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Narbutabey Medressa

North from Khamza's museum, turn down Nabiyev St for the Narbutabey Madrassah, a plain but imposing seminary built under Khan Narbuta in 1796 and completed in 1799. Unique among Kokand's religious institutions, the madrassah functioned in the Soviet era. Still, tourists are welcome to poke around the medressa (now named the Mir Medressa) and adjacent mosque, which Stalin reopened to win wartime support from Muslim subjects.

Teachers of Arabic and the Koran inhabit eight rooms in the main facade. Only male Muslim visitors may enter the inner courtyard of 36 study cells for male students, aged from 15 to 25. Female tourists (even non-Muslim) can experience a girl's Islamic education at a nearby girl's madrassah, the Dasturkhanchi. Built (for men) in 1833, it was restored this century and in 1992 opened its doors to girls aged from 15 to 20. Traditional textual studies are augmented with lessons in domesticity and embroidery.

Take the lane opposite Nabiyev St to 20 Tinchlik St. Follow the twisting paths on past mud-walled houses and small parish mosques, to return to Mukimi Park.

A neighbouring graveyard has several prominent mausoleums associated with another khan, Umar. Entering the graveyard’s north gate from the street, proceed straight to the 1830s Dakhmai-Shokhon (Grave of Kings), the tomb of Umar Khan and other family members, with an elegant wooden portal carved with the poetry of Umar’s wife, Nodira. Originally buried behind Modari Khan, Nodira was adopted by the Soviets as a model Uzbek woman and moved to a prominent place beneath a white stone tablet, beyond Dakhma-i-Shokhon near the graveyard’s south gate.

To the west of here, the unrestored Modari Khan Mausoleum, built in 1825 for Umar’s mother, lies under a bright, sky-blue cupola.