Why do ancient buildings, from palaces to houses, choose to sit in the north and face south?

Why do ancient buildings, from palaces to houses, choose to sit in the north and face south?
Lilith Beijing Imperial Palace covers an area of 720000 square meters, with a construction area of 150000 square meters, with more than 70 palaces of all kinds.

the Imperial Palace in Beijing covers an area of 720000 square meters, with a construction area of 150000 square meters, with more than 70 palaces of all kinds and more than 9, 000 houses of all sizes. These buildings have different forms and functions, which meet the different needs of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. however, the Imperial Palace has one thing in common, that is, it faces south as a whole. this characteristic is the embodiment of the life experience and collective wisdom of the ancient people.

the Imperial Palace is not only a complex of buildings, but also a city. Whether it is the building or the city, both abide by the principle of sitting in the north and facing the south. take a house as an example. "sitting" refers to the location of the house, and "facing" is the direction in which the door opens. the two interact with each other, which determines the comfort and well-being of the house.


the city has a location, so we should pay more attention to the orientation. The statesman of the Han Dynasty was confused in the choice of the city site, and he had a unique view of the orientation. He thought that "compared with the sum of yin and yang, tasted the taste of water springs, judged the appropriateness of the land, and crossed the path." the yin and yang here refers to yin in the north, yang in the south, yin in the north and water in the south, and yang in the south and north of the mountain. Location and orientation intersect each other, which plays a guiding role in the design and construction of ancient cities.

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among the ancient cities, Chang'an, the capital of Tang Dynasty, is the most representative. Miyagi is located in the north of the city, is the exclusive high-end community of emperors and royal families, the Imperial City is located in the south of Miyagi, the area is slightly larger than Miyagi, is a gathering area of government agencies. besides Miyagi and Imperial City, there is Waiguocheng, which has designed commercial and residential areas, and the east and west cities correspond to each other. Vermilion Bird Street runs through the north and south, which is not only the central axis of Chang'an City, but also the main road in the city. Chang'an 's overall design, magnificent momentum and reasonable layout, can be called an outstanding representative of ancient architectural history.

this is the case with urban construction, and the construction of houses is more exquisite. China is located in the Northern Hemisphere, at the eastern end of Eurasia, and most of its territory is north of the Tropic of Cancer. According to the law that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, buildings facing north and south can adjust the light and have the effect of being warm in winter and cool in summer. "interpretation of the name" said: "House, choose also, choose good places and camp also." although the ancient science and technology was not developed, the pursuit of architecture highlighted the rich life experience.

in winter, the angle of the sun is smaller, and the south-facing doors and windows of the building can accommodate more sunlight, which is helpful to increase the indoor temperature. In summer, the sun angle becomes larger, and the building can block part of the sunlight from entering, thus lowering the indoor temperature. It is estimated that in winter, compared to the room facing south and north, the indoor temperature is 1 Mel 2 degrees Celsius higher.

from a scientific point of view, sunlight can promote the synthesis of vitamin D in the human body and prevent the occurrence of infantile rickets, while ultraviolet rays in sunlight have bactericidal effect, especially on bacteria that cause respiratory diseases. Regular exposure to the sun can also enhance the body's immunity. Because of this, the north-facing south building shows a unique advantage.

affected by topography, China belongs to monsoon climate. in summer, typhoons from the Pacific move northward with cold winds and precipitation. In winter, a cold snap from Siberia mixes northerly winds and snowflakes to the south. The building faces south, can accept the cool breeze in summer, lower the room temperature, but also can block the cold wind in winter, keep warm and drive out the cold.

there is a saying in the Book of Rites: "the son of Heaven stands facing south under the aegis." the Book of changes tells Gua Zhuan and says: "the sage listens to the world in the south and rules to the Ming." it can be seen that the south means authority and dignity. In ancient buildings, palaces and government offices face due south, showing their supreme status.

in feudal society, religion enjoyed high status. Monastery monasteries enjoy the privilege of facing due south . Generally speaking, monastery monasteries will choose a "fengshui treasure land" with dense vegetation behind the mountain water. On the one hand, they block the north wind in winter, on the other hand, there is a cool breeze in summer, and the vegetation can also purify the air. The special atmosphere of monasteries and monasteries has increased their status in the hearts of good men and women.

the Taoist temple of the Republic of China

in the ancient dwellings, quadrangles are dominant. It is an inner courtyard-style building composed of four or three houses with different orientations. the north room is the most honorable, called the main room , which is inhabited by the elders, which is also the embodiment of traditional filial piety. The level of the wing room is lower than that of the main room, and under the traditional concept of "taking the left as the most expensive", the grade of the east wing room is higher than that of the west wing room.

the location of the gate of the courtyard is particularly important, which is said to be "one door determines Jichang". Usually the gate of the courtyard house is in the southeast. From the point of view of the architectural layout, the gate is located in the left front of the whole building, which is called "Qinglong Gate" by the people. As far as fengshui is concerned, this position is the most auspicious, and the meaning is self-evident.

the architectural pattern of sitting north facing south has had an impact on secular culture. in traditional Han architecture, two stone piers or drums are placed in front of the main entrance to ward off evil spirits. the shape of the door can be divided into square and circle. The circle represents the family of officials, and the square common merchant family. The identity of the owner of the house can be seen from the shape of the door.

corresponding to the door, the door pair is also one of the important signs of the front door. in ancient times, there would be a lintel on the gate, and the wooden square or round sign embedded on it was called a door pair. at that time, there was a difference between two, four, and twelve household pairs. The larger the number, the higher the official position. Civil servants use round household pairs, military attache use square household pairs. The "perfect couple" must be matched with each other, often saying that this is an aesthetic component in traditional architecture and has gradually evolved into a standard for measuring the conditions of marriage between men and women.

in the process of building houses in ancient times, fengshui will be in the first place. Fengshui theory is not just superstition, but only shows the psychological impact of the environment on people, as well as the concentrated expression of traditional aesthetics in architecture. Use fengshui to survey nature, conform to nature, use and transform nature in a controlled way, so as to achieve the unity of man, mind and nature, so as to achieve the most beautiful state of "although it is made by man, it is like opening from heaven".

in residential buildings, the atrium on the axis is the highest-ranking building in the courtyard. the main hall can be divided into halls. The hall is dominated by the male host, is the place to receive distinguished guests and best friends, and the hall is the place for family gathering, discussion and chat, which has a certain degree of privacy. at the same time, it is also the hostess's place of hospitality. The function of the main hall reflects the degree of primary and secondary, and there are other ways of hospitality for men and women.

Architecture, on the one hand, is the place where people live, on the other hand, it is the result of the joint action of political, cultural, natural and other factors. The seemingly ordinary ancient buildings are matched with the natural environment to form a good ecology of harmonious symbiosis, which organically combines filial piety, hospitality and parties, resulting in a broad and profound residential culture, which really embodies the philosophical thought of "the unity of man and nature". I have to like the wisdom of the ancients!