Sunday, November 7, 2021

Time travel in the 12th century with a 21st century solar clock


Garden at the Sorkh Dome
Watercolour and crayon
©2021 Charlene Brown

The Gonbad-e Sorkh, or Sorkh Dome, the red brick structure on the right in this painting, is an important historical building in Maragheh, Iran. It is one of the oldest buildings of the Islamic Period in the East Azerbaijan Province.  In typical Razi style, the north-facing entrance to the tower is adorned with intricate brickwork and exquisite turquoise tiles. Built in 1147 CE, it is now set in a garden with pools and floral landscaping featuring Islamic designs.  

A huge vertical solar clock on the East-West wall of the garden was set up on the occasion of the World Year of Physics (2005) in a collaborative project of the Maragheh Astrology Research Centre (dating from 1259) and the office of the cultural attach√© of the French Embassy in Teheran.  BTW, although this clock is pretty new, the concept of the sundial was understood as early as the 15th century BCE.