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Observatory of Ulugh Beg | Samarkand Sights & Attractions

In order to build his magnificent observatory Ulugh Beg invited the most renowned astronomers of the world. Lots of world’s famous scientists made the project of the observatory and have created special equipment for astronomical researches. One of the  astronomers was Ali Kushchi who was known in all Orient as the second Platon. Following some historians Ulugh Beg also had a real passion for astronomy and achieved lots of success in astronomic researches and used to teach astronomy at his madrasah.

One of the greatest successes of the astronomers was the creation of the catalog of the stars which was written in “Calculation of Ulugh Beg”. The catalog had been made by the astronomers of Samarkand in 1437 but Ulugh Beg continued completing it until he died in 1449, when he was 55. This valuable catalog included the coordinations of 1018 stars.

After the death of Ulugh Beg the observatory continued working 20 more years and in 1469 the political situation in Samarkand made most of the astronomers move to Herat where Alisher Navoi (philosopher and founder of Classic Uzbek literature) gave them all possibilities to keep working.

The observatory stood some more years in Samarkand until it was destroyed in the beginning of the 16th century. Only in 1908 Russian archeologist found the foundations of the observatory. The big sextant of the observatory was well conserved and travelers can still see this wonderful equipment of the observatory of Ulugh beg.

In 1964 a memorial museum of Ulugh Beg was opened in front of the remains of the sextant and the reconstructed museum is among interesting places to visit in Samarkand.

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