Islam Khoja ensemble is real pearl of Khiva despite its young age. The ensemble was constructed in the beginning of the 20th century, although its appearance reminds the architecture of the 11-12th centuries.
Islam Khoja minaret is a central building of the ensemble. Main vizier (Prime Minister) Islam Khoja constructed the minaret for his own money. Islam Khoja served as the minister at the court of Isfandiyarkhan II, who had progressive views and wanted to develop strong relations with Russia. He brought new and fresh ideas from Saint Petersburg for development of Khiva Khanate. He initiated construction of the first secular school.
However, some citizens of Khiva did want changes and therefore they tried to incite the Khan against his vizier. As a result, Khodja was murdered on his way to countryside residence.
Today madrasah and minaret of Islam Khodja are visiting cards of Ichan Kala. The ensemble is based on contrasts. In line with the project of architect, the highest minaret stands near small madrasah. Thanks to it, the tower looks more impressive and can be seen from far. In the beginning of 20th century, it served as lighthouse and helped caravans not to go astray.
With its beauty in tradition of the 14th century and height of 56.6 meters, it eclipsed even the famous Kalyan Minaret in Bukhara. Its horizontal majolica patterns of blue, azure, white and turquoise tiles shimmer against the clear sky of Khiva. At the height of 45 meters, there is an observation deck, from where all the sights of Khiva can be viewed.
It is noteworthy that the madrasah and minaret of Islam Khodja stood very close to each other. Inside of the madrasah, there are a spacious hall and 42 hudjras (living room), where students and teachers lived. A dome mosque is located in the south-eastern part of the madrasah. Patterns from ganch and colorful majolica were used to decorate its interior.
Islam Khoja ensemble is one of the most beautiful architectural complex of Khiva.