Boasting 500 years of astronomical and meteorological observation data—Beijing Ancient Observatory

The Ancient Observatory, located at No. 2 Dongbiaobei Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing, was established in the seventh year of the Zhengtong era of the Ming Dynasty (1442), and served as the royal observatory during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is also one of the oldest existing observatories in the world, and was officially opened to the public in 1956 as the 'Beijing Ancient Astronomical Instruments Exhibition Hall'. The Ancient Observatory is a brick-built high platform structure, narrower at the top and wider at the bottom, with a square plan. The base of the platform is made of rammed earth in the middle, with a bottom side length of 24.6 meters and a base height of 14.25 meters, covering a total area of about 10,000 square meters. The east side is connected to the city wall, and the top of the platform is about 3 meters above the city wall. There are horse paths on the west and north sides of the platform for people to ascend, and a round arched doorway in the center of the platform. Eight large bronze instruments are displayed on the south, west, and north sides of the platform. Below the platform to the west are the Zijin Hall and the Dripping Water Hall courtyard. The Ancient Observatory has been conducting continuous observations for nearly 500 years, accumulating a wealth of astronomical scientific data, and has made significant contributions to the astronomical endeavors of mankind. It still preserves meteorological data spanning 180 years from the Qing Dynasty, which is among the earliest and most complete meteorological observation records in the world. On August 21, 1979, the Ancient Observatory was announced by the Beijing Municipal People's Government as the second batch of municipal cultural relics protection units in Beijing. On February 23, 1982, the Ancient Observatory was announced by the State Council of the People's Republic of China as the second batch of national key cultural relics protection units.
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Posted: May 24, 2024
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