Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran
working at the Alamut Castle
have recently discovered ruins of a structure which they say may be of an
observatory that had been built by the Iranian polymath Khawja Nasir ad-Din Tusi
at the castle during the 13th century.
"We have found three hatches opening toward the southeast
where stars begin shining at the end of the day," Alamut Research Center
Director Hamideh Chubak told the Persian service of the Fars News Agency on
She said that the hatches were definitely not for the purpose of keeping watch
on the surrounding area.
"The general structure of the Alamut Castle possesses characteristics that
indicate it had also been used for observatory activities," she said.
The height of the Alamut Castle is appropriate for observatory activities, which
can be done from every side of the structure, Chubak said.
Additionally, Chubak said that astronomers' tools were previously discovered in
Due to all the abovementioned evidence and the long period
Khawja Nasir ad-Din Tusi lived in the Alamut Castle, archaeologists believe that
he had most likely built an observatory in the castle.
"By comparison with the Margheh Observatory, we learned that Khawja Nasir ad-Din
Tusi had built the observatory after the structure at Alamut. Thus, he used the
Alamut observatory's plan to construct the Margheh Observatory," she noted.
Outstanding Persian philosopher, scientist, and mathematician Khawja Nasir
ad-Din Tusi (1201-1274) spent 26 years studying in Alamut and other castles of
the Ismailites, a Shia sect that was most active as a religio-political movement
from the 9th to 13th centuries through its subsects, the Fatimids, the Qaramitah,
and the Assassins.
With the fall in 1256 of Alamut to Hulegu Khan (c. 1217-1265), grandson of
Genghis Khan, Khawja Nasir immediately accepted a position with the Mongols as a
Profiting from Hulegu's belief in astrology, he obtained support in 1259 to
build a fine observatory (completed in 1262) adjacent to Hulegu's capital in
Maragheh, now in East Azerbaijan Province.
Located near the northern Iranian city of Qazvin, the Alamut Castle was used by
Hassan Sabbah, the founder of the order known as the Assassins, as a
headquarters to command a chain of strongholds all over Iran and Iraq, a network
of propagandists, a corps of devoted terrorists, and an unknown number of agents
in enemy camps and cities, after he and his allies captured it in 1090.
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