Temple of Confucius (Kong Miao) in Qufu

Why is Temple of Confucius So Special?

Qufu Confucius Temple (Kong Miao in Chinese), at the hometown of Confucius, is the most famous and the largest temple of its kind in the memory of the sage. His ideology was developed to the influential Confucianism, which has had the most enduring and profound effect over Chinese culture. 

Where is Temple of Confucius

Located inside the south gate of Qufu, Shandong, the Temple of Confucius is a group of grand buildings built in oriental style. Together with the Summer Palace in Beijing and the Mountain Resort of Chengde , it is one of the three largest ancient architectural complexes in China.

History of Temple of Confucius

The Confucius Temple in Qufu began in 478 BC, the second year after the death of the sage, when there were three houses. As Confucianism becomes the standard of Chinese culture every year, its scale expands accordingly. Sacrifices are usually provided by the emperor himself or a high-ranking official appointed by the emperor. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Emperor Ganlong sacrificed here eight times. The gate of the temple is named Lingxing Gate. Ling Xing is the legendary star of literacy. When the emperor sacrificed to heaven, he first sacrificed to Ling Xing. The scale of sacrifice is as large as that given by heaven. This makes us understand the importance of saints in history.

Dacheng Palace, Confucius Temple The existing temples were rebuilt and renovated in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is modeled on the royal palace and divided into nine courtyards. The main building extends along the north-south axis and the subsidiary buildings are symmetrically arranged. The whole group includes three halls, a pavilion, an altar and three ancestral halls. There are 466 rooms and 54 gates, covering 218,000 square meters (2,346,609 square feet). Yellow tiles and red walls are covered with delicate decorations, making this place very grand.

Following the Sage Gate (Sheng Da Gate), these buildings are divided into three parts. The central part is to sacrifice for Confucius and other scholars and saints. The east is a sacrifice for his ancestors, while the west is for his parents.

However, Qufu Confucius Temple is famous not only for its magnificence, but also for the rich cultural relics found there. The 2100 stone tablets left over from past dynasties are exquisite displays of calligraphy and stone carvings.

About Confucius

Confucius (September 28, 551 – 479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period in ancient Chinese history. Confucius’ family and personal name respectively was Kong Qiu (孔丘in Chinese). His courtesy name was Zhongni (仲尼 in Chinese). In Chinese, he is most often known as Kongzi or Kong Fuzi.

Confucius’ philosophy emphasizes the morality of individual and government, the correctness of social relations, justice and sincerity. In the era of a hundred schools of thought contending, his followers successfully competed with many other schools, but were suppressed in the Qin Dynasty and supported Legalists. After the collapse of the Qin Dynasty, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty defeated Chu State. Confucius’ thought was officially recognized and further developed into a Confucian ideology. Confucius’ principles are based on China’s common traditions and beliefs. He regards family loyalty, wife’s respect for her husband, children’s respect for their elders and ancestor worship as his top priorities. He also suggested that the family should be the foundation of an ideal government. He regards the well-known principle “don’t do to others what you don’t want to do to yourself” as the golden rule of people’s behavior.

Layout of Temple of Confucius

The following three exquisite areas are the richest and most representative of the Temple’s beautiful architecture:

  • Xingtan Pavilion, Temple of ConfuciusDacheng Hall is the main hall. This hall is 24.8 meters (81feet) high on a base of 21 meters (69 feet), and is the highest building in the Temple as well as being one of the three largest ancient halls in China. Dacheng means master with great achievement, which truly describes the sage himself.
  • Located in front of the Dacheng Hall, Apricot Altar is said to be where Confucius preached. The Altar is surrounded by red fences with hills behind them. One finely decorated pavilion has a painted dragon and a stele engraved with Emperor Qianlong’s handwriting.
  • Kuiwen Pavilion, a library, is in the middle of the Temple. Kuixing was the legendary star responsible for literacy in ancient China. A famous wooden pavilion, Kuiwen Pavilion was daintily designed with two stories. The upper story houses classic books and writings given by emperors and kings while the lower story houses items used by the emperors when offering sacrifices to Confucius.

At the Temple, when surrounded by the stately halls, elegant pavilions, dignified memorial archway, and classical courtyard, every visitor will gain an insight into the life of Confucius and his role in Chinese culture.

Function Value

The development history of Confucius Temple in Qufu has outlined a great picture of the evolution of Chinese culture. The 2,000 years of development of Confucius Temple in Qufu witnessed the development of feudal society in China. The rich remains and complete data left by the development history of Confucian temple provide an important theoretical source for us to study the history, architecture and Confucian culture of Confucian temple.

How to Get There

Traffic Information No.9 bus gets off at the south gate of Confucius Temple and walks 200 meters to the scenic spot.

Useful Travel Tips

mission Fee: Feb. 16 – Nov. 14: CNY 90;
CNY 140 for through ticket of the Temple, Confucius Family Mansion & Cemetery;
Nov. 15 – the next Feb. 15: CNY 80;
CNY 140 for through ticket;
Free for children under 1.4m (4.6 feet).
Opening Hours: 07:30 to 16:30
Recommended Time for a Visit: One and a half hours
Bus Route: 1, 3

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Doreen/张洋