PO-I – KALYAN AND THE SURROUNDING COMPLEX
Possibly the most iconic landmark in Bukhara is Poi Kalyan, the highest Kalyan minaret in the country standing 48 meters tall. It was built in 1127 by the Turkic Karakhanid dynasty and decorated with terracotta bricks giving the structure its distinctive stripes.
What’s interesting about this minaret is that people dispute whether it was or wasn’t used for the call to prayer. In reality, it probably served multiple purposes: as a beacon helping caravans locate the city, as a watchtower and even a place to incarcerate criminals.
The original mosque and madrassa of the Kalyan complex were destroyed by a violent assault by Mongol troops in 1220. Bukhara held out for fifteen days and was severely punished for such resistance. Legend has it that the Kalyan was saved by Genghis Khan himself. Stomping out of the heavily damaged mosque, he looked up to the top of the tower and his hat fell off. As he bent to pick his hat he remarked that it was the first object in the world that had made him bend as a result of its majesty. Whether it is true or not, travelers from all over the world are delighted to see this masterpiece today in Bukhara.