Thursday, January 9, 2014

Shanghai Confucian Temple

Most visitors (and even many expats) in Shanghai have likely never heard of this temple. It's one of my favorite locations not only for its beauty but also the tranquility that is in stark contrast to the rest of Shanghai. I've never seen more than a few other people here and I almost didn't share it with you for that reason. But I'm feeling generous today.


The Shanghai Confucian Temple, known as Wen Miao, is an ancient architectural complex dedicated to the worship of Confucius and the study of his texts. It was originally established in 1294 during the Yuan Dynasty.


The Temple was moved to different locations four times before it was reconstructed on its current site in 1855. The temple suffered damage during the Taiping Rebellion and further damage was intentionally inflicted by soldiers during the Cultural Revolution. The present buildings were reconstructed or restored in 1999 to celebrate the 2,550th birthday of Confucius.


The Temple complex consists of three parallel paths running south to north. The first path is for public worship and sacrifice; the center path is for scholars and studying; the third path is dominated by nature. 


You can read more about the temple on their website but the point to note is that this temple was not only a place of worship but a school. During ancient times, Wen Miao was the highest learning institution in Shanghai.


Visitors can leave wishes to Confucius during their visit, often asking for guidance or advice. My friend K wrote a note for her family while we toured.


Prior to exams, many students will visit the temple to ask Confucius for help in completing their examinations.


Today, the Temple is no longer dedicated to the study and research of Confucianism. Instead it is gaining fame as a secondhand book market. Every Sunday, thousands of local collectors swarm to the Shanghai Confucian Temple to bargain and buy, exchange or trade rare editions and old books.

To visit the Confucian temple, head to 215 Wenmiao Road near Zhonghua Road. Admission is 10 rmb per person.


  1. A lovely little place. Sometimes there are some real gems hidden away!

    1. It's amazing how few people have heard of this place in the city. I love finding new places to explore.


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