Juma Mosque (also sometimes written as Djuma or Dzhuma) is the cathedral mosque of Khiva, located in the very center of Ichan-Kala. According to the Arab geographer Mukaddasiy, the Dzhuma Mosque dates back to the 10th century. However, according to the historian Munis, the mosque you see today is built in the later 18th century and the mosque’s construction date is visible on its entrance doors: 1778-1782. Munis also declares that it was built on the money donated by one of the top officials of his khanate, called Abdurakhman Mukhtar.
The Juma Mosque was one of the most prominent structures of the Middle Ages and is notable for its unique composition and its symbolic of the ancient mosques in Khorezm. From the outside, the mosque’s appearance is quite simple but from the inside it is magnificent. There are three openings in the ceiling providing light inside the mosque and together with the 213 carved wooden columns, they create an exclusive atmosphere. The majority of the columns were carved from tree trunks in the 18th and 19th centuries and unique carvings decorate their trunks and capitals. Some of them were also made from timber retrieved from ruined medieval buildings and few of the oldest ones date back to 10th century. Columns vary in size, form and decoration and are depictive of the high art value of the mosque together with the skillful construction design that can withstand earthquakes remarkably well. Scientists consider that all these features together make it comparable to the ancient mosques of Arabia.
The mosque also has a minaret that you can enter from inside the mosque and climb all the way to the top along the narrow staircase with 81 different size stairs. The minaret occupies the central spot and from the top there is a great view to Ichan Kala and the surrounding Khiva after you catch your breath from the climbing and squeezing past the visitors coming down the same stairs.
The diameter of Djuma-Mosque’s Minaret is 6,2 m at its base and its height is 32,5 m with seven narrow cross-section corbels of turquoise bricks meaning it is sparsely ornamented compared to other minarets of Khiva. An eight-arch lantern with a stalactite cornice and dome crowns the minaret.