Kutlug Murad Inak Madrassah

 

Among 20 Khiva’s madrasah that have preserved to the present day, Kutlug Murad Inak Madrassah is the oldest. Every Khiva’s ruler tried to inscribe his name upon the pages of history by building not only palaces and caravanserais but also mosques and madrassahs - higher Muslim schools. Kutlug Murad Inak Madrassah was built in 1809, during the reign of Khan Muhammad Rakhim I. That was the time when extensive construction activities started in the capital of Khiva Khanate which at that time was consolidating its position in the region.

The madrassah stands near city eastern gate called Palvan-Darvoza. The gate faced the road that led to the ancient trading town of Khazarasp. Apparently it was not by accident that for the construction of the madrassah there were hired the masons and craftsmen from Khazarasp. The layout of the madrassah is completely traditional. The façade with a high portal and two-storey loggias are modestly decorated with blue majolica; after all, the bloom of the famous Khiva’s majolica decoration fell on much later period. The madrassah has a lecture hall and a mosque with low cone-shaped dome. The two floors of hujra cells running around the square inner yard are zoned only by one peshtak portal. Each of the four corners of the madrassah has a guldasta turret. The main entrance has a low brick platform before it.

The madrassah differs from other similar constructions in its patterned terracotta decorative panels and unique artificial decorative stalactites in the façade arched doorways. None of the structures of the early 19th century can boast of such exterior decorations.

During the next decades there were built shopping arcade, caravanserai, bathhouses and Tash-Khauli Palace in this part of Ichan-Kala. Eventually, Kutlug Murad Inak Madrassah initiated the construction of an architectural ensemble at Palvan-Darvoza Gate.