The Kalyan Minaret was erected in 1127 by Arslan-khan and is considered to be
the symbol of the city. According to records of the time, the builders made an error in
its construction, and it soon collapsed. When the remnants were cleared away, Arslan-khan ordered that a new minaret, stronger and more beautiful, the likes of which
hadnt been ever seen in all of the
Muslim East, be built. One of the legends says that the craftsman who laid the foundation of
mortar and plaster mixed with camels milk
fled from the city and didnt return for
more than two years. The craftsman resumed construction only after he was convinced that
the mortar had hardened.
The Kalian Minaret, built of burnt
brick and plaster mortar, rises to a height of forty-six meters above
the ground. The
minaret is decorated with 14 parallel bands none of which are repeated.
During the repairs in 1924, the minaret was faced with glazed bricks where the
frieze had been.
At the present time, the lower part of the minaret has been restored and the layers
of dirt accumulated over the ages cleaned off. The inside of of the minaret is hollow. It
is possible to go up the
minaret via a special foot bridge. Throughout the eight centuries of its existence, it
served as a watch tower and a lighthouse for trade caravans. The guard-post for observers to
notify the city of approaching danger remains in place. In the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries, the minaret acquired an unsavory reputation and was known as a tower of
death: the condemned were hurled to their deaths from this tower
upon the Emir's order.
Today this outstanding work of architecture, the perfect architectural forms of which have
long served as an example for similar works in the Muslim East,
still remains the tallest minaret in the Muslim East.