Muhammad Aminkhan Madrassah
Near Ata-Darvoza Gate, at the entrance to Ichan-Kala (“Inner Town”) there is a small square that developed in front of the southern walls of Kunya-Ark Citadel. Here, the construction of Muhammad Aminkhan Madrassah was completed in 1855. Its majestic portal, two-storey arched outhouses and corner guldasta towers are covered with decorative majolica. Adjoining the madrassah, stands the unfinished blue Kalta-Minor Minaret, which was a part of the monumental complex of the higher Muslim school. It was intended as the highest minaret in Central Asia. Though Muhammad Aminkhan did not manage to complete the minaret, his madrassah really became the biggest in Khorezm and neighboring countries. Muhammad Aminkhan reigned for only 10 years, and he spent these years in victorious military campaigns. The rich war trophies enabled the conceited khan to allot a lot of money on construction of the buildings that were to immortalize his eminence and wisdom.
One hundred and twenty-five hujra cells surround the yard of the madrassah. Each cell on the ground floor comprises some back rooms, whereas the cells located in the second story have loggias. Four large arched peshtak portals face the yard. In the madrassah there were also a few darskhona lecture halls, a mosque and a large number of service rooms. Decorating the outside and inside facades of the madrassah, the craftsmen seemed to have competed with each other for the best patterns to embody the then prevailing ideals of beauty and perfection. The wide variety of high-quality mosaic and majolica patterns of the madrassah is really amazing.
Students and teachers of the madrassah could enjoy quite comfortable accommodation for that period of time – the mid-19th century. In some vakuf documents there were mentioned very large sums of money that were allotted for board and lodging of 260 students of the madrassah, its two mutavalli and five ahund teachers, an imam, two servants and even a barber.
On the portal of the madrassah, above the arch, there is an inscription in Arabic. Praising Khiva’s khan, it says ‘This wonderful building will be eternally pleasing the next generations…’ Indeed, the workmanship of the masons who accomplished excellent brickwork on gunch mortar helped the building of the madrassah be beyond the destructive effect of the time.