Tranquility, relaxation and the scent of incense, this is Guozijian Street, a street combining antiquity with the avant-garde, combining Beijing’s past and present. Housing the Confucian Temple in the east and the Imperial College in the west, the street gradually took shape some 700 years ago.
Guozijian Street connects to the Yonghegong Lama Temple in the east. The perfumed aroma of sandalwood from the incense shops at the street entrance fills the air. Yet gradually, the scent of ancient books prevails as one explores further down the street and towards the Confucian Temple and Imperial College.
The Confucian Temple is where the sacrifices to Confucius were made during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties (1271-1911). Gnarled cypress trees outside the gate create thick shade from the sun. On each side of the gate stands a huge marble stele inscribed in Mandarin and Mongolian ordering all horse riders, even the emperor, to dismount. The glazed yellow tiles on the roof reveal the temple’s past dignity.
Beside the Confucian Temple is the Imperial College, the highest educational institution during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, which was once the dream destination for ancient scholars.