A National Observatory (or Royal Observatory) is a cultural building in Empire: Total War
Royal Observatory

In-game picture of Royal Observatory


An observatory is a centre of many scientific studies, not just astronomy. All the phyiscal sciences are advanced here.

The study of the heavens leads to advances in mathematics, and improvements in scientific instrument making, horology, and perhaps most importantly of them all, navigation and surveying. Accurate star charts and lunar tables (showing the phases of the moon) enable sailors to accurately determine their position at sea, and a navy that can navigate accurately is one that can carry out its duties effectively. An observatory is also a centre for national prestige, as discoveries made and published reflect well on the institute and the nation that funds its work.

Historically, observatories were vital in the development of navigation and accurate clocks. This is why the zero-degree longitude line passes through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London (until 1884 most states used their own nationalistic reference points.) Indeed, the nationalism of astronomy often leads to the ignorance of the observations and deductions of non-European astronomers.

Astronomers could also be outrageous flatterers. After he discovered what he thought was a new planet, Sir William Herschel chose the name "Georgium Sidus", or George's Star, in a transparant bit of sucking up to his patron, King George III. Other astronomers also flirted with the name "Herschel" then settled on "Uranus" for the new planet.


  • Level 2
  • 4 Turns to Build
  • 2500 Coin


General InformationEdit

The National Observatory is the second-highest tier building that may be built down the research path of the cultural slot, behind the National Academy. Unlike the National Academy, however, the National Observatory may be constructed in any region with a major city, making it far more ubiquitous. By default, the A.I chooses to build National Observatories over Opera Houses.

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