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Home » Dashoguz velayat monuments. Tours and excursions to monuments of ancient Kunya-Urgench.

Kutlug Timur minaret.

Excursions across Kunya-Urgench.

"Kunya-Urgench is situated in north-western Turkmenistan, on the left bank of the Amu Daria River. Urgench was the capital of the Khorezm region, part of the Achaemenid Empire. The old town contains a series of monuments mainly from the XIth to XVIth centuries, including a mosque, the gates of a caravanserai, fortresses, mausoleums and a 60-m high minaret"

Travel across Old Kunya-Urgench and Central Asia.

Mausoleum and at the bottom of the highest in Central Asia Minaret of Kutlug-Timur, they worked out the united position concerning the strategy of further works on the preservation of the invaluable monuments of the Reserve.
Тhe main theme was about two monuments which evoke the serious certain anxiety in connection with their technical conditions.  For unknown reasons, construction was interrupted for a very long time, and was completed only in 1321-1336, in the time of Kutlug-Timur (the vice-regent of the Golden Horde).
This 62m tower was named after him; and is the tallest minaret in Central Asia. It is well-proportioned and tapers upwards along toward the peak (diameter at base is 12 meters; at the top - 2m). The "trunk" is divided by narrow belts of vertically stacked bricks, which create specific architectural rhythms and are inlaid with wide bands of Arabic inscriptions.
In the past, the Minaret was crowned by a wooden lantern, from which the brickwork supports remain. A spiral staircase of 145 steps leads to the lantern, though access to the stairs was only possible from the roof of the neighboring mosque, which unfortunately no longer exists.
Several years ago the plinth of the Minaret and its surroundings were entirely restored. The UNDP Project has assumed the preservation, i.e. reconstruction work of its dangerous top, which represents a very complicated engineering task, owing to the fact that personnel must work at the very summit, without scaffolding!
Minaret of Kutlug-Timur is a structure, which original age and name are the subject of the scientific contro- versies. It is supposed, that its erection began in XI century during the governing of Khoresmsheikh Аbu-Abbas Mamun.
For unknown reasons the construction was interrupted tor a long time and was finished only in 1321 - 1336 In the time of Kutlug-Timur - the vicegerent of the Gold Horde. This 62 m tower was named after him. Its well-proportioned and taper upwards the round trunk (diameter of the basis is about 12 meters, and on the top - 2m) is divided by the narrow belts of the vertically put bricks, which create the specific architectural rhythm and the broad belt of Arabian inscription.
In the past the Minaret was crowned by the wooden lantern, from which the beams over-handing in the brickwork were remained. The screw ladder of 145 steps leads to the lantern, people could get only from the roof of the mosque which unfortunately does not exist nowadays.
Some years ago the plinth part of Minaret and its territory were entirely restored.  First translated in 1928, the lowest inscriptive band attributes the minaret to Qutlugh Timur while the two upper bands are carved with Quranic verses.
Only traces remain of the blue glazed tiled decoration.  The minaret is entered through an arched doorway on its west face, which is seven meters above the ground level and was accessed from an adjoining structure.
The spiral stairwell has a hundred and forty five steps (to the top). Only the two doorways have remained of the balcony that was located at the height of fifty-one meters. The stairwell has no windows. Today, the minaret dangerously leans northwest towards the Tekesh Mausoleum.
Although the site was recently landscaped, a structural repair of the structure and restoration initiative is in order. 

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 Bernshtam A.N. «History-archeologic sketches Central Tien-Shan and Pamir-Alay». « Religious and spiritual monuments of the Central Asia ». The author of M. Khashimov. Publishing house " Saga ", 2001Tolstov S.P. « Ancient Khoresm », 1848. Tolstov S.P. « On traces Ancient Khorezm civilizations », М.-L., 1948.
Knobloch, Edgar. Monuments of Central Asia: A guide to Archaeology, Art and Architecture of Turkestan. 2001. New York: I. B. Tauris Publishers, 85 
Sayan, Yüksel. 1999. Türkmenistan'daki Mimari Eserler (XI - XVI Yüzyil). Ankara: Kültür Bakanligi Yayinlari, 158-160, 447-540.

Alexander Petrov.