Kalta Minor is an iconic symbol of the city of Khiva in Uzbekistan. This short yet stout stump of a minaret is located in front of the façade of Muhammad Amin-khan Madrassah and is covered with exquisite blue and green tiles that sharply contrast the adobe colored buildings it stands next to. The minaret was started by Mohammad Amin Khan, the ruler of Khwarezm, in 1852. According to legend, he wanted to build a minaret so high he could see all the way to Bukhara. This is probably just a story because Bukhara is nearly 400 km away.
In any case, the minaret was supposed to be very tall. Some say it was meant to be 70 - 80 meters high, while others believe it was even higher – 110 meters. This would have made Kalta Minor the tallest structure in Central Asia, if completed. But three years after construction began, Mohammad Amin Khan was killed in the fight with Turkmens in Serakh, and his ambitious project came to an end. What was left was a 26 meters tall stump with a massive base of 14.5 meters in diameter. Soon locals began to call it the Kalta Minor or the “short minaret”.
Kalta Minor is the only minaret which is fully covered with glazed tiles. These tiles form intricate, diverse ornaments and are in several colors, but blue and green are the most dominating ones. This blue color is the most common color of the ornamentation in numerous historical buildings of Central Asian countries, especially in Uzbekistan.
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