Beijing Imperial Observatory, China
Initially built in the Ming Dynasty (around AD. 1442), Ancient Observatory has already had a history of more than 500 years. It is one of the oldest observatories in the world. Initially, a Watching Star Platform was built on the top of a hill in Nanjing, which was the capital of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) at that time. Later, an observatory was built on the city wall of Beijing in the Ming Dynasty and was also called Watching Star Platform. In the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), the name "Watching Star Platform" was changed to "Observatory". And after the Revolution of 1911, the name Ancient Observatory was changed to be Central Observatory. In 1979, the north-east corner of Ancient Observatory fell as it was washed by days of heavy rain and its south-east corner was seriously split. Then, Ancient Observatory received three-year of careful repair. The Observatory was opened to the public with the name of "Beijing Ancient Astronomical Instruments Display Hall" in 1956. After around 1959, the Observatory was used as offices. In 1983, Ancient Observatory was opened to the tourists again as a museum. Ancient Observatory now is located at the south-east corner of a bridge in Jianguomen of Beijing City and it has been constructed to be Beijing Ancient Astronomical Instruments Display Hall. Ancient Observatory covers an area of about 10,000 square meters. It consists of a ten-meter high brick Watching Star Platform and some buildings, which are under the platform. Eight huge bronze astronomical instruments are displayed on the platform (the pictures show three of the instruments). Some of them can still be used to do the measurement work now. These eight huge instruments have the Chinese traditional features in their decorations and appearances but reflect the European accomplishments in their scales and structures. On the platform, which is 18 meters high, 24 meters long and 20 meters wide, three huge bronze instruments of the Ming Dynasty were initially displayed. They are made according to some Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368)'s instruments. In the Qing Dynasty, they were moved to be under the platform as eight huge instruments were displayed on the Platform.
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