There’re many historical monuments in Samarkand, but there’s only one observatory. The greatest observatory that was ever built in Central Asia was built in 1420 by Ulugh Beg. Grandson of Tamerlan wasn’t remembered as a great ruler, but more as a scholar. Since childhood, Ulugh Beg was interested in exact sciences. All his teachers were outstanding scholars of that time. Presumably, Ulugh Beg was inspired by Nasar Ad-Din Tuya’s observatory in Azerbaijan. He saw it during travels with his grandfather.
Ulugh Beg’s observatory was a unique construction; a building with cylindrical foundation and three tremendous astronomical tools inside. Many great astronomers contributed to construction of Ulugh Beg’s observatory. The ruler didn’t intend to build an architectural monument; the observatory was created only for scientific purposes. Ulugh Beg encouraged scientists to do more research and expand their knowledge.
The astronomers of Ulugh Beg’s observatory succeeded greatly. Not only all instruments had extraordinary exactness, but the meridian arc was the biggest tool of its kind. Considering that all observation, made by Samarkand astronomers, were made with unassisted eye; it’s amazing how exact their observations were. They managed to calculate the length of star year mistaking for one minute.
Unfortunately, in 1449 Ulugh Beg was beheaded. His observatory kept working for the next 20 years. All scientists had to leave Samarkand due to persecutions. Remarkable observatory was robbed and ruined. Luckily, in 1908 first document with information about location of the observatory was found. Everything what is left from one of the biggest observatories of Central Asia is a foundation of the building and a part of the meridian arc.