Inside the Anding men, there lies Guozijian Street, or Imperial College Street, also known as Chengxian Street, or Sage Accomplishment Street. The Street is lined with locust trees, creating a shady and fragrant retreat amidst the hustle and bustle of city life. Beijing Temple of Confucius and the Imperial College Museum are tucked away at the easternmost part of this Street.
Beijing Temple of Confucius and the Imperial College Museum were initially built in the Yuan Dynasty, in strict accordance with the Chinese tradition which dictates that the temple should be on the "left" and the school or college on the "right". Beijing Temple of Confucius was used by emperors to pay their respects to Confucius. The Imperial College was the highest institute of learning in China's traditional educational system. Both of the complexes were aligned along a central axis, creating left-right symmetry, a hallmark of traditional Chinese architecture.
Covering an area of 22,000 square meters, Beijing Temple of Confucius is composed of three courts. From south to north along the central axis, noteworthy structures include the Gate of Late Masters, the Gate of Great Accomplishment, the Hall of Great Accomplishment and the Temple of Revered Sage. On either side of the courtyard, there are 198 stone tablets, inscribed with names, native places and ranks of 51,624 Jinshi (advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, which are precious historical documents for the research of the imperial examination system of China. Outside the Gate of Great Accomplishment lies a stone drum made during the reign of the Emperor Qianlong and two related stone tablets. Major buildings of the middle court include eastern and western side rooms and 13 stone stele pavilions. The back yard is where the Temple of Revered Sage stood as an independent structure.
The Imperial College was the highest educational institution and administrative body during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Also known as the Advanced Learning Institution, it was first built in 1287, and reconstructed and renovated on a large scale during Yongle reign of the Ming Dynasty. In the 48th year of Qianlong reign during the Qing dynasty, a complex was added, forming the present layout.
The whole complex of the Imperial College faces south, with a total building area of over 27,000 square meters, featuring a three-court layout. Along the central axis are the Gate of Converging Sages, the Gate of Advanced Learning, the Glazed Archway, the Hall of Classic, the Hall of Yi Ethics, and the Pavilion of Respecting Unity.
Students of the Imperial College were called "Jiansheng". The College not only received applicants from ethic groups in China, but also educated overseas students, thus playing a positive role in cultivating talents from all ethnic backgrounds and in promoting international communication.
Beijing Temple of Confucius and the Imperial College Museum have six permanent exhibitions, including Restoration Display of the Hall of Great Accomplishment, Exhibition on Great Confucius, Timeline of the Temple of Confucius that are staged in the Temple of Confucius, along with Restoration Display of the Hall of Classic, Exhibition on Original Look of the Imperial College, and Exhibition on Imperial Examination of Ancient China which are held inside the Imperial College.