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Kutlug-Timur Minaret

As one of the tallest monuments in Central Asia, the Kutlug-Timur Minaret is one of the most iconic sites that remains standing in Kunya-Urgench.

This monument can be seen from many kilometers away and stands at 62 meters high. The base of the monument measures at 12 meters across and is designed to taper upwards to a 2 meter measurement at the top. Inside the minaret is a spiral staircase of 145 steps. Long ago, there was a Friday Mosque adjacent to the minaret that provided access to the staircase from its roof, but this mosque no longer exists and access is no longer permitted to visitors.

At the top of the minaret are the remains of a wooden lantern which may have acted as a guiding light for caravan travelers at night. The lantern would have also been used as a call to prayer, and potentially as a watchtower. Today, many pilgrims will travel to the Kutlug-Timur Minaret for prayer or good luck.

Its construction originally began in the 11th century and was completed between 1321-1336. Impressively, this minaret is still standing after hundreds of years of weathering, earthquakes and city invasions. There are reports that there may have been bands of colorful blue tilework wrapped around the minaret, but these are now missing most likely due to the harsh circumstances over the years. Today, the major decorative element are the six brick bands that wrap around the minaret. Kufic inscriptions with Quranic verses are also present along these bands. The sheer height of the structure is simply an awe inspiring design.

Brick inscription along the minaret
Brick inscription along the minaret