Chief astrologer Taqi Al-Din, founder of the Istanbul Observatory, in front of his Observatory in Beyoglu with his assistants and students



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The place of the chief astrologer, the astrology institution was having a hard time not just in our time, but also in the Ottoman Era, because of religious and political conflicts. Of course, the difficulties we’re facing right now, for example anti-astrology is only limited by some non-scientific speculators presenting sources by warping them or by the increase of crooked astrologers. At that time, it caused much more severe troubles.

Fortunately, we have sufficient sources on the subject and they haven’t been warped yet. Since we have seen that some non-scientific people on the internet are warping the sources just to advertise their books, we will quote the correct information from some of the scientists and we will try to protect that information.

chief astrologer Taqi Al-Din and his Istanbul Observatory was unfortunately became the victim of political and religious conflicts of some non-scientific people who wish to continue the Inquisition mentality even today. While examples are plenty on the subject, we will only study this example in the article, we will leave the remaining examples to the book we are currently writing.


First of all, let’s look at the information given on the chief astrologer by Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu:

“The chief astrologer”

“In the Ottoman State and especially in the palace, the person who was the head of diviners was called the “chief astrologer”. The chief astrologer, according to the archive documents and information from the sources, is an institution came to being between the late XV. century and the early XVI. century. In the Ottoman palace, chief astrologers were a part of the foreign affairs division, they were a part of the scholar class and were chosen among the madrasa graduates.

In the XVI. century, people such as Seydi İbrahim bin Seyyid, Sa’di Celebi, Yusuf bin Omer, Mustafa bin Ali and Taqi Al-Din Râsid were served as chief astrologers. Mustafa b. Ali produced very valuable works on the fields of astronomy and geography. Taqi Al-Din Râsid also wrote many valuable works on the fields of astronomy and mathematics, he also founded an observatory in Istanbul and made some observation. In the XVI. century, chief astrologers had many responsibilities in the palace, on astronomy and astrology. Beginning with XVI. century, chief astrologers started to make calendars, eid timetables and horoscopes for the members of the palace. The most prominent job of the chief astrologer is to prepare calendars. The calendars were calculated according to Uluğ Bey until 1800 and after that according to Jacques Cassini. Also, preparing eid timetables before every Ramadan and preparing horoscopes were also the chief astrologer’s job. chief astrologers and sometimes their assistant diviners designated auspicious hours for many events, important or trivial, such as the enthronement, wars, births, weddings, ship launches, releasing the bred horses to the fields or the sultan’s arrival to the summer or the winter palace. Many palace members and especially the sultan evaluated chief astrologers according to their horoscopes and granted them many boons if their horoscopes were accurate. But, there were sultans such as Abdülhamid I and Selim III who didn’t put their trusts in auspicious hours or horoscopes. But since the auspicious hour became a tradition, these sultan who didn’t believe in it, couldn’t prevent it.

Also, important astronomical and extraordinary events such as the passing of a comet, earthquake, fire, solar and lunar eclipses were followed and evaluated by the chief astrologers and then presented to the palace.

Time rooms were operated by the chief astrologer. The observatory founded in Istanbul with the name Dârü’r-rasadü’l-cedid, was operated by the chief astrologer Taqi Al-Din Râsıd. The school named Mekteb-i Fenn-i Nücûm which was founded in the first half the XIX. century, was also operated by the chief astrologers Hüseyin Hüsni and Sadullah Efendi.

chief astrologers were palace officials who were members of the Ulama, and they were in the court of the chief physician who was subordinate to the lord armorer, so their appointments and depositions were ruled out by him. In the XVI. century, chief astrologers received 2000 coins when they present calendars to the palace, and diviners received 1000 coins. 37 people served as chief astrologers in the Ottoman Empire. Among these, Taqi Al-Din Râsıd (d. 1585) was famous for the observatory he founded in Istanbul and chief astrologer Dervish Ahmet Dede (d.1702) was famous for his book Camiü’ d-Düvel. chief astrologer Hüseyin Efendi (d. 1650) was known for the accuracy of his horoscopes. Since chief astrologers were of the scholar class, they served as teachers and Islamic judges.

