Today was a very laid back day. Several took the day off to rest but, for the others still brave at heart and strong in will, it was off to the Confucian Temple and its next door neighbor, the Imperial College, an institute of higher learning in imperial times.
This complex is actually very close to the Lama Temple that we went to earlier on this trip. At the Imperial College, candidates from all over the country came to take the civil service exams. Their exam results would decide whether and how they were going to serve the government. The better one did, the higher their position and the closer they were to the emperor.
At the Confucian temple, originally built in 1302 and expanded in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, memorial services were held in honor of Confucius by the Emperor and other people. I read on one of the signs that they actually did dances there. The more influence you had, the more dancers you could hire.
One of the aspects I liked the most about this place was the old trees. Many of Beijing’s temples and palaces have these. They are often twisted and crooked but beautiful. There are quite a few that are over 300 years old.