Kalta Minor Minaret

Kalta Minor Minaret

Kalta-Minor is a short, yet extremely gorgeous minaret stands in front of the facade of the Muhammad Amin-Khan Madrassah in Khiva. The minaret and Muhammad Amin-Khan Madrassah were aimed to finish the design of the big square next to the western gates of Ichan Kala. Kalta-Minor was expected to become the biggest and highest minaret in Central Asia. Its extensive base is 14.2 m in diamete but the construction was suspended at a height of 29 m upon the death of Muhammad-Amin-Khan in 1855 following a battle with the Turkmen. The name Kalta minor means “Short minaret” and is quite obvious due to its unfinished appearance. Nevetheless Kalta-minor is a great looking and unique minaret completely covered with greenish glazed tile and majolica and is one of the most recognized buildings of Ichan Kala, Khiva and even of all Uzbekistan.


Muhammad Amin-Khan wanted this minaret at the madrasah to be larger than anything ever built in Khoresm. He ordered people to work free of charge for two years to build this construction. According to the legend, one of the masters, who had refused to fulfill the will of the khan, was immured alive inside the building. 

Other legends tell that the Emir of Bukhara, having learned about the unique minaret construction in Khiva, wanted to create a similar structure in Bukhara. The Emir agreed with the master that he would make it as soon as he had finished his work in Khiva. The Khivan Khan, discovered these plans and gave the order to execute the master right after he would have finished the building. When this news reached the master, he ran away, leaving the minaret unfinished.

Khiva gate and Kalta minor minaret in the background

Other sights of Khiva, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

Page updated 24.2.2021

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