Workers Cultural Palace

sights / Parks & gardens

Workers Cultural Palace information

Location
Běijīng , China
Tennis court
+86 6512 2856
Getting there
Subway: Tian'anmen East
Prices
park entrance ¥2, tennis court per hour ¥80, Supreme Temple ¥10
Opening hours
6.30am-7.30pm, tennis court 6am-11.30pm
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Despite the prosaic name and its location at the very heart of town, this reclusive park, between Tiān’ānmén Sq and the Forbidden City, is one of Běijīng’s best-kept secrets. Few visitors divert here from their course towards the main gate of the Forbidden City, but this was the emperor’s premier place of worship and contains the Supreme Temple , with its beautifully carved interior roofing.

If you find the Forbidden City either too colossal or crowded, the temple halls here are a cheaper, more tranquil and more manageable alternative. Enter the temple area of the park through the striking Glazed Gate (琉璃门; Liúli Mén). Then, rising up to the splendid Front Hall are three flights of steps. Only gods could traverse the central plinth; the emperor was consigned to the left-hand flight. Note how the plaque above the Front Hall is inscribed in both Chinese and Manchu. Sadly this hall, as well as the Middle Hall and Rear Hall behind, is inaccessible. The northern perimeter of the park abuts the palace moat, where you can find a bench and park yourself in front of a fine view. For an offbeat experience, practise your backhand within a ball's bounce of the Forbidden City at the Royal Tennis Centre , near the park's east gate. There's also a south gate, for Tiān'ānmén Sq, and a northwest gate, for the Forbidden City.