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Postcards from Uzbekistan: the Poi-Kalyan complex

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Postcards from Uzbekistan: the Poi-Kalyan complex

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The Poi-Kalyan complex has become the iconic image of Bukhara

Our Postcard this week comes to you from the heart of the ancient Uzbek city of Bukhara.

Key facts about Uzbekistan:

  • It’s in Central Asia, with neighbours including Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan
  • With a population of more than 30 million, the ex-Soviet republic became independent in 1991
  • The total land area is 425,400 km2, with plains covering about four fifths of the territory
  • The average winter temperature is -6 degrees celsius and in summer it rises above 32
  • Almost 80 percent of the population is Uzbek and the main religion is Muslim (88 percent)

The Poi-Kalyan complex has become the iconic image of the city, with its masterpieces of Islamic architecture that date back hundreds of years.

Euronews’ Seamus Kearney reported from atop a tall tower: “And it’s this monument, called the great minaret, that dominates the Bukhara skyline.

“It’s part of the mosque, but in the old days it was also used as a watchtower, standing at a grand height of about 47 metres.”

The minaret is one of the oldest monuments in Central Asia and Poi Kalyan means “at the foot of the great”.

Zarina Rakhimova, a Bukhara guide, told Postcards: “Poi-Kalyan consists of three main monuments: a minaret, a madrassah and a mosque.

“They were all built between the 12th and the 16th centuries.”

And inside the complex are courtyards with perfect examples of mosaics and other decorative artwork.