Pa-i Kalan (Uzbek: Poi kalon) is a complex of buildings including a mosque and madrasa in the historic center of Bukhara. Its original name means "at the foot of the Great One" in Farsi. This name refers to the 46-meter high minaret that dominates the skyline of the ancient city and predates the other structures in the complex by several centuries.
The complex is arranged around a large open square. The Mir-i Arab Madrasa forms one side, and this facade faces that of the Congregational Mosque (Kalan or Kalyan Mosque). A domed library forms the third side of the square.
Qarakhanid ruler Arslan Khan (1102-1129) initiated building activity on this site, commissioning several structures including a wooden mosque with a wooden minaret, of which little is known. His own tomb was also located here. Tradition relates that the wooden minaret fell some time after its erection, destroying in its fall the adjoining mosque. The existing brick minaret was built as a replacement in 1127, and the standing mosque was constructed in phases over the first half of the fifteenth century and during the sixteenth century. The madrasa was built in 1535-6.
Golombek, L. and Wilber, D. eds. 1988. The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 228-230.
Michell, G. 1995. Architecture of the Islamic World. London: Thames and Hudson, 259.
Street view toward the plaza known as Pa-i Kalan. The entrance to the Madrasah-i Alim Khan is visible at right. The high pishtaq of the Madrasah-i Mir-i Arab and one of its turquoise domes is visible at left.