The history of Qingdao as a city on Jiaozhou Bay canonly be traced back to 1891, when the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911) established a military base there. Comparedto the countless millennia-old cities in China,Qingdao is definitely young. However, it was chosen as one of fourpilot units of China’s first nationwide census on state-owned moveablecultural relics despite its youth.
Qingdao was consecutively colonized by Germany and Japanfor half a century. This background has left the city a tremendouscontemporary industrial legacy. In fact, the cultural relics census isilluminating the city’s intimacy with modern industrial civilization.
Astronomy at Qingdao Observatory
Atop Guanxiang Hill in Qingdao is a domed building. It is theQingdao Observatory under the Purple Mountain Observatory ofthe Chinese Academy of Sciences. The astronomical observatorywas first built by Germans in 1898, and handed over to Chinese in1924. As the cradle of modern Chinese astronomy, it was the firstobservatory ever managed by Chinese.
Inside the observatory is a refractive astronomical telescopeimported from Germany in 1932. It was one of the earliest photographictelescopes ever used in China. The observatory alsohouses a 16cm-aperture German-made telescope, which had beenused to observe sunspots and celestial bodies since 1905. It waswith this telescope that Chinese astronomer Kao Ping-Tse, thenhead of the observatory’s Astronomical Magnetics Department,drew China’s first sunspot drawing in 1925.
The observatory’s collection also includes a German-madechronometer dating back to 1919 and an electric clock and a theodolite– both over a century old. The antique astronomical devices andobservational records were all included in the cultural relics survey.It has been confirmed that more than 20 of the observatory’s items,including the refractive telescope and the 1925 sunspot drawing,have been added to the list of national moveable cultural relics.