Medieval Observatory discovered in Iran



 
 Iranian archaeologists have discovered a 13th century observatory at the Ismailis stronghold of Alamut. It is believed this was used by the famous scientist and astronomer Khwaja Nasiruddin al-Tusi.

Hamide Chobak, manager of the Alamut site, told the Fars News Agency, “During our excavations in the Alamut Castle we found some windows which we realized had not been used for scouting to protect anything. These windows open to the southeast, that is the direction that stars first come into sight.”

“These three windows that come in certain distances from each other have been used by Khajeh Nasireddin Tousi for observing the stars,” she added.

Al-Tusi, a Persian scientist and philosopher, lived as a virtual prisoner of the Ismailis leadership during the 1240s and 1250s, but was allowed to continue his work. When the Mongols overran the Ismailis strongholds in 1256, al-Tusi took service with the Mongol leader Hulagu Khan and later built a new observatory in Maragha.

“A comparison of the Alamut Castle with Maragha observatory discloses that Khajeh Nasireddin Tousi had constructed and modeled the famous Maragha observatory after the Alamut observatory,” Chobak noted. He later went on to dispute the notion that the sun and other planets were circling the Earth.

The castle of Alamut, which means ‘Eagle’s Nest,’ lies about 100 kilometres northwest of Tehran. Earlier this year, archaeologists announced they found found turquoise, azure and golden tiles, which date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, and two years they found the remains of a mosque on the site.

Source: Fars News Agency