Poyi-Kalon Minaret (kalon – big, great) is the main symbol of sacred Bukhara. The minaret was used not only to call Muslims to prayer, but symbolized the authority and power of its spiritual leaders.
Kalon Minaret was built by Karakhanid Arslankhan. The minaret was totally built of the burnt bricks. The height of the minaret is 46.5 meters. It has 9 meters in diameter at its base. Huge conic thumb is finishing by the cylindrical lamp-rotunda on the stalactite completion. The lamp has 16 through arched aperture over which there is a stalactite corniceThe inscription on the cornice announces the date of its construction – 1127, and the name of its architect – Bako.
It is possible to ascend the minaret from the roof of the cathedral mosque through a passage. Inside the tower is a spiral staircase having 105 steps. There is a wonderful view of the whole Bukhara from the rotunda of the minaret. The central architectural ensemble of Bukhara – Kalon Mosque and Miri Arab Madrasah are situated on the feet of Kalon Minaret. These objects are included into the one complex named Poyi-Kalon that means “foot of the minaret”.
Poyi-Kalon Mosque was built at the beginning of the 16th century during the ruling of the first Sheybanids. Since that period it has being used as cathedral mosque of Bukhara.
The main eastern entrance of the mosque has a big portal decorated with mosaic. The portal is situated at a raised place and there are several steps leading to the mosque’s courtyard. There are two blue domes at both sides of the mosque.
Kalon Mosque has traditional rectangular form and there are four ayvans. Ayvan at the entrance is decorated with external portal; and with internal portal which is overlooking to the courtyard. There are arched galleries with 288 domes around the perimeter of the courtyard. They are based on 208 columns. Colored facing of the facades is made from mosaic and glazed bricks.