The architectural complex of Poi Kalyan consists of three buildings built in the XII - XVI centuries: Kalyan minaret, Kalyan mosque and Mir Arab madrasah.
Poi Kalyan is on the main square of Registan and is the central architectural ensemble of Bukhara. The height of the minaret is 47 m. Its ornamental stripes are decorated with blue tiles. It is believed that this is the first application of such ceramics, which then became ubiquitous, in Central Asia. Kalyan Minaret, built by the Qarahanid ruler Arslan Khan in 1127.
There are many legends about Kalyan Minaret. One of them being; the khan killed the Imam, and in his sleep the murdered imam asked the ruler to bury his head in a place where no one can step on it. Then Arslan Khan built a tower over the grave of the Imam.
Another legend says that when Genghis Khan, after defeating the defenders of the city and destroying half of the city, entered the square near the tower and looked up at the minaret, a helmet fell from his head. He had to bend over to pick him up off the ground. "I never bowed to anyone," said the powerful warrior, "but this building is so grandiose that it deserves a bow."
The minaret is also called the "Tower of Death", because once convicted criminals were executed by dropping it. And this practice stopped, by the way, only at the beginning of the 20th century.
The architectural complex Poi-Kalyan is a point of attraction for all guests of the city, as the Kalyan minaret is visible, almost everywhere from afar. From the height of the Kalyan minaret, it was possible to hear the voice of a muezzin calling the Adhanduring the holidays, invoking faithful Muslims to pray.
In the old days at the top of the minaret at night a fire was lit, which was visible from afar. Thus, the minaret served as a beacon for all going and traveling to Bukhara. The minaret still rises above the old city today, as in the old days. It is simply impossible to imagine a person who, having arrived in Bukhara, could pass by him indifferently: he looks from afar with his harmonious form and clear lines.
For many centuries, the Kalyan minaret has withstood all earthquakes that destroyed not one high-altitude structure in Uzbekistan. The secret of its stability lies in the empirically correctly found relationships of the parts of the structure, in the construction of its foundation, in the high quality of the masonry.
The Kalyan Mosque is the second largest mosque in Central Asia after the Bibi-khanim mosque in Samarkand. It is claimed that on the days of the festive divine services, up to 10,000 people could be accommodated in it - and any of those present could hear every word pronounced by the preacher near the mihrab (a niche pointing towards Mecca). The huge open courtyard of the mosque, its majestic portals and covered galleries make an unforgettable impression.