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Imperial College (Guozijian)

The Imperial College (Guozijian) is located at Guozijian Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing. It was first established in 1306 and extended several times shortly afterward. It is widely recognized as the highest official institution during the Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

To the east of the college lies the Confucian Temple, built in memory of Confucius (551 BC-479 BC). He is a celebrated thinker, politician and educator during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC), and, of course, the founder of Confucianism. The architectural layout is in accordance with Chinese tradition where a temple should lie to the left of the college and both face south. The Imperial College is a famous cultural and historical site in Beijing with exquisite design. Along the central axis of the College lies the Jixian Gate, Taixue Gate, Glazed Archway, Biyong Hall, Yilun Hall and Jingyi Pavilion. There are six halls on each side of the central axis. The whole complex forms a Chinese traditional symmetrical layout.

In the front of the college lies the Jixian Gate which means assembling virtues. On each side of the gate stand a well pavilion, consisting a well and a subsidiary pavilion above the well to protect it. Beyond the second Taixue Gate lies a bell tower and a drum tower on its each side and the magnificent Glazed Archway. Biyong Hall in the center of the college is encircled by a pool and white marble railings. It was built in 1784 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty, and was a place for the Qing emperors to deliver their lectures. Every emperor after Emperor Kangxi would deliver their speech at Biyong Hall on the day of ascending the throne. This showed that the imperial government took higher education seriously. For students of that time, the supreme glory was graduating from this college. From then on, the college accepted domestic as well as foreign students from Korea, Japan, Russia, Vietnam and other countries. The reading room, Yilun Hall, to the north of Biyong Hall, was once used for storing books.

There are 190 well-preserved stone tablets, engraved with the Thirteen Classics, including The Book of Song, The Analects of Confucius, The Annals and other books. Under the order of Emperor Qianlong, Jiang Heng, a scholar from Jiangsu Province, spent 20 years finishing the task of carving 630,000 Chinese characters onto these stone tablets.

The Imperial College is promoting heavily the development of Chinese culture and the cultural exchange between China and foreign countries. With its quiet environment and significant cultural and historical value, it is without a doubt an ideal place for sightseeing.

Admission Fee:
CNY 30 (through ticket including the Confucius Temple and the Imperial College)
Opening Hours:
09:00-16:30 (Tuesday-Sunday)
Bus Route:
13, 116, 684, 807 to Guozijian (Imperial College)