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Beijing Imperial Academy (also named Beijing Guozijian, Beijing Imperial College) was first built in 1306, and it was the highest administrative organ to the educational management as well as the top one seat of learning during the Yuan (1271–1368), the Ming (1368–1644) and the Qing (1644–1911) Dynasties.
Imperial academy is a kind of university in ancient China, and the history can be traced back to the Sui Dynasty (581–618). In ancient times, scholars who could do studies in imperial academy were regarded as sons of fortune. Up to now, Beijing Imperial Academy is the last one, going through Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is next to Beijing Confucian Temple and Yonghe Lama Temple. Facing south, the imperial academy features symmetrical architectural complex. On the central axis of the architectural complex, situate Jixian Gate, Taixue Gate, Memorial Archway, Biyong Hall, Yilun Hall and Jingyi Pavilion. All of them are architectural essence of Chinese traditional architectures, showing the unique architectural style of ancient China.
The memorial archway in Beijing Imperial Academy is the only memorial archway built for education in China. The banners of the both sides are inscribed by emperor, symbolizing that the country pays a lot of attention on education. Piyong Hall is the main architecture in the imperial academy. It was built in 1784, and is the place for emperors in the Qing Dynasty giving lectures. Located in the very central of the imperial academy, Piyong Hall has large doors in all directions, multiple eaves, pyramidal roof, and quadrate shape. Piyong Hall is surrounded by gallery, and four delicate bridges stretching over the pool lead visitors to the hall. Yilun Hall is located to the north of Piyong Hall. In the Yuan Dynasty, it has another name Chongwen Pavilion, and got the name of Yilun Hall after the reconstruction between 1403 and 1424 in the Ming Dynasty. Before Piyong Hall was built, it was the hall for emperors giving lectures and after that, it was used as a store house for books.
Location: No.15, Guozijian Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing City.
How to get there: Visitors can take buses 13, 116 and 807 to get there and get off at Guozijian Station. Besides, visitors also can take subway 2 and subway 5, get off at Yonghegong Station, then get out of the station from Exit C (Southwest Exit), and the imperial academy is 200 meters ( away to the south.
Opening hours: 08:30–16:30.
Ticket price: 20 yuan per person (including entrance fee for Confucian Temple).
Best time to visit: Period from October to April in next year.