After the XVI. century, the office of chief astrologer continued according to a system until the end of the Ottoman Empire. This office which survived until the death of the chief astrologer Hüseyin Hilmi Efendi, was abolished in 1924 by not appointing a new chief astrologer and in 1927 the office of Chief Chronometer.” [Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. İ.Ü. Literature Departement]


Like we indicated at the beginning of the article, astrology institution became a victim of political and religious conflicts and scientific development gets damaged and these damages were more severe in the past. An example of this is unfortunately the Istanbul Observatory founded by chief astrologer Taqi Al-Din. Let’s see what Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu wrote on the subject since he’s an expert on the subject.


Istanbul Observatory

The first observatory in the Ottomans was founded by Taqi Al-Din Râsıd during the reign of Sultan Murad III (1574 – 1595).


Müneccimbaşı Takiyüddin el-Rasıd tarafından kurulan İstanbul Rasathanesinde bulunan Zâtu'l-Halak Şehinşahname

Zâtu’l-Halak Shahinshahname in the Istanbul Observatory founded by chief astrologer Taqi Al-Din el-Rasid


 Taqi Al-Din Râsıd was born in Damascus in 1526. After completing his education in Damascus and Egypt, he served for a time as an Islamic judge and a teacher and had many important works in astronomy and mathematics. Taqi Al-Din Râsıd who came to Istanbul from Egypt in 1570, was appointed as the chief astrologer after the death of chief astrologer Mustafa b. Ali, within a year (1571).

Taqi Al-Din Râsıd who became close with many famous members of the ulema and state officials, especially Hodja Sadeddin Efendi, met with Sultan Murad III. through Grand Vizier Sokullu Mehmed Pasha.

Taqi Al-Din Râsıd told the Sultan that the calendar of Uluğ Bey is not sufficient for his calculations, and they should start using a new one and opened to him the idea of opening an observatory. Sultan Murad reacted positively to this endeavor which was possible for his ancestors,  and ordered its construction immediately and funded it sufficiently. Meanwhile, Taqi Al-Din Râsıd continued his research in the Galata Tower, and since 1577, he moved to the observatory named which Dâru’r-rasadü’l-cedîd was partially completed.

The observatory consisted one large and two smaller buildings and constructed near Tophane. Taqi Al-Din manufactured in detail, many tools used in the old Islam observatories. He also invented some new tools and used them for the first time in his observations. A great library was also founded within the observatory mainly consisting books on astronomy and mathematics. The observatory had a crew of 16 people along with Taqi Al-Din, which eight of them were observatory researchers, four of them scholars and another for of them was assistants.[…] The observatory had great successes within a very short time. […]

The observatory was destroyed by the Great Admiral Kılıç Ali Pasha by the order of the Sultan in 22 January 1580, on the grounds of religious reasons, because of some political conflicts. [Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. İ.Ü. Literature Departement]



Today, some non-scientific people who’s trying to advertise their books by stepping on astrology because it is a popular subject, has the crassness to indicate that those who prepare astrological evaluations and prophecies for the palace was inconvenienced by the observatory.  The fact that the founder of the observatory was a chief astrologer who made such astrological evaluations, unfortunately is not enough to stop these people from warping the facts to their liking.

However, Istanbul Observatory was destroyed because of the enmity against astrology of non-scientific people, who were in the same mind with these people.

The most important prediction of chief astrologer Taqi Al-Din was his announcement of the Çıldır Victory  based on a comet seen in Istanbul.


How could the observatory founded by Taqi Al-Din who was also an astrologer –which continued his astrological predictions in there – could be destroyed by astrologers? A claim like this wouldn’t fit in any logic or more importantly any conscience. The Library of Alexandria are still being burned down by these people who’re warping the sources. But there is something they don’t know: Inquisition era is over, and these dark minds were sent back to the darkness they belong.

Sheikh- ul – Islam of the time, Ahmed Şemseddin Efendi, by ignoring the prediction of Çıldır Victory by Taqi Al-Din, started to speak against astrology with the excuse of a plague epidemic in Istanbul.  Because he was an enemy of astrology like some non-scientific people in our time which are clueless about Islamic history. Since the claims of non-scientific people will me mostly warped, let’s look at the information and proofs presented by experts and scientists.

The Sheikh-ul-Islam of the time, Ahmet Şemseddin Efendi presented a report to the Sultan and indicated in his report that making observations is ominous and the fate of those who dare to learn defiantly of the mysterious curtain of destiny, and if in a country a horoscope is prepared, that country may become devastated when it was serene and state buildings would be destroyed by and earthquake.

