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Ancient Observatory (Guguanxiangtai)

#140 of 1,591 things to do in Beijing
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Address: No.2 Dongbiaobei Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100005, China
Name/address in local language
Phone Number: 010-65242202
Website
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes
Description:

Eight huge astronomical instruments are displayed on an elevated platform...

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.

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Ming City Wall and Ancient Observatory

This tower used to be part of of the old city wall, and the corner tower can be walked to from the observatory. The observatory has a number of buildings with interesting bits and... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed October 26, 2015
YorkHiker
,
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
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48 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 26: English reviews
Minnesota
Level Contributor
29 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

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... More 

Helpful?
Thank Vespid23
Massachusetts
Level Contributor
34 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 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... More 

Helpful?
Thank KSfamily00
Beijing, China
Level Contributor
1,123 reviews
801 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 556 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2016

We were bored and I have been living in Beijing for 4 years already and had never seen one of the world’s most ancient observatories so we went. It is rather small and there are no crowds so you can go and actually read all of the exhibits and take some photos of the ancient artifacts. It’s not super exciting... More 

Helpful?
Thank Daniel A
Lowick, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2016

I walked to the Ancient Observatory from my nearby hotel and purchased entry ticket for 20 Yuan. Consists of observation tower with a variety of old astronomical equipment, a garden with more instruments and exhibitions in a couple of buildings around a court yard. There are English sections on all interpretation panels, and while I found them insufficient to understand... More 

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Thank Rabby1
Beijing, China
Level Contributor
103 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2016

It's directly accessible from exit C of the Jianguomen metro station on line 1 or 2. The observatory houses the old astronomical equipment. The information sign is sparse on details. On clear days, this is a nice viewing area. There are 3 exhibition halls on the ground level have details on ancient time keeping instruments and constellation recordings. Only an... More 

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1 Thank Paulo D
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
90 reviews
85 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2015

This tower used to be part of of the old city wall, and the corner tower can be walked to from the observatory. The observatory has a number of buildings with interesting bits and bobs. The views from the tower are nice.

Helpful?
1 Thank YorkHiker
Chelsea, Michigan
Level Contributor
111 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015

This is on a corner dead center between two subway stops so you will need to walk to get there. There also many steps to get into the tower with most of the equipment. I didn't see an elevator. There is equipment on the ground level there are a very halls to tour also.

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1 Thank Asiantraveler53
Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
190 reviews
162 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2015

It seems not many foreign visitors to Beijing visit the Ancient Observatory, but don't miss out. If you have any interest in astronomy, history, or just amazing craftsmanship then definitely include it in your itinerary. This is one of the oldest observatories in the world and one of only two left that are still intact originals in China. There is... More 

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1 Thank MTravi
Sydney
Level Contributor
43 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2015

The museum is easy to reach, being very close to the Jianguomen stop on the metro. There is good signage in Chinese and English explaining the collection of instruments for measuring astronomical data. The observatory was set up a hundred years before the birth of Galileo so was not concerned with imaging the heavens, but measuring star and planet positions... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Mel D
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
1,298 reviews
572 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 730 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2015

I've been by the Ancient Observatory dozens of times, as I usually stay in Beijing at a hotel nearby. The museum itself is small, but interesting, especially for astronomy geeks. There are never many people there, so a good place to go if you're interested and want an uncrowded place to visit.

Helpful?
Thank Raintree_Thailand

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