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The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
   
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, core structure of the Altar of Prayer for Grain was where the Ming and Qing emperors held ceremonies for good harvests. First built in 1420, the hall stands on a round 5.2 meter-high white marble base, which comprises three tiers. Each tier is surrounded by white marble railing boards and balustrades. There is a huge white marble stairway on the middle of stair of each tier, with the relief of patterns of clouds, phoenix and dragon respectively, from bottom to top. Correspondingly, the railing boards, balustrades and drainage outlets of each tire are carved the same patterns. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, 32 meters in height, is a lofty cone-shaped structure with triple eaves, covered blue glazed tiles, and the top is crowned by a gilded ball. This majestic hall looks as if it was a colossus that might prop up the sky from the ground.
No beams, no crossbeams, no nails, the vault of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is solely supported by 28 massive wooden pillars and a number of bars, lathes, joints and rafters, which are integrated into a reinforced frame to keep up the bulk of the hall. This hall is an outstanding structure of all Chinese wooden buildings.
All the beams and lintels of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests are painted with patterns of dragon and phoenix and colorful imperial paintings, looks splendid and elegant. The 28 huge pillars support three layers of ceiling, which lead to the top dragon-phoenix caisson. The patterns of dragon and phoenix are absolutely lifelike.
 
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