A. Dr. Yavuz Unat İstanbul, Zaman İçinde İstanbul, October 2004, Issue 51


While the Istanbul Observatory destroyed in a very interesting way, not much data exists about the cause of its destruction. However, the comet observed in 1577 and the plague epidemic in 1578, and also the claim by some people who exaggerate that Taqi Al-Din and the observatory personnel was looking at the legs of the angels  increased the doubts about the destruction of the observatory. […] Behind all these rumors, the political conflict between two different groups with Sheikh-ul-Islam on one side and Hoca Sadettin Efendi who helped the foundation  of the observatory on the other, seems like the real reason behind its destruction.

Dr. Urungu Akgül


It was decided to dare the dangers and consequences of making ominous predictions through observation and knowing the mysterious curtain of the skies. Trying to devastate and destroy a state building while it was prosperous was not seen in any country.

Science Historian Lütfi Göker

Taqi Al-Din er-Rasıt and the Istanbul Observatory, Ministry of Culture, National Culture Magasine, Issue 11, 1987

Date: 11 November 1577. A comet was seen in the Istanbul skies. The comet who caused excitement and fear for the public was observed for a month. After the comet, firstly a plague epidemic started in Istanbul. Unfortunately, the same year there was an earthquake. The public was desperate. And like with all desperations, superstition  started to run rampart: The cause of the disaster was the observatory! Because they were looking at the legs of the angels! Nobody came up and said, look there was also plague in 1539, 1573 and 1576. Also, nobody said, couldn’t say, earthquakes happen all the time. Because there were political group being strengthen by these superstitions. There was an enmity between Taqi Al-Din’s greatest supporter Sadeddin Hoca and the Sheikh-ul-Islam of the time, Ahmed Şemseddin Efendi . Sheikh-ul-Islam, along with the women in the palace, convinced the Sultan that the observatory is a sin. Sultan Murad III, without a doubt, went along with it not because he believed it but he feared the displeasure of his people.  Anyway, there were no good news coming from the Iran expedition which was made by believing in a great victory. In the end, the Sultan ordered and the Sheikh-ul-Islam gave the fetva: Making observations will bring misfortune. The consequences of trying to understand the secrets of the angels arrogantly, are clear. Nothing went good in countries who made such observations and the state always experienced earthquakes. The observatory in Tophane was destroyed utterly.

Journalist Soner Yalçın

26 September 2010, Hürriyet


Mars & Neptune Connections of Anti-Astrology

Unfortunately, Taqi Al-Din’s prediction of the Çıldır Victory in 1578 and his scientific  inventions couldn’t overcome the superstition that he was looking at the legs of the angels. On the contrary, the accuracy of this prediction drove the anti-astrologists mad and in 1580, while the Mars-Neptune opposition was in the skies, the observatory was destroyed.  Mars-Neptune opposition are really bad, and they tell about attacks but looking innocent while doing it, speculation and diversion. This is why it is really meaningful that the destruction of the observatory is being blamed on astrologers, by some people.  And this claim was made, what a coincidence, when the Mars-Neptune opposition was in the skies! (14 November 2011). And look, again what a coincidence, there is Mars-Neptune conjunction in the map of the one who made this claim. In our Facebook page about the hard angles of Mars-Neptune, we are giving information since day one. To understand it better, you can visit these links:

25 June 2011                    21 June 2011                    20 October 2010


Contrary to what people clueless about history and science trying to propagate, the destruction of the observatory was recorded in history as one of the last attacks by zealots against science, not by “astrologers”. In every source you look, you would find that this observatory was destroyed by an anti-astrology mentality. Same mentality (like anti-astrology) of the people who makes the claims. So, by warping the sources, they are not just trying to continue the same mentality in our modern times, but also they are trying to blame the astrologers, who were actually the victims in the event. While there are so many resources, it is actually futile but while a populace who wouldn’t bother to investigate continue to exist, people like this can continue to gain favors and burn down the Library of Alexandria. He would walk the world of lies, without wearing the right shoe said Mark Twain. Unfortunately, this is going to end, don’t you worry.

Despite many sources and proofs, we know that those who burn with the love of advertisement will not shut up. Because there is the opportunity to gain favor by stepping on a popular subject. But, this will not work because this was done so many time before and back then it was not so easy for everybody to have access to real sources and accurate predictions. Even Astrology Disapproved by theatre writer Lawrence Jerome, which was translated into Turkish by Rennan Pekünlü, and which is quoted so much because it is thought to be scientific, couldn’t become very successful, we astrologers advertised it actually.

So time’s changed and it’s still changing.

