A Panoramic View of the Circular Mound Altar

Constructed in 1530, the altar was the place where the ceremony of worshipping heaven was held on the winter solstice each year; hence it was popularly known as the Terrace of Worshipping Heaven. The round terrace was first covered with deep blue glazed slabs that were subsequently replaced with light green stone slabs surrounded by a white marble balustrade when it was enlarged in 1749 (the 14th year of the Qing Emperor Qianlong’s reign). The steps of each leading flight, the slabs of each tier and the balustrade are nine or multiples of nine in number, symbolizing the nine layers of heaven and emphasizing its supreme importance.
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