Khoja Berdibay Madrassah: old madrasah Khiva

This religious school belongs to the list of the oldest madrasas located in the territory of Khiva. It is believed that it was built at the beginning of 1688 under the direct instruction and direct support of the most wealthy city dwellers. The madrasa, which survived in almost pristine condition, is located close to the eastern gates of the city. The other monuments of the city date back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, so this madrasa is the oldest structure on the territory of Khiva.


The building, rectangular in shape, is equipped with a small patio and a few aivans, installed at the corners of the complex. In these comfortable aivans not only students but also teachers could take a rest after classes. Also aivans were used by city sages for scientific discussions. The main entrance to the madrasa was luxuriously decorated with various wood carvings.


Delightfully decorated doors of the madrasah discord with its interiors, characterized by simplicity. Traces of work of decorators are visible only on painted grates installed on the interior windows. The room where the training took place is located at the back of the madrasah. It was of a small size and had the form of a regular square. The total number of dwellings (cells) reached sixteen, which was due to the small size of the institution.


In 1834 the ruler Allakulikhan ordered the start of construction of a new madrasah, which was supposed to be larger. Near the new madrasah, it was decided to build a mosque. For the construction purposes, it was decided to destroy a small portion of the city wall so that the facade of the madrasah overlooked directly to the ruler’s palace.


Since the foundation of the old and new madrasah was built on completely different levels, the city received two educational institutions that resembled the classic eastern bag – hurzhun. Over time, the new madrasah was called by the people “Hurzhun madrasa.”