An artist's rendition of the renovated Wenmiao
The Shanghai Confucian Temple, or Wenmiao, in the city's old town will reopen to the public in 2025 after a major renovation to restore its traditional layout and enhance its historic appeal.
The temple was founded in 1294 during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and has been renovated or rebuilt several times. The current structure on 215 Wenmiao Road in downtown Huangpu District was built in 1855 in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) as the only Confucian temple in downtown.
It features many original historic buildings and has been listed as a city-level protected structure. The site, of historical interest, covers more than 10,000 square meters.
The renovation, which restarted on Saturday after the weeklong Chinese New Year holiday, will expand the temple by a third to some 13,000 square meters, the equivalent of two standard football pitches, the district government said.
The original structures in the middle of the temple will be restored, while the illegal structures and management houses, which were built in recent decades within the temple, will be demolished.
Eight new structures will be built according to the traditional layout of a Confucian temple, which usually features temple buildings in the west axis and houses for study in the east. They include a library, tea house, visitor center and office building.
A new lecture hall, gardens and underground garages will also be built to develop the site into a popular place for people to learn about "Shanghai Culture," the district government said.
The former calligraphy and painting trading center on the northeast of the temple will be removed to expand the temple to Xuegong and Wenmiao roads as well as Menghua and Laodaoqian streets.
The expanded temple is expected to create a characteristic block along with the nearby shikumen (stone-gate) buildings, said Liu Xu, director of the management committee of the temple.
Many locals also equate the temple with a popular wholesale book market opened in 1993. A smaller scale second-hand book market operates every Sunday in the Great Hall of Confucius Square – or Dachengdian Square. At its peak time around 2001, the market would welcome almost 10,000 customers every Sunday. It was closed in 2020 to prepare for the facelift.
Old and modern meet in the compound.
Editor: Liu Qi