Imperial Vault of Heaven

Imperial Vault of Heaven

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Imperial Vault of Heaven, which is a smaller structure. Seen from a distance, it looks like a blue umbrella topped by a gilded ball. This circular building has no cross-beams. Its dome is supported by a complicated span-work which is in complete conformity with the principle of dynamics. It was built in 1530 and rebuilt in1752. Since liberation it has been renovated several times. As you can see, its decorative paintings still retain their fresh colours. After the service, the tablets of the Gods of the Sun, the Moon, etc. were placed on the stone platforms.

The building is surrounded by a round wall, known as the Echo Wall. A mere whisper at any point close to it will send the sound travelling along the wall so that the echo can be heard clearly at the other end. This is made possible because the wall is round, it has eaves and all the bricks are hermetically laid.

In front of the steps leading down from the hall is the Triple-Sound Stones. If you stand on the first stone and call out, the sound will be echoed once; on the second stone, the sound will be heard twice; and on the third stone, the sound will be repeated three times. This phenomenon is due to the differences in the distance which the sound waves have to travel from the stone to the Echo Wall. As a result, the sound waves returning at different intervals create different echoes.

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