Khiva - Arab Muhammad Khan Madrasa
The Arab Muhammad-Khan Madrasa is one of the oldest architectural monuments in Khiva. It is located in the heart of Ichan-Qala, next to the other, no less famous, but later Madrasa of Muhammad Aminkhan. The madrasa was commissioned by the Shaybanid ruler of Khorezm, Arab Muhammad-Khan, to commemorate the transfer of the capital from Urgench to Khiva.
Arab Muhammad-khan was a famous figure in the history of Khorezm. He ruled from 1603 to 1621, during which time he achieved significant success in governing the state. On his order, Khiva became the new capital of the state of Khorezm. Under his rule, Khiva became one of the most beautiful cities in Central Asia, not inferior in beauty to Bukhara and Samarkand. He carried out a variety of measures to improve the city. Under his command, Madrasas, Mosques and civic institutions were built, though not many of them have survived to the present day.
In 1616, Arab Muhammad-Khan ordered a madrasa to be built for the townspeople of Khiva to commemorate this significant event. Originally, there was another small Madrasa on the site of the present structure, built by a notable woman from Khiva. Arab Muhammad-Khan bought this building from her along with the adjacent land.
The Arab Muhammad-Khan Madrasa was a single-storey brick building of rectangular shape. An inscription from the Quran was traditionally carved on the entrance portal. There were small minarets in the corners of the building. Inside the madrasa there are hujrasas for students and a mosque for prayers. There are study rooms on the side of the mosque.
It has been rebuilt and restored several times. In 1838, the Arab Muhammad-Khan Madrasa was reconstructed by order of the ruler of Khorezm Allakulikhan due to dilapidation according to the standards characteristic of late architecture in Khiva. A second storey was added. The number of hujras and classrooms in the madrasa was increased. The portal of the building was partially reconstructed. Thus, it has survived until today. Nowadays, the madrasa is one of the most popular places for visitors from all over the world.
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