Located on the east side of Lake Orumiyeh, the historic city of Maragheh is the home of the world’s greatest medieval observatory. Travel to Maragheh to visit how the ruins of the construction are still astonishingly haunting.
On the northeast of Iran, in the east Azerbaijan of Iran, there lies a city wherever of which you stand a huge white dome called Maragheh observatory flaunts. Today, the institution is used for star observation. But in the way to Maragheh, there is another incredible construction called Zahhak Castle. The castle is located in the southeast of Hashtroud city and near the Arablou village. Do not miss the castle with another one with the same name located in Ajab Shir.
Once the capital of Ilkhanid dynasty, the city of Maragheh is bound with its observatory and the name of Nasir al-Din Tusi. Based on some archeological evidence, the history of the area dates back to 5 million years ago. One of the Astronomical Heritages of Maragheh, as mentioned earlier, is Maragheh observatory the significance of which is mainly due to its important role in astronomy and mathematics of the middle ages. Apart from this massive, fascinating construction, watching the beautiful nature of Mount Sabalan and being in the spirit of adventure in an about three thousand years old castle are highlights of traveling to Maragheh, Iran.
Constructed in the 13th century under the patronage of Hulagu Khan, Maragheh observatory was directed by an Iranian mathematician and astronomer, Nasir al-Din Tusi. The main construction of the observatory was circular with some auxiliary buildings. Although there remain only the ruins of that huge construction, it is still amazingly spectacular; an astronomical institute which, according to Unesco, “The Maragha Observatory has a unique place in the history of medieval astronomy. It represents a new wave of scientific activities in the Islamic world in the mid-13th century.”
Dates back to about the year 2000 BC, the Zahhak castle was first discovered in the 19th century. The name of the castle indicates a figure in Persian mythology, however, it is not obvious why the castle is named after him. The Zahhak castle is located in northwest Iran near Hashtroud. Traveling to Maragheh is a superb chance to visit this incredible construction.
Considered as the oldest monument inn Maragheh, the exquisite Gonbad-e Sorkh (Red Tomb) was built in Seljuq era. The name of Gonbad-e Sorkh indicates the color of the red bricks used as the main material in its construction. The delicate decorations with blue tiles in composition with red, elegant bricks form a visually stunning monument visiting of which will become one of the most incredible experiences of Persian architecture.
There is no particular time for traveling to Maragheh. The city has a lot to say in every month of the year. But if you want to make the best of your trip, the first half of the year, especially spring and during March and April would be the best choice.
A one-day backpack, your trekking shoes and surely a camera are needed on this trip. On the way to Maragheh observatory you will visit some spectacular attractions, so be prepared to have an amazing trip. If you choose the second half of the year for this journey, be aware of the cold weather which demand some extra layer.
As Always, take care of natural and historical treasures. Just leave our footprints and take beautiful memories.
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