Poi Kalan complex

Poi Kalan complex

Poi Kalan is an ensemble of buildings in the Uzbek city of Bukhara. It is located in the historic centre of Bukhara, southeast of the Ark Citadel, and comprises four structures: the Kalan Minaret, the Kalan Mosque, the Mir-Arab-Madrasa and the Emir-Alim-Khan Madrasah.

The Kalan Minaret is popularly known as Minara-i Kalan (Great Minaret). It is also known as the Tower of Death because for centuries criminals were executed by being thrown from the minaret.

The Kalan Mosque (Masdjid-i Kalan) was built circa 1514 in the Khanate of Bukhara. It is the same size as the Bibi Khanym Mosque in Samarkand. Although both are mosques, they are very different in architectural styles. There are 288 domes sitting on 208 columns on the roof of the galleries surrounding the inner courtyard of the mosque. There is a long tiled ivan portal at the entrance to the main prayer hall, facing the courtyard. The mosque is covered with a large blue tiled dome.

The construction of the Mir-i-Arab Madrasa is attributed to Sheikh Abdullah Yamani in Yemen. Sheikh Abdullah Yamani was considered the spiritual mentor of Ubeydullah Khan, also called Mir-i-Arab, and his son Abdul-Aziz-Han.

The Emir-Alim-Khan-Madrasa is part of the Poi Kalan building complex, which is located southeast of the Ark Citadel. It is located to the east of the Kalan minaret and closes the square between the Kalan mosque and the Mir-Arab-Madrasa to the south. The building was erected at the beginning of the 20th century under Alim Khan, the last emir of the Emirate of Bukhara.

A cathedral mosque with a minaret has been in Bukhara since the conquest of Transoxania by the Arabs in VIII; there was a mosque at the foot of the city citadel. In the XII century, Arslan Khan conceived a grandiose reorganization of the city: he dismantled the city palace, located on Bu-Lays street, recreated the citadel, which had turned into ruins by that time and moved the city mosque.

A new mosque is being built about one hundred and fifty meters southeast of the citadel, and a minaret is being erected at it. The minaret was, according to Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Jafar Narshakhi, “beautifully made”, but it was not made firmly: immediately after the completion of the construction, the minaret falls on the mosque and destroys two-thirds of it. In 1121 a new mosque was completed, and in 1127 - a minaret that has survived to this day.

On the site of the Arslan Khan Mosque, the current Kalaan mosque was erected in the 15th century, its decoration was completed in 1514, as the inscription on the facade of the building says. The ensemble takes its modern form in 1536, when Ubaydullah Khan builds a madrasah on the advice of his confidante Miri Arab Yamani. After the death of Miri Arab, his tomb was erected in the courtyard of the madrasah named in his honour, and Ubaydullah himself also rests here.

Poi Kalan complex
The Emir-Alim-Khan-Madrasa
Poi Kalan complex
The Kalan Minaret