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Kalta Minor and Mohammed Amin Khan Medressa in 360°
An emblem of Khiva, the unfinished Kalta Minor Minaret stands next to the Mohammed Amin Khan Medressa. The khan of Khiva decided to build the tallest minaret in entire Central Asia and construction was started in 1851. However the minaret never got completed because Mohammed Amin Khan died abruptly in a battle in 1855.
1. Unfinished Minaret
There are also several legends about the unfinished minaret, giving us more interesting explanations. According to one of them, when the emir of Bukhara heard about the project, he commissioned the architect in Khiva to build an even larger one for him. But the khan also heard about it and ordered the architect to be thrown from the unfinished minaret. According to another one, construction was halted because the khan realised that the imam would get a perfect view on his harem from the top of the minaret.
Anyway, although being unfinished it is still a magnificient structure with its 14.2 meters in diameter at the basis and a height of 26 meters. Its exterior is decorated with beautiful tiling in blue, white, red and green. The inscription on the top of it reads:
“If the minaret would be finished, it could be a column which could hold the sky. You cannot express your feelings what you have here with words because words are not enough. You may wonder around the world three times but you'll never see such a beautiful structure as the minaret of Mohammed Amin Khan.”
Actually the foundation of the minaret is also very large since they had to build on sand and without a strong support the minaret would collapse.
Next door medressa is the largest medressa in Khiva and of couse it was also built by the same khan. Its rectangular layout is of 78 x 60 metres and the 125 cells (hudjras) could suit up to 260 people. Interesting dictinctive features of the building include the flanking corner towers and the balconies of the second floor cells. Noteworthy is the rich majolica decoration and the eleborately carved doors. Instead of the students and their teachers, nowadays tourists can stay in the cells because the medressa was converted into the state-run Hotel Khiva.
Surrounded by elm trees in the middle of the courtyard, the pool of the medressa used to establish a nice atmosphere. Unfortunately a thickness named Dutch elm disease infected the trees and most of them had to be cut. The pool was supplied with natural water and they had to dig down to ten metres to reach the water level. But the soil was salty and filters had to be put to achieve drinkable water. Since water is very important in the desert, medressas were usually built around the wells.