Muhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah

Muhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah in Khiva

The Muhammad Rahimkhan madrasa is located east of the Kunya Ark citadel. He bears the name of the Khan who built it, Muhammad Rahimkhan II (1845-1910), his full name was Saeed Mohammed Rahimkhan Bahadur, his people called him Madraimkhan. He rose to power after his father's death in 1864. He himself wrote poems under the pseudonym of Feruz or Feruz Shah. The building was completed in 1876, three years after the signing of the Treaty of the Khiva khanate protectorate by the Russian Empire. The madrasa then becomes one of the largest in Central Asia with its seventy six cells for students of Qur'anic sciences.

It consists of two courts; in the inner court there are the cells, the back court has a building body on a higher level for the cells, with a portal (pishtak) that imposes itself on the main facade. Madrasa includes a winter and a summer mosque, libraries and darskhon. The art of majolica is used with great delicacy as an ornament.

The rectangular main court includes an iwan in the center of each side and turrets at the corners. The four corners of the courtyard allow everyone access to three cells. The entrance gate is impressive and is flanked by large wings with five spans with arched niches. The cells of the madrasa are covered with domes, called balkhi. Each of them includes a bedroom and a small room for domestic use.

The iwan include a frieze with nastaliq style inscriptions at the top. The external structure of the cells follows a classic pattern: a recess with a carved wooden door, a cross bar, and above a white geometric grid window. In the middle of the main courtyard there is a garden near a fountain.

One room houses a museum of Khiva khan history. A spectacle of tightrope walkers, accompanied by musicians, is regularly organized in the main courtyard.

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