In a psychological position like this, being quiet or acceptance are really rare. And it is seen in non-scientific people. Actually it is inspiring to witness the objectivity the science requires in rare scientists like Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan doesn’t believe in astrology, but uses the objectivity the science requires very fittingly and just so I advise his objectivity, justice and scientific analytic mind to people who aspire to scientists.

“In the mid 70s, an astronomer which I admire (D.Dölen note: He means the American Bart Jan Bok, which his influence is used by the theatre writer Jerome ), prepared a modest declaration named “Objections to Astrology” and wanted me to sign it. After I’ve read the text, I felt that I would not confirm the declaration, not because I think astrology has any validity, but the wording was imperious (I still think that). It was criticizing astrology because it was based on superstition. But the same is true for religion, chemistry, medicine and astronomy. And these are just four of the examples.

The declaration was indicating that we couldn’t tell about any mechanism that astrology works. Since this is a very important point, it is not convincing by itself. In the first quarter of the 20th century, there were no mechanism to confirm the continental shifts, when it was asserted by Alfred Wegener to explain a group of strange  findings in the fields of geography and paleontology. “

Astronomer Carl Sagan

Tübitak Publishing, Candle Light of Science in a Dark World




How similar are these events, characters and also celestial position with our time, isn’t it? Some people come out with ridiculous and clueless non-scientific claims and attack astrology just for the sake of advertising by ignoring all the facts. It’s like that we are reliving the same events. Bu this time, the speculators are warping all the facts, even by using the proofs and sources indicated above. Let’s explain with an example.

From time to time, we make astrological evaluations, if there is no situation in the sky that may cause panic. In one of these evaluations, we predicted that someone who is non-scientific and anti-astrology will attack astrologers.

“Since in astrology, Mercury is also the representative of astrologers, we should of course be wary of speculative moves. 6 September 2011.” Astrology Turkey Facebook Page

And just two days after our prediction, she was attacking astrology and astrologers with impunity by using the knowledge of others with article titled “ ATTENTION ALL FRIENDS AND ALL ASTROLOGY ENTHUSIASTS”, and like this was not enough, she was making the advertisement for her book which is filled with copy paste claims that was answered by Ptolemy 2000 years ago, by adding insults to original texts. Also, when we look at the attacks from 2 years before, we saw the same astrological signs. And do you know which answer we got for all these clear and proven predictions? Look, you yourselves are saying that you are “mediums” and “oracles”. [K.S]

Yes, you’ve read it correctly. As an astrologer, you make astrological predictions and if this is accurate you become an oracle or a soothsayer, not an astrologer. A logic such as this which ignores a system just by wordplay, unfortunately still exists in our world.

Just as Taqi Al-Din’s prediction of Çıldır Victory was enough and even the plague was connected to the observatory, no proof, no prediction will never present a conscious justice for a non-scientific mentality.

History repeats itself. But history is just not made of events, but also people. This is why, those that repeat are not just events, but also people.

With knowledge and justice.

This article was quoted from the book we’re writing ,because it is a great example for the psychology of anti-astrology in the context of history’s repetitions.


I heartily thank Astrologer Devrim Yılmazer, my partner in ascending Virgo, which had many great help on scientific quotation and orthography.  Because my Mars is at Aquarius and Saturn is right opposite to it, I’m really sensitive about the sources being accurate and fair, unlike non-scientific people.


Copyright © Devrim Dölen

16 November 2011, 13:37, Izmir


Translate from Turkish: Mehmet Günüşen 

Devrim DÖLEN was born in 3 March 1977 in Istanbul. Before she began her professional career with many astrology and statistics groups which are active in USA and Turkey, she’ve spent 22 years on astrology researches. Since 1999, she shared some of these in peer-review journals and some of them on the internet.

Within the Istanbul Aydin University, she’s the first astrology teacher in Turkey with a YÖK approved certificate.

She is one of the founders of the Gizemciler group founded in 1999. One of the moderators of the Astrology and Astro-Diary group which founded in 2001 and which focuses on astrology and is one of the first communities in Turkey to give astrology lessons in Turkish, Dölen, became one of the 3 founders of the which she co-founded with Devrim Yilmazer and Hakan E. Kayioglu whom she knew more than 10 years. In 2011, she founded the Zodiac Astrology Publishing and the Astrology Academy with Devrim Yilmazer. She has various books and research projects going on.

She created her life style around living with cats, making astrological paintings, designs and dioramas, eco-villages, diving, searching, failing and searching again…


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