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The main facade of the Muhammad Amin-khan madrasah has a massive low minaret. They were going to complete the main city area at the western Ichan-Kala gate with the minaret and madrasah construction. The minaret was intended to become the largest in Central Asia, had it been completed. The uncompleted minaret, with a base diameter of 14.2 m, should have been 70-80 m high according to its plan. The diameter was intended to decrease sharply with height which would have made the minaret stronger. But the construction stopped at a height of 29 m, which is why the name the Kalta-minor (or Short minaret) was assigned to it.

The minaret is well regarded, thanks to unique decor and its incompleteness. The Kalta-minor is a unique minaret completely covered with glazed tile and majolica.

Muhammad Amin-khan wanted the minaret at the madrasah to be larger than anything constructed in Khoresm earlier. He ordered people to work free of charge within two years to build this construction. According to the legend, one of masters, who had refused to fulfil the will of the khan, was immured alive. The tower remained unfinished, and in such a condition it remains a unique structure in Central Asia today.

However, according to the Khivan historian of that time, construction was not finished because of the Khan's death in 1855. Other legends narrate that the Emir of Bukhara, having learnt about the unique minaret construction in Khiva, wanted to construct the same in Bukhara. The Emir agreed with the master that he would make it as soon as he had finished in Khiva. The Khivan khan, having learnt about these plans, gave the order to execute the master right after he had finished the building. When this news reached the master, he ran away, having left the minaret unfinished.