One year after Confucius’ death (478 B.C.), Duke Ai of the State of Lu had and Confucius’s former residence rebuilt into a temple to worship and offer sacrifice to Confucius. As the temple was repeatedly renovated and enlarged by emperors from the Western Han Dynasty onwards, it gradually became a huge group of ancient buildings.
In the front part of the temple, which consists of nine courtyards, visitors pass through a number of gates, the Pavilion of the Constellation Scholars (Kuiwenge), and Thirteen pavilions of Imperial Steles (Shisanyuebeiting). From Great Achievement Gate (Dachengmen), visitors can continue the tour along one of three routes. In the middle route, they can see Terrace of Apricot Tree (Xingtan), Great Achievement Hall (Dachengdian), Confucius’ Bedroom (Qindian), and Hall of Memories of the Sage (Shengjidian). To the east of these halls is the former residence of Confucius, where tourists can visit Hall of Rites and Poetry (Shilitang), Wall of Lu (Lubi), Confucius’ Well (Guzhaijing), Worship Ancestors Temple (Chongshengsi), and the Confucius Family Temple (Jiamiao). Along the west route are Hall of Heralding the Sage (Qishengwangdian), used for worshipping and offering sacrifice to Confucius’ parents, and Hall of Private Apartments (Qishengwangqindian).
The walled temple, with towers at its corners, is composed of many buildings with carved beams and painted eaves, extending for more than one kilometer from south to north. Inside the wall, ancient cypresses and pines provide the buildings with shade. The temple houses more than two thousand stone tablets with inscriptions in various styles of calligraphy. The towering Great Accomplishment Hall, the major structure of the temple, is 54 meters long, 34 meters wide and 32 meters high. Its roof is supported by twenty-eight stone columns standing on pedestals shaped like lotus flowers. The front ten columns standing on pedestals shaped like lotus flowers. The front ten columns are carved with dragons cavorting in a rolling sea with clouds floating above. A statue of Confucius stands inside the hall.