Poi-Kalyan Ensemble

It is the main ensemble in Bukhara center, situated on the way to trade crossing of “four bazars” and Poi-Kalyan means “the pedestal of the Great” (it means “the pedestal of Kalyan minaret”). Ensemble consists of 4 monuments: Kalyan mosque and Miri-Arab Madrasah – faced to each other with main fronts; between them is Kalyan minaret; to the south of Miri-Arab there is small Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah.

Kalyan Minaret – it is a great vertical pillar, rising above the city. To proclaim the appeal to the pray – azal, it was enough to rise mosque roof, as it was in first centuries after Islam establishment. The word “minaret” descends from “minor” – it is a place, where something is on fire, the fire was set in leading light like this, between them in ancient world there were vast many-storey towers, like Phaross light-house of 143 meters height, dating to 283 BC.

Minarets played an exceptional role in architectual ensembles creating the city peculiarity.

In the beginning of 12 century – Arslan-khan ordered to rebuilt the minaret of old mosque. When the construction works had been finished, minaret fell and 2/3 of it was damaged. For the second time Arslan-khan ordered to built minaret. By inscription in turquoise majolica, under light cornice of Kalyan minaret, it was determined that it was finished in 1127. You can read “the name of Arslan-khan” on the half weight of stem. And it was found the name of master – Bano, whose burial place, local inhabitants pointed out between the next blockhouses. Kalyan minaret represents characteristic Maveranahr style of roundtrunk brick tower, decorated by the arch light. Its lower diameter – 9 meters, up diameter – 6 meters, total height is 45,6 meters. There is a brink-winding staircase inside trunk. Sixteen-arch light rotunda hangs over minaret trunk leaning on running out laying rows, decorated as stalactite cornice.

Kalyan Madrasah is dated to architecture masterpiece; it is a monument of 5 century, raised from the ruins during the years of Soviet power. In the beginning of 16 century, the mosque was partly reconstructed. The shapes of amazing arches and portal decor have already carried the features of new style, developed in Bukharan oasis in 16-17 centuries. The inscription under arch portal dates time of reconstruction. This is a poem from Koran, at the end of which we can see the date 1514-1515. In 1541 at the entrance of main portal was fixed a marble board with cut text of Abdullaziz I, this order runs that Bukharan inhabitants were free of some taxes payment.

The Kalyan Mosque is one of the outstanding monuments of Bukhara, dating back to the fifteenth century. According to data from archaeological excavations, the original Karakhanid Djuma Mosque was destroyed by fire and dismantled, apparently at the time of the Mongolian invasion. Some time later, it was rebuilt, but this reconstructed mosque did not remain long. A new mosque was built in the fifteenth century, at the time of the Sheybanids, according to written sources of the time.

Under Temur, the construction of monumental buildings was concentrated in Samarkand and Shahrisabz. However, under Ulughbek, the powerful clergy of Bukhara initiated the construction of a new Djuma Mosque on the site of the old one. Its dimensions are just slightly smaller than those of the Bibi-Khanum, Temur’s congregational mosque in Samarkand. However, Bukhara’s Djuma Mosque is not decorated as elaborately as the Bibi-Khanum.

The layout of the Djuma Mosque (named the Kalyan Mosque) is traditional: a rectangular courtyard with a tall and large maksura room on the west side. Each of the courtyard axes has a large ayvan and the perimeter of the courtyard is built up with pillar-domed galleries (there are 208 pillars and 288 domes). The maksura is square and has deeply recessed niches on the transverse axis and a mihhrab on the main axis. Slabbing is typical for the early fifteenth century,-an octahedron of arched pendentives supports a vaulted inner dome and is capped by a spherical blue outer dome upon a drum. This structure still dominates the skyline of Bukhara.

Construction of the mosque was completed in 1514 under the direction of Ubaidulla-khan. new elements were a main facade with peshtok in the centre of it, gul-dasta (towers) and arches on the walls. The decor of the mosque is constrained, composed primarily of glazed tiles and bricks that form knots, and is concentrated mainly on the main facade and the mihrab. Interestingly, however, beyond this facade archaeological research has revealed an earlier decor, composed of six sided tiles and a mosaic border. The earlier decor is marked with the name of the master who made it, Bayazid Purani, and dates back to the fifteenth century.