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“Observed it frequently”

Ancient Observatory (Guguanxiangtai)
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Beijing Then and Now Highlights Half-Day Bus Tour
Ranked #126 of 1,616 things to do in Beijing
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Eight huge astronomical instruments are displayed on an elevated platform at this observatory, which was used during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is one of the oldest observatories in the world.
Reviewed 9 November 2016

Located in the lee of the robust archaic city wall, close to where we were staying, we saw the solid ancient structure most every day. It was fascinating to visit it.

Completed in the 1440s it served a key purpose in monitoring the heavens for the Emperor who was the Heavenly representative on earth. Important nautical control of the seas was furthermore aided by the studies performed here.

The ground level is quite extensive with a tranquil pleasant courtyard and garden, each with exhibits. An interesting museum portrays astronomical advances by the Chinese including developments in calendar formation.

On the roof are magnificent treasures comprising a quantity of large instruments that were utilised in the investigations. They are perfectly placed on a height against the ever changing light of the sky. A sextant, theodolite, celestial globe, a fabulous altazimuth and a number of armillas are amongst the masterpieces.

1  Thank permia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 63 reviews

Reviewed 13 September 2016

The Ancient Observatory in Beijing is more if you are looking for a place to go because you have time to fill, or if you are interested/studying the subject. My husband is very interested and so we went and he had a blast. They have some of the earliest astronomy instruments on display and almost all the exhibits are quoted in English as well as Chinese. It's a small place so don't plan to spend a lot of time there. Good little museum in a big city.

Thank HWCrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2016 via mobile

I visited here as we were walking past on our way to the hotel - though interesting I don't think that I would have gone out of my way to visit, as there really isn't enough there to warrant more than a fifteen minute visit. I did notice there were tours available though, so I imagine if there was some description etc it might be more involved.

It struck me as the sort of place local schools might go to for a school trip, or that people with a specialist interest might spend hours in.

Easily accessible from the subway, and cheap to enter.

Thank applefishuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2016

Nice stop for science-minded folks passing through the area or simply looking for a unique place to visit if one has plenty of time in Beijing. When we visited yesterday there were three somewhat interesting small indoor exhibition halls open for a visit, each staffed with a young, clearly bored attendant who barely even looked up much less budge from behind their desk to greet and inform us. Considering only about 3 people an hour visit this site, you would think they would jump at the chance for interaction. The large artifacts a top the steps on the wall remnant are sort of interesting, but you are blocked from getting too close or touching them, so it doesn't take long before one feels compelled to move along. Actually a bit more meaningful if one has recently visited the drum/bell towers as they cover some of the same ancient tech, but the towers do it better.

Thank Vespid23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2016

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.

Thank KSfamily00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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