Altar of Heaven

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Altar of Heaven. An architectural complex located south of the old Inner City of Beijing (Peking), just to the east of the north-south axial way. Venerated Chinese writings such as the Classic of History and the Book of Rites mention the Shang and early Chou emperors worshipping at ‘suburban altars’, and each of the succeeding dynasties built an Altar of Heaven south of their capital city for this purpose. Although Beijing's Altar of Heaven is the most recent example, a roofless, three-tiered circular platform constructed of concentric circles of paving stones. See also ALTAR OF EARTH.