius Temple in Beijing, is located in Guozijian Street near the Yonghe Palace (Lama Temple) and houses a display on the culture and history of Beijing. It was the place that Confucius was worshipped during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (1271-1911).
The Confucius Temple in Beijing is one of the most important Confucius temples in China, only next to the one in Confucius hometown of Qufu in Shandong Province. It is an extensive haven of tranquility in the heart of Beijing, and forms part of a larger compound containing the Imperial College.
The Temple of Confucius was first built by Kublai Khan in the Yuan Dynasty, and was restored on several occasions during the Ming and Qing dynasties. In 1737, during the reign of Qing Emperor Qianlong, the major hall was renovated and was recovered with magnificent yellow glazed roof tiles. In 1860, when the worship of Confucius was further emphasized by the Qing Government, the temple underwent extensive restoration which lasted until 1916.
The Temple's main hall houses musical instruments that were important for Confucian ceremonies. Inside the hall it feels more like a museum rather than a place of worship. Outside in the courtyards are gnarled cypress trees sprawl amongst squat pavilions holding stone stele. The small, carved stone drums on the either side of the main gateway, beautifully were inscribed with hunting poems. The temple also contains 198 stone tables inscribed with the names of those individuals who passed the test to become a Mandarin during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.
The Imperial Academy sits next to the Confucius Temple. The Academy was founded in 1306 and taught language and martial arts. In 1462 it had 13,000 students. Today the Academy is the Capital Library, which houses collections on the social sciences and the local history.