The Republic of Uzbekistan, established in 1924 as a constituent republic of the former Soviet Union, declared independence as an Islamic nation in 1991. As the nation moves ahead into the 1st century, it struggles to find ways to modernize its industrial and economic systems in order to join the global community. At the same time, it is essential for the new nation to recover from 75 years of repression during the Communist era and strengthen its particular religious, cultural, and intellectual values.


To this end, the government of Uzbekistan has set up a national trust to finance the construction of the PIA, a center for advanced astrological research. The ancient city of Samarkand has been chosen as the site for this facility, which will be the most advanced research institute of its type in the world. A number of Communist-era buildings will be demolished so that the scale and complex spatial hierarchy of the historic quarter can be extended into the modern city. The PIA will comprise lecture halls and classrooms, laboratories, an auditorium, libraries and housing for students and faculty, and it will be equipped with VLT optical and infrared telescopes.