There are epics about heroes with the brave heart and strong power in folklore of all nations. People of Central Asia call such people as pakhlavans. One of such famous people is Pakhlavan Makhmud from Khorezm.
He worked as furrier or master on fur processing. He was great wrestler in his soul. That’s why he became famous far beyond his native city. He lost only once to save his opponent from death penalty. Still Iranian wrestlers ask for victory from Pakhlavan Makhmud before the bouts.
There is also one beautiful legend related to him. When Pakhlavan Makhmud won in foreign state, the ruler asked what to gift him as a prize. Pakhlavan Makhmud said he will take home all those, who would fit into a cow skin. He cut the skin into thin strips, tied them into one large belt and wrapped all the prisoners from Khorezm with the belt and took them home with himself. Besides, he was excellent poet and wise philosopher.
According to legend, Pakhlavan Makhmud died in 1322 or in 1325. He was buried in the yard of his shop.
Khiva residents esteem Pakhlavan Makhmud as their protector and they construct the mausoleum over his tomb in 1701. Tombstone and the building were decorated with traditional blue and white majolica, which is typical for Khan’s mausoleums.
Large number of pilgrims began to come here. Eastern gallery was constructed here in the first half of the 19th century. The mausoleum also became burial place for Khiva khans as the rulers were buried here.
In the end of the 19 century, the mosque, madrasah and four charity establishments (karihona), where the blind people lived, were built here. People of Khorezm suffered from blindness due frequent sandy storms.
Hudjra (living rooms) and oshhona (kitchen) were also constructed for pilgrims. Two-storey building was built in front of the mausoleum, where beautifully decorated burial-vault of Isfandiyar-khan is located.
Old block mosque for daily prayers Ak Masjid is located near architectural ensemble Pakhlavan Makhmud.