Beijing Guozijian (北京国子监) is the imperial academy built during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasty. It was then the highest and the most prestigious learning institution, almost like the Ivy Leagues today.
Walking into Guozijian, I couldn't help it but totally impressed with the glazed facade into the compound. It was the only facade built, for buildings other than a palace or a temple. Beautifully and intricately decorated with colorful glazed tiles of emerald green and mustard yellow and carvings of dragon and flowers, it was imposing but not intimidating, like a friendly headmaster welcoming the students into the school.
On both sides of the facade, there was each a line of four-character poetic prose written by the Emperor Qian Long (乾隆). Huan Qiao Jiao Ze (圜桥教泽) on the front, praising the teaching and contribution of the Emperor benefiting the students all over.
Xue Hai Jie Guan (学海节观) on the back, equating the knowledge of the emperor as vast as the sea and the enormous turn out of student during the visit of the emperor to the academy to lecture the students.
The highest and the most prestigious learning institution, frequently visited by the emperor as a visiting professor, reading and lecturing on the Confucius teaching to the student body. Now imagine the competition and mad rush into this school!