Ulugbek's Observatory

Location - Samarkand

The Ulugbek Observatory is one of the most sophisticated observatories of the Middle Ages. It was built by Ulugbek in Samarkand in 1424. Ulugbek was distinguished by his craving and desire to study sciences from an early age. His visit to Sultania during a military campaign with his great grandfather Amir Temur urged him to construct his own observatory. In Sultania he saw a real scientific center – an observatory belonging to the Azerbaijani scientist Nasir ad-Din Tuy. Young Ulugbek so strongly imbued with what he saw that he decided to put his plans into life. The main assistants in the construction were well-known astronomers Kazy-zade Rumi and Dshemshid Kashi.

The most important instrument in the observatory was the sextant, a navigation measuring instrument that measured the height of the stars and the sun above the horizon. Ulugbek and his associates conducted numerous astronomical observations, one of the main achievements among which was the book "Zidzhi Dzhadidi Guragani" ("New Astronomical Tables"). It contained descriptions of more than 1000 stars. This work had long been popular in the East; this kind of researches were conducted in Europe only in the XVII century. The observatory functioned for another 20 years after the death of Ulugbek in 1449.

Only a small part of the observatory has been preserved until now and the museum was founded on its site. Many tourists come to see the unique astronomical device, photographs from excavations, various astronomical instruments, to get to know Ulugbek's devotion, the passion of his whole life. During the excursions, at sunset, guides offer tourists to watch stars through the telescope, talk about the stars discovered by Ulugbek and his close companions, immerse in the endless beauty of the night sky.

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