A modern day Astronomical Observatory in the Jeff Davies Mountains, TX, USA
one of the worlds best equipped and modern astronomical observatory. But I am going to show you a similar observatory even larger in total area built by the Mayans built some 900yrs ago.
We went to this Amazing place and saw this Observatory which is some 900 yrs old. El Caracol, Chichen Itza, Mexico: Photo Courtesy: Daniel Schwen
Mayans were the Masters of the Sky.
This was a Mayan astronomical Observatory and was built around 906 AD long before the Americas were discovered. This is a unique structure in the pre-Columbian Maya Civilization of Chichen Itza. The dome is called El Caracol, which means 'snail' in Spanish. It is so named due to the spiral staircase inside the tower (Wikipedia). Mayan astronomical texts include detailed tables for calculating various phases of the moon, eclipses of sun and moon, and the appearance and disappearance of Venus. To the ancient Mayans, Venus was the patron of war and many recorded battles are believed to have been timed according to the motions of this planet. (Source Wikipedia). Both astronomy and an intricate calculations were vitally important for Mayans.
Although, it is difficult to ascertain which of the great civilizations of the world., e.g. Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Roman, Indian, Chinese etc., were ahead in their Astronomical observations in naked eyes, as the telescopes were invented in 16th century. But I have never seen a monument that looked like a modern day Observatory and built around 906 yrs. or older. Obviously, the Mayans knew the use of an Observatory under an open sky even with naked eyes as we do with high power telescopes today. THAT WAS AMAZING FOR ME.