Astronomy and Astrology

Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth. Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Ahwar of Southern Iraq Bit Resh in Uruk
Ancient Thebes Tomb at Deir el-Bahari: astronomical ceiling containing the oldest version of an Egyptian celestial diagram ever discovered
Antequera Dolmens Site Dolmen of Viera "Like most Iberian tombs, it is oriented slightly south of east (96°), situated precisely so that at the summer solstices the sunlight at daybreak illuminates the burial chamber" (Wiki)
Brú na Bóinne A large phallic stone was found in the outskirts of the Great Mound in Knowth. One of the theories suggests that it was used to follow the movements of Venus
Cahokia Mounds Woodhenge
Caral-Supe Especially at Chupacigarro
Caves and Ice Age Art Geisenklösterle
Chaco Culture Pueblo Bonito - layout and astronomical petroglyphs
Chankillo Archaeoastronomical Complex functioned as a calendrical instrument, using the sun to define dates throughout the seasonal year (AB ev)
Chichen-Itza El Caracol
City of Bath "William Herschel came to Bath to be the organist at the Octagon Chapel and with his sister, Caroline, lived at Number 19 New King Street where they built their mirrors and telescopes and eventually in 1781 discovered a new planet, Uranus. Caroline was an accomplished astronomer and discovered three new nebulae and eight new comets." (Great Spas of Europe Nomination File, p. 295)
Dengfeng Observatory
El Fuerte de Samaipata
El Tajin The 'Pyramid of the Niches', a masterpiece of ancient Mexican and American architecture, reveals the astronomical and symbolic significance of the buildings. (official description)
French Austral Lands and Seas Anse Betsy (Betsy Cove) is a former geomagnetic station on Baie Accessible (Accessible Bay), on the north coast of the Courbet Peninsula (La Grande Terre, Kerguelen). On this site an astronomical and geomagnetic observatory was erected on 26 October 1874 by a German research expedition led by Georg Gustav Freiherr von Schleinitz. The primary goal of this station was the 1874 observation of the transit of Venus. (wiki)
Gebel Barkal Orientation of the temples and pyramids, celestial diagram
Great Spa Towns of Europe "William Herschel came to Bath to be the organist at the Octagon Chapel and with his sister, Caroline, lived at Number 19 New King Street where they built their mirrors and telescopes and eventually in 1781 discovered a new planet, Uranus. Caroline was an accomplished astronomer and discovered three new nebulae and eight new comets." (Nomination File, p. 295)
Gyeongju Cheomseongdae observatory
Hortobágy "An important part of this heritage is the celestial knowledge of the shepherds of the Puszta."
Jantar Mantar It is a collection of astronomical instruments
Jodrell Bank Observatory
Kaesong The monuments inscribed also include an astronomical and meteorological observatory
Koguryo Tombs There are examples of Goguryeo tombs in which constellations were drawn on tomb ceiling murals. "The wall paintings document the history, religious beliefs, and customs of the contemporary people, as well as science and culture. They show costumes, arms, musical instruments, dance, astronomy, etc." - AB Document
Machu Picchu observatory
Maritime Greenwich
Mount Etna "The nominated property includes very little infrastructure: ........ and an observatory. Funding has been secured for a complete overhaul of the observatory which is scheduled to start in 2013" IUCN eval
Nasca Lines
Oaxaca and Monte Alban Monte Alban: It is believed that building “J” had an astronomical relation/ significance. (wiki)
Olinda The Alto da Sé Astronomical Observatory is an observatory located in the city of Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil. It was built near the place where, on February 26, 1860, the French astronomer Emmanuel Liais observed and described the comet Olinda (C/1860 D1), being the first comet discovered in South America and in Brazilian territory. (wiki)
Padua’s fourteenth-century fresco cycles astrological depictions of the months in Palazzo della Ragione
Palenque astronomical observatory
Paquimé The "Mount of the Cross" was erected for solar observations, thus defining the seasons of the year (information panel on site)
Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro Real Observatorio de Madrid
Pienza Piccolomini Palace: Allesandro Piccolomini was a 16th century scholar and astronomer, who wrote The treatises Sfera del mondo e Delle stelle fisse (The sphere of the world and The fixed stars) (1540), in which he adhered to Ptolemaic theories.
Potsdam Babelsberg Observatory
Poverty Point The archaeologist Professor William Haag, who excavated at the site during the 1970s, interpreted this post as having astronomical significance in being aligned to the solstices. (wiki)
Pyramids (Memphis) The three main Giza pyramids are orientated to the cardinal directions with extraordinary precision. For such huge monuments, this could only have been achieved by astronomical observation
Qhapaq Ñan Observatory at Machu Picchu, Lunar calendar at Ingapirca
Quirigua Stelae with Mayan calendars
Quseir Amra Has a very early Zodiac painted on the ceiling of the dome
Rapa Nui Ahu Huri A Urenga: This site near the town of Hanga Roa has a single statue that looks toward the spot where the sun rises on the day of the winter solstice
Risco Caido "The sacred site of Caldera de Tejeda reveals the existence of multiple structures ... aligned with the rising and setting sun, particularly at the Summer Solstice and the Equinoxes"
Rome Pantheon: "The monument acts like a giant sundial with a dark interior"
Samarkand Ulugh Beg's observatory
Selimiye Mosque The Muvakkithane (clock house) is located in the northeast corner room ... From here the Muvakkit (timekeepers) prepared the annual calendar and the Ramadan timetable. They also gave basic astronomy lessons when required. (AB)
St. Petersburg Pulkovo Observatory (Struve was its first director)
Stonehenge "icon of ancient astronomy"
Strasbourg Cathedral: sundials, zodiac
Struve Geodetic Arc Tartu Observatory
Teide National Park Teide Observatory
Teotihuacan in the case of the Pyramid of the Moon, the public plaza was also used for astronomical observation and calendar-related activities (wiki)
The Porticoes of Bologna Cassini's Meridian Line in the San Petronio basilica: "one of the largest astronomical instruments in the world, allowing measurements that were for the time uniquely precise".
Uxmal The so-called Governor's Palace is anomalously oriented regarding other buildings at the site. Its entrance faces ESE-wards towards the most southerly rising point of the planet Venus around the date of its construction (early 10th century); the opposite direction is towards Venus' most northerly setting point. The façade of the building contains iconographic representations of the Venus cycle and of the Mayan zodiac. (...) the iconography places the connections between this building and Venus beyond doubt and the importance of Venus cycles in the Mesoamerican calendar is well attested in ethnohistory. (Chankillo Nomination Text, p. 123-124)
Vatican City The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical institutes in the world. In fact, three early observatories were founded by the Papacy: the Observatory of the Roman College (1774-1878), the Observatory of the Capitol (1827-1870), and the Specula Vaticana (1789-1821).
Vienna Urania
Vézère Valley A number of the Lascaux pictures have a possible astronomical significance
Walled City of Baku The Maiden Tower possibly served as an astronomical observatory
Yin Xu Oracle bone inscriptions reveal that the Shang could already record solar and lunar eclipses and star configurations accurately. They also gained a comparatively early understanding of supernova and other astronomical phenomena. (nom file)


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