The ancient observatory has a display of large astronomical instruments both on the grounds and on the roof of the observatory from which you can get a view of this part of modern Beijing. There is little in the way (at least in English) of explanation of how the instruments were used or the history of the observatory. There are modest displays with explanations of astronomical phenomena in the side buildings. The grounds are peaceful and an interesting contrast to the banks, hotels, highways and shopping centers in the surrounding area.
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