KANDİLLİ OBSERVATORY TURNS 150 Established in 1868 under the name Rasathane-i Amire (Imperial Observatory), Bogazici University Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute is celebrating the 150th anniversary this year.

The history of celestial observation in the Ottoman Empire dates back to much earlier than the Kandilli Observatory. The first person to introduce the scientific astronomy to the empire was Ali Kuşçu (1403-1474), the famous astronomer and mathematician of the 15th century.

Ali Kuşçu was a student of Ulug Bey, who founded the Samarkand Observatory in 1450. After coming to Istanbul upon the invitation of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, Ali Kuşçu was soon appointed to the Hagia Sophia Madrasa. He gave astronomy and mathematics lessons in Fatih Complex. He also measured Istanbul's latitude and longitude and made various sundials.

After the death of Ali Kuşçu in 1474, astronomy studies in the Ottoman Empire entered into a stagnation period until the first observatory was established with the permission of Sultan Murad III, in 1577 by Takiyuddin (1526-1585), a lecturer in the Egyptian Madrasa who came to Istanbul in 1571.

After his personal studies, done in unfavorable conditions in the Galata Tower, Takiyüddin built one of the most important observatories of that century on the top of the Pera hill next to the French Embassy on Tophane ridges. However, this observatory was destroyed in 1579 by the Grand Admiral Kılıç Ali Pasha, following a fatwa of Şeyhülislam Ahmet Şemseddin Efendi.

Rasathane-i Amire, the foundation of the Kandilli Observatory, was established in 1868, on the advice of the French government, to forward weather forecasts to certain centers by telegraph. Instruments were purchased from Europe's leading factories, and the observatory first started operating on a 74-meter-high hill in Pera.

It took its present status by undergoing significant changes during the Republican era and was transformed into an institute affiliated to the Rectorate Bogazici University in 1983, under the name of "Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute". The observatory, which has been renovated since this date, has astronomy and meteorology laboratories as well as the Department of Earthquake Engineering, Department of Geodesy, and Department of Geophysics.

Measuring and recording the meteorological factors since July 1, 1911, the Kandilli Observatory continues to be Turkey's major earthquake and astronomy research center with its 150 years of history.

For more info please visit http://www.koeri.boun.edu.tr/new/en