Ulugh Beg Observatory, Samarkand

3.5
See the movement of the heavenly spheres at Ulugh Beg Observatory, used by preeminent 15th-century Muslim astronomers. Built by a famous scientist-ruler (and grandson of Tamerlane) in 1429, this monumental, ornate cylindrical building allows high-precision observation of the passage of the sun and moon. Try the high-tech Sextant of Fakhri, a marble instrument 40 m (131 ft) in diameter used to make major corrections of Ptolemy's works. A small museum in the observatory details its work, but you should do some research in advance. Destroyed in 1449, the observatory laid dormant until 1908. Put Ulugh Beg Observatory into our Samarkand online travel route planner to see other points of interest to visit during your vacation in Samarkand.
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  • Well worth the taxi ride, or even the walk if the weather's not too hot. It's one of the buildings that illustrates how in the sciences Central Asia was way ahead of us while we were fighting the Hund...  more »
  • When there was no telescope, it seems to have calculated the length of one year almost accurately using the six-minute. There is almost no error with the current calculation.
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