Minarets of ancient cities of Uzbekistan

Historical and architectural monuments of the ancient cities of Uzbekistan are unique, inimitable and adequately occupy a leading place among the monuments of Central Asia.

It is known that on the territory of modern Uzbekistan there were ten main types of structures. They were residential houses, religious, civil, commercial buildings, medical, administrative, educational institutions, economic and industrial buildings and palaces.

It should be noted that the buildings of the medieval period are the most numerous and little studied. Here it is important to note one of the most interesting and mysterious forms of Oriental architecture - the minaret. Minarets adorn the cityscapes in all countries of the Muslim East, and even became the hallmark of many cities. Translated from the Arabic "minaret" means "a place where something is lit" or "emitting light." It is a spiritual light, a human soul that seeks enlightenment.

Uzbekistan minarets

In independent Uzbekistan, minarets, having acquired a special status as objects of invaluable cultural heritage, are under state protection.

The earliest references to detached minarets in Uzbekistan are found in the medieval author Narshahi in the “History of Bukhara”. This is “a wooden-topped minaret built in Bukhara next to the cathedral mosque by order of the vizier Abu Ubaidullah Djehani in 306.

In Samarkand, during the excavations carried out in 1904, on the site of the ancient cathedral mosque, the square basement and the second link of the minaret, built of burnt brick no later than the 10th century, were found. The earliest known and preserved buildings of this type on the territory of Uzbekistan include: Termez minaret (1032) near the Chor-Sutun mosque and Bukhara minaret Kalyan (1127). A later, but no less original, is Bukhara compact monument with the consonant name Chor-Minor with four minarets at the corners of the cubical volume of a small building.

minarets of Uzbekistan

The Dzharkurgan minaret, located in Uzbekistan (the Surkhandarya region in the village Minor) is the earliest and, perhaps, the most unique of the similar structures that have survived to the present day. The building belonged to a large cathedral mosque, lined with baked bricks.

We would like to pay special attention to the facts concerning the preservation of minarets in Uzbekistan of the era of Temurids of the Renaissance. First of all, it is the minaret at the Samarkand mausoleum Gur-Emir. It is attached to the square courtyard of the complex with four minarets at its corners, which includes the Muhammad-Sultan madrasah and khanaka. They constituted a single ensemble, from which only the mausoleum, the courtyard with the portal and the first links of the two minarets have survived.

The structure of the master Hudaibergen-Khoja, the Islam-Khoja minaret, one of the largest in Central Asia, stands out among the later structures.

Another Khiva minaret - Kalta Minor, which was to become the largest in the world, amazes its boldness of the plan and its size (diameter - 14 m and height - 26 m).

Since the XIV - XV centuries, minarets in Uzbekistan became more numerous than ritual functions required. They were erected either as a symbol of state or personal prestige, or as not functional, but a necessary aesthetic component of the composition of the building.

Vertical minarets played a huge role in the appearance of the cities of the East (in Uzbekistan this is most clearly represented in Ichan-Kala in Khiva) and created a clear system of spatial landmarks when perceiving the city, noting the places of large mosques, madrasahs, complexes.

The minarets of Uzbekistan

Minaret functions

Minarets in Uzbekistan were built at almost every madrasah and were used to announce the start of classes, lunch break, news and emergency meetings. Free-standing minarets served as a defense function, as they were used for visual observations. A striking example of this in Uzbekistan is the minaret Kalyan in Bukhara.

On many minarets an arched lantern (a covered rotunda, where the man climbed, calling on the faithful to prayer) was built. But the performed functions largely depended on the design and variety of the minaret.

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