Ancient sundials

Istanbul Sundial Tour

SUNDIAL at Topkapi Palace

In the Third Courtyard of Topkapi Palace is a complex Ottoman sundial. This horizontal sundial on a pedestile has two gnomons and tells time in four systems: Western, Babylonian, Italian and Moslem.

N 41° 00.800 E 028° 59.078

35T E 666881 N 4542133

The sundial near the Library of Ahmet III in the 3rd courtyard of the Topkapi Palace can be given as an example of a horizontal sundial which has been protected due to its location.  One has to climb four steps on a marble stairway in order to take a glance at the dial settled above an elevated base. Under the scale at the eastern side of the dial is seen the inscription “Ameli Suleyman Katib-i evvel” meaning that it has been built by Suleyman, the first secretary of the Treasury. At the western side the inscription “This sundial has been established during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, let the rule of Sultan Selim, the son of Sultan Mustafa, extend to the world to come, it has been renovated by Seyyid Abdullah, his guard, year 1208,-the month of Shaban (February/April 1794)” can be read.

OTHER SUNDIAL  at Topkapi Palace

The sundial in the picture above is an Angbuilgu from the Joseon era in Korea. The word “Angbuilgu” means “upward-looking kettle that catches the shadow of the sun.” This type of sundial was developed in 1434. It is very sophisticated and can not only show time of day, but also the time of year. The sundial is aligned to the North Star.

 VERTICAL SUNDIAL on Hagia Sophia Wall

Hagia Sophia is an architectural marvel. On the south west wall as you exit after a tour is a simple sundial showing Moslem prayer times. The curved lines show the time of the afternoon prayer, Asr, the start time, when the shadow length is equal to the noon length plus the height of the gnomom, the end time when the shadow is the noon shadow plus twice the gnomon height, The other curved lines are times before Asr in equal 20 minute intervals. The vertical noon meridian is evident as are the declination lines for the solstices and equinox. Modern computer analysis shows the lines are mathematically correct. The dial is no longer accurate because the gnomon is drooping, bent down from its erect horizontal position. The midday Zhur prayer time is not evident on this sundial.



downloadAll the teachers, guest and host students set up for Safranbolu. The Old Town preserves many old buildings, with 1008 registered historical artifacts. These are: 1 private museum, 25 mosques, 5 tombs, 8 historical fountains, 5 Turkish baths, 3 caravanserais, 1 historical clock tower, 1 sundial and hundreds of houses and mansions. Also there are mounds of ancient settlements, rock tombs and historical bridges.




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