Chaotian Palace, Nanjing – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

chaotian palace

Chaotian Palace (朝天宫), located in Nanjing, stands as the most prestigious, extensive, and well-preserved architectural complex from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The name “Chaotian Palace” was bestowed by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, signifying “paying homage to the heavens” and serving as a venue for imperial rituals and the practice of court ceremonies by civil and military officials during festivals. It shares the distinction of being the highest-ranked royal Daoist temple of the Ming Dynasty alongside the Shenle Temple.

In the late Ming and early Qing periods, Chaotian Palace suffered destruction during wars. However, in the years between 1866 and 1870, during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi in the Qing Dynasty, it underwent reconstruction and was repurposed as a Confucian temple, hosting the provincial Confucian academy that had relocated from Jiming Mountain. The architectural layout, styles, and construction techniques of Chaotian Palace provide valuable insights into the study of ancient Chinese architecture, especially from the Ming and Qing periods, making it a site of immense historical, artistic, and scientific significance.

In 1956, Chaotian Palace was designated as a cultural heritage site in Jiangsu Province. Later, in 1978, it was converted into the Nanjing Museum. Recognizing its tourism value, it was classified as a national AAAA-level tourist attraction in 2005. Finally, in 2013, the State Council of China declared Chaotian Palace a national key cultural relic protection unit.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of TourAbout 2 hours
Ticket Price25 RMB
Opening Hours9.00 – 18.00; Closed on Mondays
Telephone Number0086-025-84466460

Location and Transportationn

Chaotian Palace is located in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China. Its specific address is No. 4 Chaotian Palace Street, Qinhuai District, Nanjing, Jiangsu.

Situated in the heart of Nanjing, Chaotian Palace enjoys a central and easily accessible location. It is positioned near the Qinhuai River, a famous landmark in the city. The palace is surrounded by a vibrant neighborhood that offers a blend of historical attractions, cultural sites, and modern amenities. To get there, you can choose the following ways:

Bus: Take bus 4, 48, or 83, get off at Mochou Road Chaotian Palace Stop (莫愁路·朝天宫站), and you will be standing at the main entrance.

Metro: The nearest metro station to Chaotian Palace is Shanghai Road Provincial Chinese Medical Hospital (上海路·省中医院) on line 2. After getting out of the station, walk about 800 meters to the south to reach the palace.


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Highlights of Chaotian Palace

Imperial Architecture

imperial architecture in chaotian palace

Chaotian Palace represents a typical example of Ming and Qing dynasty palace-style architecture. It comprises the central Confucian temple, the eastern provincial academy, and the western Bian Gong Temple. The southern side of the Confucian temple is enclosed by the “Wanren Palace Wall,” featuring a surrounding wall with a reflective pond inside. On either side of the palace wall, there are brick archways. Beyond the Lixing Gate to the north, one encounters the Dacheng Gate, Dacheng Hall, Chongsheng Hall, and Jingyi Pavilion in succession. The Dacheng Hall complex includes east and west wings, each with twelve rooms, as well as various pavilions such as Feiyun Ge, Feixia Ge, and Yubei Ting.


Dacheng Gate and Dacheng Hall

dacheng hall in chaotian palace

The Dacheng Gate, spanning 29 meters, was once used for receiving feudal emperors or envoys and is also known as the “Ji Gate.” It is divided into three gates: left, middle, and right. The central gate was reserved exclusively for the emperor during sacrifices, while princes and local lords entered through the side gates. Officials, in general, could only use the small “Gold Sound” and “Jade Resonance” doors at the ends of the Ji Gate. The Dacheng Hall, the central building of the Confucian temple, measures 43.30 meters in width and 18.76 meters in depth. It is supported by colossal wooden pillars, and the front terrace is spacious, adorned with stone-carved railings featuring mythical creatures at the corners. The red walls and yellow tiles contribute to the extraordinary grandeur of the structure.


Ceremonial Performances

Ceremonial Performances in chaotian palace

One remarkable feature of Chaotian Palace is its ceremonial performances. The ritual performances, meticulously arranged by experts and scholars under the guidance of renowned Ming history specialists, consist of six acts with eleven procedures. These include the imperial journey, presentation of memorial tablets, transmission of imperial decrees, audience with the emperor, joyful dances and music for peace, and the emperor’s return to the palace. Involving a cast of 250 performers, featuring a variety of civil and military dances, court music, and celebratory tunes, the performances vividly recreate the grandeur of the early Ming Dynasty’s flourishing era of song and dance. The spectacle captures the essence of the imperial ceremonies and cultural richness embedded in the historical fabric of Chaotian Palace.


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Useful Information Summarized from Reviews

Free Admission on the 10th of Each Month: Take note that on the 10th day of every month, admission to Chaotian Palace is free. This can be an excellent opportunity to explore the palace without any entrance fees.

Yulan Flower Season: Chaotian Palace is renowned for its Yulan flowers, which typically bloom from late February to mid-March, lasting for about a week. Consider visiting during this time to witness the beauty of these flowers.

Storage Facilities at the Entrance: The entrance of Chaotian Palace provides small storage lockers. While large luggage is not allowed, you can store smaller items like clothes for free.

Travel Recommendations: It is recommended to use the subway for transportation, as driving in the city can be congested, and parking might be inconvenient.

Weekend Antiques Market: On weekends, outside the entrance of Chaotian Palace, there is an antique market. The area is lively and crowded, providing a vibrant atmosphere. Take the opportunity to explore and browse through the market.


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