Trip Planner:   Asia  /  China  /  Beijing  /  Sightseeing  /  Ancient Observatory (Guguanxiangtai)

Ancient Observatory (Guguanxiangtai), Beijing

(55+ reviews on the web)
Observation Deck
The Beijing Ancient Observatory is a pretelescopic observatory located in Beijing, China. The observatory was built in 1442 during the Ming dynasty, and expanded during the Qing. It received major reorganization and many new, more accurate instruments from Europeans (Jesuits) in 1644. As one of the oldest observatories in the world, the Beijing Ancient Observatory grounds cover an area of 10,000 square meters. The observatory itself is located on a 40 by 40 wide meter on a 15 meter tall brick tower, an extant portion of the old Ming dynasty era city wall that once encircled Beijing. Several of the bronze astronomical instruments are on the platform, and other armillary spheres, sundials, and other instruments are located nearby at ground level. It is operated as a museum in affiliation with the Beijing Planetarium.HistoryIt was said that in 1227, the Jin dynasty transferred the ancient astronomical instruments from Kaifeng to the first observatory in Beijing. In 1279, the succeeding Mongols under Kublai Khan built a new observatory just north of the current observatory. Kublai Khan made his chief adviser of hydraulics, mathematics and astronomy, Guo Shoujing, director of the observatory in 1283 after the death of Guo's friend and predecessor Zhang Wenqian. After the Mongols, Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding Ming Emperor, transferred the instruments from Beijing to Nanjing. When the Yongle Emperor came to power, he had craftsmen make copies of the instruments in Nanjing and sent them to the Beijing observatory.
Add Ancient Observatory (Guguanxiangtai) and other attractions to your Beijing trip itinerary using our Beijing holiday planner.
Source
Create a full Beijing itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Beijing

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Beijing by other users

15 days in China BY A USER FROM MEXICO July, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in China BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 18 days in China BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 23 days in Russia, China & South Korea BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in China BY A USER FROM VIETNAM July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in China BY A USER FROM PHILIPPINES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 18 days in China BY A USER FROM CANADA September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in China BY A USER FROM CANADA September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in China BY A USER FROM SWEDEN August, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in Beijing BY A USER FROM SWEDEN August, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in China BY A USER FROM SAUDI ARABIA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 13 days in China & South Korea BY A USER FROM ITALY September, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Take Jianguomen subway station exit C,turn on right and in one minute you are there.Although my edition Rough Guides from 2006 says it is closed during the weekend I tried luck and a lot has changed s...  more »
  • A little gem of a place in central Beijing, like most of the previous reviews we saw this place as it was near our hotel, also right alongside Jiangoumen subway. station (lines 1 and 2). Free to Chine...  more »
  • From ancient observatory, which covers an area of 10,000 m², has survived only its astronomical playground, which is located on a stone platform height of 15 m and represents a square of 40 by 40 m. T...  more »
Google
  • Great piece of history! I learned a lot from this place! The artifacts are very well-kept. Right behind the subway station! However, the staff seem very bored, as they are always doing other things, like making clay structures. This area is also in the rather poor district of Beijing. The opening times are also a bit inconvenient.
  • Very interesting. A good and cheap way to spend half an hour. Quiet place. 20 rmb per adult, 5 for kids
  • 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 hour is needed for the visit.
  • This is one of the oldest observatories in the world. It feels almost like it has been abandoned, since there is not much of a tourist attraction. The structures are beautiful, and well preserved. It was worth the price of admission.
  • good 75