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Muhammad Rakhim-Khan madrasah

The Muhammad Rakhim-Khan madrasah is one of the largest in Khiva and the most well known in Central Asia. It is located to the east of the square in front of the Kunya-Ark citadel. The madrasah building was begun by the order of the Khoresm Khan Muhammad Rakhim-khan II (1863-1910). The building construction was finished in 1876.

The madrasah consists of two court yards. The entrance from the street leads to a court yard, enclosed outside with a blank wall, and surrounded with one-storeyed khudzhras (cells) inside. The main two-storeyed building with the madrasah's main facade has high portal towers in the court yard. The facade is mainly covered with white-blue majolica. The high towers-guldasta, are finished by domes, decorated 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 a figured bricklaying. The majolica is abundantly used 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 court yard consists of 76 arch khudzhras. The madrasah khudzhras are blocked by domes - "balkhi" and there are compartments for domestic needs except for living room.

About Muhammad Rakhim khan II

The full name of the Khan was Said Muhammad Rakhim Bakhadur-khan (people called him Madraim-khan II). He had a reputation of being an educated monarch, and he patronised scientists and poets. Rakhim-khan II was a talented poet and philosopher, known under the literary pseudonym Feruz-shakh.

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 art of versification and the "exact" sciences. Literary evenings -mushoira, were held at which such outstanding Khivan poets as Kamil Khorezmi, Tabibi and crowned Feruz-shakh 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 major historical event of the Khivan khanate occurred during Muhammad Rakhim-khan ll's time, - the Russian imperial armies intruded into the khanate in 1873 that led to the Russian protectorate establishment.