The temple was once Shanghai's most prestigious learning institution and is now the only temple of Confucius (551-479 BC), China's greatest philosopher, in downtown Shanghai. It is also the biggest second book market in Shanghai.
The temple has witnessed Shanghai's growing progress of more than 700 years, from a small Chinese county to one of the world's biggest metropolises now confronting the problem of integration the modern with the traditional.
The Confucian Temple is a typical combination of temple and school in ancient China. It was built in 1294 (Yuan Dynasty), when Shanghai was just taking shape from a small fishing village.
The temple was once the headquarters of the Stagger Society, a rebel group that revolted against the Qing's reign in Shanghai from 1851 to 1855. During the Culture Revolution, it was badly damaged but in 1995 it was designated for renovation by the Shanghai government.
And now, the temple is no longer the study and research center of Confucianism, instead it is gaining fame as a secondhand book market and is the destination for book-lovers and collectors.
Every Sunday, thousands of local collectors swarm to the Shanghai Confucian Temple to bargain and buy, exchange or trade rare editions and old books. The market is not big, taking less than 100 square meters of the temple, but it is definitely the best and most mature secondhand book-market in Shanghai.