Ritan is also called the Altar of Sun, which built in Ming dynasty in 1530 and used as the place that Ming and Qing emperors offered sacrifice to the sun god. Nowadays, it lies in the southeast of Chaoyangmen at Chaoyang District and has opened to public as a park.
The Altar of Sun is the main building of the park. It covers an area of 20 hectares with inner and outer altar wall encompassed. Inside the inner altar wall, there is a two meters high square altar set in the middle. The Divine kitchen, Divine Warehouse, Sacrifice Slaughtering Pavilion, Burn Furnace and other buildings are orderly stood at the east and west side of the altar wall. Every other year, the emperor himself would come to the altar to offer the rites. While in the year he could'nt come, the rites would held by the officials in the imperial court.
After the founding of the Peoples Republic of China, the government has protect the ancient trees while panted many new flowers and trees as well as built some rockery, arbor and fountains which has made the Ritan Park become a beautiful city garden. Inside the park, the Altar of Sun, Qinghui Pavilion, Brookes Pool, Platform and the Toad Fountain are all the charming and attracting sights. Besides, the solemn grave of the Hui nationality martyr Ma Jun is set in the northwest corner of the park with the evergreen pines and cypresses surrounded.