Beautiful Observatories: The 6 Most Stunning Around the World

The stars have fascinated humans for eons, and beautiful observatories honor their mesmerizing attraction while helping us further understand the world around us. In addition to being architectural stunners, these locations have served as the setting for monumental scientific research such as the discovery of new planets or other celestial bodies. They’re constant reminders that we can both create marvels and appreciate the wonders that have been created for us at the same time. Here, AD takes a journey to the six most beautiful observatories around the world.

The oldest observatory on this list, the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, dates back to the 18th century.

Photo: Tuul & Bruno Morandi/Getty Images

Jantar Mantar (New Delhi, India)

The Jantar Mantar observatory is India’s oldest and most famous structure for watching the movements of celestial bodies through the sky. Built in 1724 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, who had a keen interest in astronomy, it was used to compile astronomical tables and both observe and predict the movements of the sun, moon, and planets. With its striking sandstone architecture of geometric shapes and deep terra-cotta colors, Jantar Mantar has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jantar Mantar translate to “instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens.”

Teide Observatory

The clear skies above the Atlantic helped to make Spain’s Teide Observatory an international center for celestial research.

Photo: Manuel Romaris/Getty Images

Teide Observatory (Canary Islands, Spain)

Standing 7,841 feet above sea level at the top of the Teide volcano, this observatory on the Spanish island of Tenerife was inaugurated in 1964. A vast collection of solar and nocturnal telescopes punctuates the Teide range and the dozens of futuristic white domes stand out against the largely monotone landscape of the island’s volcanic peaks. Accessible via winding mountain roads, the luminous structures house telescopes from a number of countries as Teide was one of the world’s first truly international observatories. The observatory is credited with the discovery of several minor planets as well as the first brown dwarf star.

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