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The Confucius Temple

Located in Qufu County, the Confucius Temple is the place for offering sacrifice to Confucius, a great Chinese thinker and educationist. First constructed in 478 B.C., the extant main structures were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. They comprise 3 halls, 1 tower, 1 altar, 3 memorial temples, 2 boarding houses, 17 pavilions, 54 archways etc. Encircled by red walls, the temple measures 2 kilometers long, with an area of nearly 22 hectares.

Dacheng Hall (Great Perfection Hall): It's the principal Hall where sacrifices were offered to Confucius then. The Hall measuring 32 meters high and 54 meters wide, with a foundation area of 1,330 square meters, has double eaves, 9 roof-ridges, and sparkling with yellow tiles, red lattices, painted golden dragons and phoenixes. Its front is arrayed with ten columns, 5.7 meters high, and each sculptured with two giant coiled dragons playing a precious ball in between, on a background of carved mountains, rocks, waves and drifting clouds.

Dacheng Gate: It's the Temple's seventh arch-gate constructed in the Ming Dynasty, with a 5-bay front, and yellow glazed tiles and out-stretching roof-eaves, and standing upon a carved stone foundation. Both its front and back stairways are ornamented with a central flight of imperial steps with relief dragons. 8 columns with carved dragons and 4 columns with bold relief dragons support the eaves. Starting from the Dacheng Gate, the entrance road to the Dacheng Hall branches into left, right and middle paths. Qisheng Gate and Chengsheng Gate lead to the buildings on the west and east sides respectively.

The steles of the Temple dated back as early as the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties, and as recent as "The Republic of China", and were inscribed in a wide range of famous calligraphy such as regular script, cursive script, official script current in the Han Dynasty, seal characters etc. The characters are in various sizes, with some as large as several square meters, and some as small as a few square centimeters. The themes covered by over 2,000 pieces of steles include homage to the Temple, sacrificial notice, renovation of the Temple, inscription on tomb tablet, eulogy on a painting, poems, famous model calligraphy etc. It's a large-scale forest of steles rarely seen in China.

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