Muhammad Rakhim-Khan Madrasah

Muhammad Rakhim-Khan Madrasah

Muhammad Rakhim-Khan madrasah is one of the largest in Khiva and the most popular in Central Asia. It is settled to the east of the square, opposite the Kunya-Ark citadel. The madrasah building was started by the order of the Khoresm Khan Muhammad Rakhim-khan II (1863-1910). The building construction was finished in 1876 and it consists of two courtyards. The access from the street leads to a courtyard, surrounded outside with a blank wall, and circled with one-storeyed hudjas (cells) inside. The main two-storeyed building with the madrasah’s main facade has high portal towers in the courtyard. The facade is mainly covered with white-blue majolica. The high towers-guldasta, are finished by domes, finished with a green mosaic tower in the corners of the madrasah. The arches of loggias and avian overlapping over the main entrance are laid out by figured bricklaying. The majolica is generously applied on tympanums, ornamental border and columns on the facade. There were darskhonas (educational audiences), a rich library, winter and summer mosques in the madrasah. The internal four-ayvans courtyard consists of 76 arch cells.

Muhammad Rakhim Khan II

Said Muhammad Rakhim Bakhadur-Khan is the full name of the Khan and people called him Madraim-Khan II. Khan Muhammad Rahimhan II was born in 1845 and came to power in Khiva in 1864. His regiment in Khiva is highlighted by the development of many mosques, madrassah, bath-houses and other structures of civil architecture. Rakhim-Khan II was a talented poet and philosopher, known under the literary pseudonym Feruz-Shaikh. The reforms of traditional education were carried out under his auspices. 

Thanks to his initiative, the first so-called new-method schools were opened in Khiva, in which the secular sciences were studied, as well as the Arabian alphabet and Koran reading. The Muhammad Rakhim-Khan madrasah was a Muslim university, where students studied the art of versification and the “exact” sciences. Literary evenings -mushaira, was held at which such outstanding Khivan poets as Kamil Khorezmi, Tabibi and crowned Feruz-shaikh read their works of literature. These were often arranged within its walls. The madrasah’ students participated in scientific and literary debates on a par with eminent scientists and poets. A significant historical event of the Khivan khanate occurred during Muhammad Rakhim-khan ll’s time. The Russian imperial armies imposed into the khanate in 1873 led to the Russian protectorate establishment.

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