Telephone: 8610-84011977 Address: 15 Guozijianjie, Andingmennei, Dongcheng District Fees: RMB 20
The Imperial College is located immediately to the west of the Confucian Temple and connects to the temple through a side gate. Generally recognized as the highest official institution of learning in Imperial China, it was first established in 1287 during the Yuan Dynasty and subsequently enlarged several times, attaining its present dimensions during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. After the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, the Imperial College was completely renovated and the Capital Library was incorporated within its grounds.
After entering the main gate, the visitor will be confronted by a pair of wells and the Taixue (Highest Scholarship) Gate, also known as the Jixian (Assembled Virtue) Gate. Inside this gate is a glazed tile memorial archway with bell and drum towers to the east and west. Directly in front of the gate is the famous Biyong (Jade Disc) Hall. The square pavilion, which stands in the center of a circular pond, has a double-eaved roof surmounted by a gilded sphere. The pond is crossed by four marble bridges and provided on four sides with stone spouts in the shape of dragonheads. It was here that the emperor came occasionally to expound the classics to an audience composed of civil and military officials from the Imperial Court and students of the Imperial College.
The east and west auxiliary halls of the Biyong Hall originally housed the Qianlong Stone Scriptures. In the middle of the 18th century, Emperor Qianlong gave orders to have the Thirteen Classics engraved in stone. To carry out this order, Jiang Heng, a scholar from Jiangsu Province, spent 20 years carving the 630,000 Chinese characters onto 189 stone tablets. Today these tables are located to the east of the Taixue Gate.
Behind the Biyong Hall stands the former Chongwen (Exalted Literature) Pavilion which was used as a library during the Yuan Dynasty. Later its name became the Yilun (Ethics) Hall. Here the emperor and other noted scholars gave lectures during the period before the Biyong Hall was built. It is now one of the reading rooms of the Capital Library.
Bus: 13, 116, 807
Metro: Line 2 and get off at Lama Temple Station
Opening hours: 9:00—16:30, close on Monday
Visitors can choose to take Subway Line 2 from the Lama Temple Station to Xizhimen Station for eating as there are many restaurants there for selection.
1. Moscow Restaurant
It was the first foreign restaurant established in Beijing. It not only added Russian flavor to the Chinese diet but also added Russian architecture to Beijing.
Add: 135 Xizhimenwai Dajie, Beijing Exhibition Center
Open: 11am-2pm, 5pm-9pm
2. Donglaishun Muslim Restaurant
This restaurant has provided traditional Beijing Hotpot since 1903 as a long-standing restaurant.
Add: Floor3, Building D, Chengming Building, No. 2 Xizhimennei South Street, Xicheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010-51901730 51971777
3. Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun (Baozi) Restaurant
An old brand name in Beijing, it features baozi stuffed with three fillings: lean pork, mushrooms and shelled shrimps.
Add: Xizhimenwai Street, (East of the Debao Hotel, West of the Xizhimen Subway Station)
4. Jindingxuan (Golden Pot)
Jindingxuan is a Cantonese style tea restaurant, providing Chinese snack foods.
Add: No.77 Hepinglixi Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing (Near the Lama Temple Subway Station)
Tel: 010-64296888 64299888
Add: No. 43 Yonghegong Street, Dongcheng district
The Culture and the Education of Beijing
Beijing of the Ming Dynasty was not only the political center of China but also the center of science, technology, culture and education. It was also the place where talented people gathered. At that time, a number of cultural and educational administrative institutions like the Imperial Colleges and four other institutions such as the Examination Hall, the Directorate of Astronomy, the Supreme Hospital and the Translation Bureau etc. were founded and the Supreme College was abandoned. The Imperial College was not only an administrative institution for education but also the top college of the entire county and it was called the Institute for Esteem Teaching. There were two Imperial Colleges in the Ming Dynasty, the Southern College in Nanjing and the Northern College in Beijing. The Imperial College in Beijing thrived to a large degree. Beside it was the Confucian Temple. The Confucian classics were widely studied text-books. The talented were transmitted to the government by Imperial Examinations or by recommendations. Bookstores could be found here and there and the industry related to books and learning thrived. Private and the official collections of books were common. Science and technology progressed swiftly and vigorously. During the 227 years of the Ming Dynasty, Beijing enjoyed a colorful cultural life with fruits in science and technology.
The Metropolitan Examination was held once every three years. Tens of thousands candidates flocked to Beijing at the year of the examination. From the thirteenth ruling year of Emperor Yongle to the 16th ruling year of Emperor Chongzhen, 22,649 people came to attend examinations in 77 different subjects. Those who passed the examinations were called State Scholars who were qualified to attend the Palace Examination. The first three positions belonged respectively to the Top Scholar, the Runner-up Scholar, and the Second Runner-up Scholar. The Beijing Imperial College provided virtuous and sagacious people for the government as the top college in the whole country. During the ruling years of Emperor Yongle as many as one million students studied there including students from overseas.
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