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OTTOMAN TIME KEEPING HOUSES: MUWAQQITKHĀNAS

Salim Aydüz, Canik Başarı University, Samsun

Abstract: The scientific institutions in the field of astronomy in the Ottoman civilization, which I shall examine are the Muwaqqitkhānas. The establishment of the chief astronomer’s office, an institution which emerged to administer the growing number of Muwaqqitkhānas set up in the Ottoman state and especially in Istanbul following the conquest and to manage astronomical and astrological activities at the palace, most probably took place during the reign of Bâyezîd II. In Ottoman times Muwaqqitkhānas could be found in almost every city and town next to a mosque as one or two room structures. Following the founding of the Republic, the Muwaqqitkhānas were transferred to a new body, known as the Bashmuwaqqitlik, until it was finally closed down on 20 September 1952. In this paper, I will explore the structure of the Muwaqqitkhāna institution, and some important Muwaqqitkhānas and famous timekeepers/ Muwaqqits of the Ottomans.

Keywords: Astronomy, Muwaqqitkhānas, Miqāt, Ottoman State, Munajjimbashi, Time Keeper Houses