Epcot's China Pavilion Puts the Temple of Heaven Center Stage

Epcot's World Showcase is home so some beautiful feats of landscaping and architecture. No more so is this apparent than in the tranquil and serene China Pavilion with its exteriors painted in bright colors set against white stone lined walkways and lush green gardens. Soothing traditional music plays throughout the pavilion and the reflecting pond outside beckons guests closer to the temple, where they can enjoy the Circle-Vision 360 film "Reflections of China."

Lush Gardens of the China PavilionLush Gardens of the China Pavilion

The Pavilion is dominated by a representation of Bejing's Temple of Heaven, a cultural treasure which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. According to UNESCO the temple "symbolizes the relationship between earth and heaven - the human world and God's world - which stands at the heart of Chinese cosmogony, and also the special role played by the emperors within that relationship." Guests touring Epcot are treated to an exquisite replica of the original.

The three-tiered circular building is a one-half scale reproduction of its counterpart inside the 800-year old Chinese Temple of Heaven complex. The original temple was the site of an annual pilgrimage by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to offer prayers to heaven for a good harvest. The symbolic design of the complex influenced many centuries of Asian architecture, and in gracefully executed at Epcot by Disney's Imagineers.

Epcot's Paifang Gate and Temple of Heaven BeyondEpcot's Paifang Gate and Temple of Heaven Beyond

The brightly painted walls of the temple were painstakingly duplicated and are capped with special deep blue tiles representing heaven above. Within the main building you'll find a circular center floor stone surrounded by nine stones. The number nine is considered to be lucky in China and has historically been associated with the Emperors, dragons, and harmony.

The extraordinary acoustics inside are near perfect and can amplify every whisper. Four pillars support the center of the room and represent the four seasons of the year, while the outer walls are supported with twelve pillars that symbolize the twelve months in a year and twelve years in the Chinese calendar.

Temple of Heaven at NightTemple of Heaven at Night

Many guests find the location a perfect place to settle down for a while inside the Hall of Prayer. This air-conditioned movie pre-show area offers benches to sit and rest while contemplating the exquisite artwork of the pavilion. The movie itself however, is standing room only.

Have you visited Epcot's Temple of Heaven? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought!

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