Kalta-minor Minaret, Khiva

Kalta-minor: "short minaret"

It is difficult to imagine ancient Khiva without this monument of oriental architecture. The Minaret of Kalta-Minor has become the real symbol of the city.

It amazes with its size and unique design. Foundation of the minaret is 15 meters, diameter at the foundation is 14,5 meters and the height is 29 meters. But this massive tower has only third part of the project height.

In 1855 the Khiva ruler Muhammad Amin Khan was killed and the construction of the magnificent minaret was stopped, though it was supposed to be of 70 meters (according to other records – of 110 meters). According to the architect project wide foundation was to increase durability and the supposed top was to be narrower to decrease the load. But the fate decreed otherwise – and the tower remained unfinished. And now it resembles huge glazed barrel and is called as Kalta-Minor that means “short minaret”.

Kalta-minor Minaret, Khiva
Kalta-minor Minaret, Khiva
Kalta-minor Minaret, Khiva

There is a lot of interesting legends regarded to this minaret. During the construction of this grand minaret, people began to murmur close to the minaret. But Muhammad Amin-khan ordered to catch the strikers’ leader Matyakub and to bury him alive in the foundation of the tower. Another interesting legend says that Bukhara ruler learned about the construction of such grand minaret and offered the architect to build higher minaret. When Muhammad Amin Khan learned about this arrangement he decided to kill the corrupt architect. But the architect managed to escape, leaving the tower unfinished. Only this architect could complete the construction. But these are just legends and the erection of minaret was stopped exactly after death of the khan.

Even over a century later the minaret of Kalta Minor has been amazing with its size. Its unique decoration strikes an imagination: the minaret is completely covered with the glazed tile and majolica, which are still bright and vivid as in 1855.