Beijing Ancient Observatory is located in the southwest side of Jianguomen crossroad at Dongcheng District. It is a special topic site museum of nature science displaying Chinese ancient astronomical equipment and astronomy. Now, it has been reformed to Beijing Ancient Astronomical Equipment Exhibition Hall, which belong to Beijing Astronomy Observatory and was official opened in 1956.
Eight magnificent and excellent equipment that are made of bronze stand high and upright on the black brick platform. They are celestial body equipment, equator theodolite, ecliptic theodolite, horizon longitude equipment, quadrant equipment, Simple Phenomena equipment, horizon theodolite and Jihenfuchen equipment made in Qing Dynasty.
The elaborate flying dragons, vivid colors are carved on the equipment body. Among which, part of them still has its function of actual observation. In second exhibition room inside the platform, it displays the China Ancient Astronomical Achievement Exhibition. Four exhibition rooms are set in the quad under the platform: The Ziwei Palace and East Wing-room exhibited the "Lingtai Equipment", which introduces the site of Lingtai, the reform of existing ancient observatory and the production of astronomical equipment and etc; while the exhibition in the West Wing-room will enlighten you the abundant calendars and important calendar reforms in China; the Shadow Observation House is the place that the astronomers in Ming and Qing Dynasty used to ascertain the time and conduct sun shadow measure.
The ancient observatory was built in Zhengtong 6th Year of Ming Dynasty (the year 1442), which is the astronomy observation center in Ming and Qing
Dynasties and belong to the one of the oldest astronomical observatory in the world. Today, it has more than 550 years history. Beijing Ancient Observatory was called as "Star Observatory" in Ming Dynasty. There are large-scale astronomical equipment like Simple Equipment, Mixed Equipment and Mixed Phenomena Equipment and etc. The gnomon and clepsydra is set up in under the platform. The name of "Star Observatory" was changed to "Observatory" in Qing Dynasty, and it re-changed to "Central Star Observatory" after the Revelation in 1911.
Beijing Ancient Observatory is composed of Star Observatory made of brick in 14 meters high and the buildings like Ziwei Palace, Clepsydra House and Shadow Observation Hall under the platform. Beijing Ancient Observatory has 500 years successive astronomical observation history from the Zhengtong period in Ming Dynasty to the year 1929.
It is the historical records of the longest successive observation period amongst the current existing ancient observatories in the world. Moreover, it also shares high reputation in the world die to its integrated building and completed equipment. In Kangxi and Qianlong periods in Qing Dynasty, the astronomical observatory added eight large-sized astronomical observatory equipment made of cooper one after another. They all adopt the European measurement and equipment construction. Those astronomical equipment have large body, and beautiful sculpt, excellent engraving. Except for the Chinese tradition characterized aspects like sculpt, flower decoration and craftwork, etc, the other aspects like graduation, cursors and construction and etc also reflects the process and achievement of large-size astronomical equipment after the period of renaissance of the western Europe. It is the historical witness of oriental and western culture exchanges. They are not only the practical astronomy observation equipment but also the incomparable historic culture relic treasures.
Opening time: 9:00-11:00, 13:00-17:00 (after 16:00, it is not allowed to enter in). Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Entrance Ticket: 10 yuan (US$1.2) per person, the ticket price is in half for those middle and primary school student, teachers and old people who show their certificates
Traffic Prompt: lots of buses and arrive there in Changan Street and Erhuan Road, get off in Jianguomen subway station of circle line for those who take straight line.