The minarets play an extraordinary role in creating the inimitable silhouette of Khiva – they rise vertically into the sky and mark the locations of the major public centres.
Their rhythm in Khiva is counted in a large building module, minarets follow through Dishan-Kala and Ichan-Kala with the distance of exactly 200 metres. Approaching the city from the east, in the passage of the Koy-Darwaza Gate, its whole chain is captured in a single image: Abdal-bobo, Palvan-kari, Seyid-Shelikerbay, Islam-Khoja, Juma, Kalta-minor, Bika-jan-bika.
The minarets of Khiva are very different from those of Maverannahr: the arched lantern that crowns them is not Khiva – the “multiminaret” of all the historical cities of Uzbekistan.
The minarets of Khorezm rise above the trunk, but are inside and can only be seen through small arched openings; hence their particular slenderness. But as numerous as they are, no two minarets are alike: In each case, the architects found subtle refinements in proportions, silhouette and architectural decoration.
The minarets were originally built as lookout towers and landmarks for travellers. After the arrival of Islam in Central Asia, the minarets were used for the calls to prayer. Minarets then appeared on every town around the Jome mosques. The number of large and small minarets in Khiva was originally about a hundred, nowadays their number does not exceed 20.
Every time the elders told about the minarets, the question arose how big the foundations of the monuments are, whether it is possible that some of them have a conical shape? Perhaps the most surprising thing about the stories is that the foundations of the minaret extend over a large distance and are many times larger than the cross-section of the hull of the minaret itself.
Researchers from the Mamun Academy of Khorezm (Uzbekistan), led by Dr Durdiyeva, conducted a comprehensive (structural) study of the technical condition of the structures of the minaret of Saidniyaz Shalikarbay. The complex (minaret, mosque and small madrassa) Saidniyaz Shalikarbay is an example of late feudal architecture of Khorezm and is located outside the fortress wall at the eastern gate of Ichan-Kala. This complex was built in 1834-1835 at the funds of merchant Saidniyaz Shalikarbay. The construction was directed by Usto Muhammad-Rahim.
After the successful attempt to uncover the foundation of the minaret, Saidniyaz Shalikarbay carried out measurement work. It is surprising that the basement was of small size, consisting of 4 well-masoned square brick steps on mud mortar, built on a platform of fragments of the same brick. Its size is h=1.24 metres in height, and the indentation from the minaret level to the edge of the foundation is about =1.20 metres. Therefore, we are convinced that the builders anticipated the characteristic changes that contributed to the deformation that occurred at the base of the monument, as it can negatively affect both the construction of the foundation and the minaret as a whole.