Beijing Ancient Observatory was first built in 1442 in the Ming Dynasty(1368—1644), and was the national observatory in the Ming and Qing Dynasty(1644—1911). It is about 14 meters high with 8 astronomical instruments made in Qing Dynasty. Its rich history spans more than five hundred years, making it one of the most historically interesting observatories in the world. It is also famous for its intact and integrated instruments. The 8 instruments were equipped with western technology and Chinese local art design, and they can show us the exchange between the western and eastern and the magnificent western design. After 1949, Beijing Ancient Observatory became a part of Beijing Planetarium. It is the key national relic protection unit now.
A stone-carved star map from Suzhou is exhibited here, as well as the ceiling astronomical map from Longfu Temple, two rare treasures. The former was done in the Song dynasty in the year 1247. It depicts 1,434 stars and is recognized as one of the best early star maps in the world. The latter was accomplished in the Ming period, but from the characters carved on the side of the map one can see that the underlying information already existed in the Tang dynasty. In the courtyard of the museum, surrounded by ancient trees, the hall and east gate areas exhibit early astronomical instruments and the methods and changes in making them. In the western chamber some 150 early methods of calculating calendars in China are exhibited. Archaic as well as more recent astronomical water clocks and contemporary astronomical clocks are exhibited. Eight bronze astronomical instruments are arranged on the top of the platform, as per the Qing-dynasty emperor Qianlong’s instructions，involving Equatorial Armilla, Azimuth Theodolite, Ecliptic Armilla, Armilla, Sextant, Altazimuth, Celestial Globe and Quadrant.
Beijing Ancient Observatory became the key national relics protection unit in 1982, and opened to the world in 1983. It enjoys high reputation from the foreign countries. Many foreign presidents, foreign key government officials and famous scientists have visited Beijing Ancient Observatory, such as Tony Blair (British Prime Minister), Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium PrimeMinister),etc.
Open Time: 9：00-4：30
Address: No.2 Dongbiaobei Hutong, Beijing China
Transportation:No.1 Bus and get off at Eastern Beijing Zhan Station