The Temple of Heaven makes great use of colors and space to convey the importance this location had in Ancient China. Surrounded by a beautiful park (straightforwardly named Temple of Heaven Park) and, often, by storms of tourists, it dominates the scene. As well as being a temple, it is an imperial complex containing multiple structures and buildings.
In fact, as the name hints, this temple is where emperors, regarded as Tiānzǐ (literally Son of Heaven), would go to connect with Heaven to pray for good harvest. Two special ceremonies were held here each year: one on winter solstice and the other on New Year’s Day. The winter solstice ceremony was deemed of utmost importance, any imperfection would be a bad omen for the harvest of the entire year.
The Temple of Heaven is much larger than the Forbidden City, as no emperor could build for himself a residence larger than the one dedicated to heaven.
Each location in the complex gives a sense of both grandeur and solemnity, a feeling which would certainly have been made stronger by a lack of other visitors and by coming at the right hour of the day (as past emperors may have experienced it).
The complex fuels one’s imagination with a nostalgia for something no longer experienced, from a bygone era.
As you can imagine, I really enjoyed the place, except for the amount of loud, less mindful visitors.