Photographer's Note

Ulug Beg (1394-1449), grandson of Timur, built one of the earliest Islamic astronomical observatories in the fifteenth century, on the outskirts of Samarkand.
The observatory consisted of three gigantic astronomical instruments. First, a colossal meridian arc or sextant, running through the building's center. Its quadrant contains arabic symbols and numerals on white marble stones, while the upper part of its brick arc structure reached the flat roof of the observatory, at the height of forty meters. Second, a solar clock consisting in a curved wall. The third one was a rotating quadrant sector.

The general appearance of the building was that of a three floored cylindrical building. It was demolished by the local ulemas after Ulug Beg’s murder. It was decorated with glazed brick mosaics, on the exterior and the interior had paintings depicting the position, orbit and physical characteristics of heavenly bodies.

The datas collected by Ulug Beg on this instrument were so precise, that they were still used in the XVIIIth century.

Foundations of the structure and underground sections of the giant marble sextant, whose remnants you can see on this picture, were unearthed by Russian archaeologist Vladimir Viatkin in 1908.

As a workshop, you can have a global view of the ruins.

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Additional Photos by Yannick LEPRETE (yannick) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 18 N: 156] (1471)
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