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The astrolabe is a historical astronomical instrument and analog computer. Its many uses include finding and predicting the positions of the stars and the sun; determining local time given local longitude; and surveying and triangulation. Some historians credit the invention of the astrolabe to the Greek Hipparchus while others credit the Persian Fazari. The astrolabe was introduced to Western Europe via Islamic Spain in the 11th century, and remained the chief navigational instrument until the invention of the sextant in the 16th century.



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The Malwiya Minaret is located in Samarra, and was built by Abbasid ruler Al Mutawakkli after the dynasty made Samarra the seat of the Islamic world in the eighth century. Built of baked bricks it's construction was completed around 850 AD. The tower is only one of three spiral minarets in the world and stands at 52 meters high. On April 1, 2005, gunmen set off explosives at the top of tower leaving a jagged hole, damaging one of the country’s most prized architectural treasures.



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