Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism

Travel Back in Time in Hangzhou Confucius Temple

The sun is shining and the autumn wind is just right. In such good weather, it is a good idea to travel back in time in the Hangzhou Confucius Temple. Here, you can cultivate your mind and soul. In the temple, tablets can be seen everywhere, positioning people instantly in the ancient seat of learning in the capital city of the Southern Song Dynasty. Here, you can stop and appreciate the ancient moss-covered stone tiles, which seems to narrate the thousands-of-year history of the Confucius Temple.

When it comes to the protection of historical relics in Hangzhou, the first thing coming into our mind is the Confucius Temple. According to records, the Confucius Temple was built in 1131, the first year of Emperor Gaozong of the Song Dynasty (1131). In the 12th year, that is 1142, it was upgraded to the highest seat of learning by the Southern Song Dynasty.

Today's Confucius Temple is located at No. 8 Fuxue Lane (府学巷8号), at the foot of Wushan Hill on the southeast side of West Lake, next to Hefang Street. The lively surrounding environment makes the Confucius Temple "an oasis among a desert", giving visitors a sense of the poetic image of "a real hermit lives in the bustling place".

A New Life

The Confucius Temple has a history of a thousand years, and people who have witnessed its development and participated in it are countless like shimmering stars in the sky. Looking back at history, the development of the Confucius Temple has gone through many trials and tribulations.

Before 1949,

the small Confucius Temple had gone through many vicissitudes in the course of history, being abandoned and revived many times. 

After 1949,

Confucius Temple really ushered in its new life.

At the end of the 1970s, 

the provincial and municipal governments began to comprehensively renovate the Confucius Temple. They used a large number of ancient tablets collected by the Confucius Temple and the unsigned and scattered tablets collected over the years from the country to transform the Hangzhou Confucius Temple into the Hangzhou Stele Forest.

The year 2011

is a historic turning point for the Confucius Temple. In 2011, the restoration work of Hangzhou Confucius Temple was approved. In the same year, it was listed as a key project of "Creating a Famous Cultural City" by the Municipal Party Committee and the Municipal Government.

A New Look

The restored Confucius Temple is divided into two districts, the east and the west areas. The west area rebuilt the quintessence of Confucius Temple's classical culture and recreated the grand scenes of Confucius Temple in the Southern Song Dynasty. The east area is like a Jiangnan-style garden. Shijing Pavilion (石经阁), Astrology Hall (星象馆), Wenchang Pavilion (文昌阁), Taixue Hall (太学堂) and other buildings are irregularly scattered among rockeries and pools.

1  Lingxing Gate 棂星门

The first thing people see when entering Hangzhou Confucius Temple is the "Lingxing Gate." According to ancient legends, Lingxing (Ling Star) is the star of wisdom in the sky. Confucius Temple set the door name as "Lingxing" with the hope of a large number of talents emerging in the country.

2  Dacheng Hall 大成殿

Looking into the distance, Dacheng Hall is right there at the end of the square. The hall features East Asian Hip-and-Gable roofs, with ginkgo trees on both sides. With the leaves turning golden yellow, in the autumn sunshine, the solemn Dacheng Hall brings out a warm color, which makes people feel close.

Dacheng Hall is the main hall dedicated to Confucius. There is a statue of Confucius in the center, surrounded by the statues of Mencius (孟子), his disciples - Zengshen (曾参) and Yan Yuan (颜渊) as well as his grandson - Kong Ji (孔伋). When you are in the hall, it is like that you are traveling through time and space to see Confucius and his disciples talking about the past.

It is also worth mentioning that the ceiling of Dacheng Hall is covered with colorful paintings. If you look up, it's like that you are looking at a bright starry sky on a summer night.

In addition to offering sacrifices, the Confucius Temple in Hangzhou also has a wall of prayer. Next to the Dacheng Hall, there is a large red wooden frame hung with many wish plates, which added a little gentleness to the solemn Confucius Temple.

3  Stone Tablets 石碑

Nearly 500 stone tablets, containing profound historical accumulations and rich cultural connotations, are displayed in the pavilions, platforms and towers in harmony with the graceful and restrained Jiangnan garden. The classics engraved on stone tablets from the Southern Song Dynasty in Shijing Pavilion were announced by the Zhejiang Provincial People's Government as the first batch of key cultural relic protection units in Zhejiang Province.

Entering the hall of stone tablets, a quaint and solemn atmosphere greets you. As you peruse the contents of the stone tablets, you will find yourself know a little more about the past and present life of Hangzhou.

4  Astrology Hall 星象馆

This is a venue full of fantasy and romantic atmosphere. Inside the hall are preserved five generations of stone astrological maps. Being in the middle of it, one can marvel at the changes of science and technology over thousands of years and imagines that maybe in the parallel time and space, ancient people and we are bathing in the same starry sky.

Today's Confucius Temple opens the door to the majority of travel enthusiasts for free.