Ulugbek observatory is one of the unique examples of architecture of the XV century in Samarkand, this is the ancient astronomical observational construction. By order of Ulugbek, it was built in 1428-1429 on a hill Kuhak (Chupanota) in the form of a huge cylinder. As stated in the “Baburname” the structure was built in three floors of 30.4 m height . There were more than ten kinds of astronomical instruments and tools. The major among them was a close to sextant double quadrant with the length of 40.2 m.
The southern part of the quadrant is under the ground, the northern part rises from the ground at 30 meters. Quadrant is built with millimetre accuracy. One degree of the arc of circle of the device is 701.85 mm, one minute of the arc is 11.53 mm. The instrumental equipment of the observatory was the best in the Middle Ages. The device made it possible to determine the basic astronomical constants – the angle between the equator and the ecliptic, the annual procedural constant, the length of the tropical year, and other fundamental astronomical constants. The observatory had also small measuring instruments: armillary sphere, measuring tools of 2, 4 and 7 rings, triangular, solar and stellar clocks, astrolabes and other. With their help the Sun, Moon, planets and selected stars were monitored. The biggest astronomical work of Ulugbek “Ziji Kuragani” was written exactly in this observatory.
Construction and scientific activity of the observatory was connected with the names of famous scientists Giyasitdin Kashi, Kazizoda Rumi, Ali Kushchi and others gathered here on the orders of Ulugbek. The remains of the observatory were found in 1908 during excavations made under the direction of V.L. Vyatkin. In particular, they found a circular wall with a diameter of 48 m and one brick thickness, the remains lying in the centre of the main structure, divided into large halls and small rooms. According to Babur, their surface is decorated with tiles and mosaics. With a huge device, installed at the observatory, the movement of the sun, moon, planets and stars have been studied with high precision.
The observatory had a library. The sky with a star map, a globe with all continents, oceans, mountains, seas, countries were painted on the walls. Later, left unattended, the observatory has turned into ruins in the XVI century. Now the underground part of the quadrant of a length of about 11 m is preserved. Uzbek and foreign scientists conduct scientific research on the true type, internal structure, the basic construction of the observatory.
In 1964 a museum of Ulugbek was opened next to it. As a visual expression of the highest development of science, particularly astronomy, in the epoch of Timurids the Ulugbek’s observatory in Samarkand strikes the imagination of visitors and pilgrims.
Location: Samarkand, Tashkent Yuli Street, 7.
Working hours: from 08.00 to 18.00.
Tel.: +99 898 573-05-91