The Confucian Temple first dates to the Tang Dynasty (CE 618-907) and was built during the reign of Emperor Taizong. The original, modest temple was not built as a memorial temple, but rather as a family temple of Confucius himself. The present-day memorial temple complex, which is vast, has been damaged and destroyed over the years but was restored and enlarged roughly to its present format during the middle of the 12th century CE. It is the oldest preserved Confucian temple in China.
The parts of the temple complex which stem from the reconstruction in 1163 CE, are the only examples of Jin Dynasty Confucian-temple architecture to be found throughout China. Moreover, the temple complex boasts 87 sculptures of Confucius and his disciples, the largest grouping of such sculptures in any Confucian temple complex anywhere in the world. For most of its history it has also acted as the local school.