Observatory from the past reminds of Struve Arc

Remains of Struve Arc geodesic point unearthed in Drogichin District

By Fiodor Mukha

The dig was conducted in the village of Belin, by specialists from Belaerokosmogeodesiya and Credo-Dialogue joint venture. In the 1820s, a geodesic point was located there, in addition to an astronomic observatory.

The Struve Geodetic Arc is among Belarus’ UNESCO World Heritage List sites. Created in the 19th century by famous Russian geodesist and astronomer Vasily Struve, it enabled him to calculate the length of the terrestrial meridian. The Struve Arc is a chain of 265 geodesic points, stretching from Norway to the Black Sea, with 31 crossing Belarus’ western part; about twenty have so far been discovered. The Drogichin find supplements this figure, hinting at where researchers might find other mini-observatories.

The Struve Arc passed through ten states but the most points have been preserved in Belarus. These differ in shape and size — varying from a pyramid of cobblestones to a granite cube (laid into the ground) and an iron cross.

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