Museum of Astronomy

The Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan is one of the places of interest in Tashkent. Within its walls there is a small but extremely interesting museum which was opened in 2009 which UNESCO proclaimed as the International Year of Astronomy.

The Astronomical Institute can be considered as an exhibit: during the Great Patriotic War, the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory was situated on the campus of the Institute. This was the very place from which standard time signals were transmitted throughout all the fronts at the beginning of the War. A canal flows through the campus; researchers suppose that it is the vanished Akkurganskiy canal which further passes into Darkhan canal. The Institute’s park looks like primeval jungle, with old trees and variety of plants. It is such a pleasure to walk down its alleys!

The Institute itself is one of the oldest ones in Central Asia; it was founded in 1873. The main chronometer of the city was kept there for all the watches to be synchronized by it, and a cannon used to fire according to the time it showed. Every morning the officer who was responsible for synchronizing of watches, came to the Observatory, then he went to the main square of the city where the cannon fired exactly at 1 p.m. so that the people could know what time it was. But sometimes the officer neglected his duty, and the cannon fired with a delay. In order to meet the people’s views and complaints, a clever telegraph-like mechanism was invented, which messaged the exact time to the cannon man.

In the Museum you can hear a lot of amazing stories, from antiquity to the present day. You will know about discovery of dark substance in galactic cluster, gravitational lenses, cosmic background and various radiation effects of galaxies which were forecasted by theorists and later confirmed by images of telescopes.

An unusual staircase leads to the first floor toward the Museum. Its banisters are marked out in the same way as the meridian quadrant, the main tool of Ulugbek’s Observatory in Samarkand. Despite its small size, the model is working! In the hall of the Museum you will see a number of unique chronometers and telescopes made by European craftsmen among which you fill find real “gems”. For example, the telescope invented by Isaac Newton and made by Short, an English proficient.

A simple thing may sometimes have a dramatic and amazing story, such as a sample vacuum flask. You can see a crack on it. Long ago, it was accidentally broken which might result in serious troubles for that person who did it, up to tribunal trial! A craftsman who lived in an old city (and whose name remained unknown, unfortunately) stuck the fragments together so skillfully that the flask became utilizable again!

In the Museum there are portraits of great astronomers and photographs of the starry sky and planets as well as photographs of Maidak Observatory and Kitab latitude station. In this museum you will get the complete idea of the achievements of Uzbek astronomy, the discoveries and merits of Uzbek people in this field.

Working hours: 10:00 – 17:00