The Fire Temple was a five-tiered pagoda that sat atop a craggy hill on Crescent Island in the outer Fire Nation. It was managed by the Fire Sages, and was closely associated with AvatarRoku, who studied there for many years to master the Avatar State. The ancient temple used mechanisms that required firebending to operate; for example, the sanctuary door could only be opened by five simultaneous fire blasts.
The Fire Temple was originally founded as a refuge for the Fire Sages, the Fire Nation's religious authority, on the outermost island of the Fire Nation archipelago. The temple was built on Crescent Island so that its placing would align with the sun's location on solstices and equinoxes.
In his quest to become a Fully Realized Avatar, Avatar Roku took shelter in this temple, where he eventually mastered the Avatar State. However, during the process, he destroyed the temple, and was later forced to rebuild it. During the reconstruction, Avatar Roku carved a series of secret passages beneath the structure.
The temple was destroyed when Avatar Roku used Aang's body to protect the young Avatar.
The sanctuary was built to receive a shaft of sunlight through a giant ruby and cast a spot of light within the sanctuary. At sundown on the winter solstice, the spot of sunlight would reach Avatar Roku's statue. The light would illuminate the statue, making it possible to communicate with Roku. When Avatar Roku was alive, the Fire Sages used the sanctuary to communicate with him on the solstice, but after his demise, only Aang was able to communicate with Avatar Roku. The sanctuary's massive door protected the sanctuary from intruders. These doors could only be opened by either a Fully Realized Avatar or with five simultaneous fire blasts.
Avatar Roku destroyed the temple twice on the winter solstice while in the Avatar State: once in 55 BSC and again in 99 ASC.
The design for the Fire Temple was based on the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, China.
↑ 1.01.11.2From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.