Ulugh Beg , King and Astronomer, Uzbekistan


Ulūgh Beg,  (1394-1449 ),was the grandson of the  Taimur ir Timur  (Tamerlane) but his passion lay in good governance and astronomy. He was an intellectual  under whose rule Uzbekistan reached its cultural peak. He made Samarkand a centre of Islamic culture .   His greatest  achievement was the building of a remarkable observatory (begun in 1428) at Samarkand. In his observations he discovered a number of errors in the computations of the 2nd-century Alexandrian astronomer  Ptolemy whose figures were still being used.

Ulugh Beg was primarily a scientist, in particular a mathematician and an astronomer. However, he certainly did not neglect the arts, writing poetry and history and studying the Qur’an. In 1417, to push forward the study of astronomy, Ulugh Beg began building a madrasah which is a centre for higher education. The madrasah, fronting the Registan Square in Samarkand, was completed in 1420 and Ulugh Beg then began to appoint the best scientists he could find to positions there as lecturers.Ulugh Beg invited the great astronomer ,al-Kashi to join his madrasah in Samarkand, as well as around sixty other scientists including Qadi  Zada.

He was eventually put to death at Samarkand at the instigation of his own son ‘Abd al-Latif. His tomb was discovered in 1941 within the  mausoleum  built by Timur.


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