Muhammad Amin-Khan Madrasah and Kalta-Minor
The biggest medieval madrasah in Khiva, a madrasah named after Muhammad Amin-khan (1845-1855) is located opposite to Kunya-Ark at the gates of Ata-Darvaza. Such was the memory left by the last belligerent Khan of Khiva, who had an army of 40,000 horsemen. His campaigns against the Turkmens expanded and strengthened the boundaries of the Khiva Khanate. His life was cut short by the bold attack of Turkmens on his camp. Khan’s head was sent to the Shakh of Persia, who ordered it to be buried with honors. Despite a short life, Muhammad Amin-khan performed his duty and built a new madrasah in Khiva. On its portal there is an inscription: “This perfect building will eternally stand for the joy of future generations.” Its area is 72×60 m. It has 125 hudjras and could receive up to 260 students. The portal is crowned with five domes and flanked by corner towers. The hudjras on the second floor have arched loggia overlooking the exterior of the building.
Next to the Muhammad Amin-khan Madrasah stands the unfinished minaret Kalta-Minor (“short minaret”), completely covered with glazed tiles in cold blue. Its massive base is 14.2 m. in diameter. Kalta-Minor should have become the largest minaret in Central Asia. Based on the proportions, its height would exceed 80 m, significantly taller than the highest minaret in Kunya-Urgench (14th century, 62 m). The construction of the minaret began in about 1855, but stopped at the height of 26 m. The reason was chaos and strife occurred in the Khanate after Muhammad Amin-khan’s death. The legend has kept a better version. Bukhara khan got to know about the construction of the grandiose minaret in Khiva and agreed with its architect about the building of a higher minaret in Bukhara. Khiva Khan was enraged and ordered the architect to be thrown from the minaret. That stopped the construction