Arab Muhammad-khan Madrasah

Arab Muhammad-khan madrasah is one of the oldest buildings of Khiva. It is located near Muhammad Aminkhan Mosque in the center of Ichan-kala.

Arab Muhammad-khan was from the dynasty of Sheibanids and he moved the capital of Khorezm from Urgench to Khiva. In this connection, he ordered to build a madrasah for citizens in 1616. Initially, small spiritual educational establishment stood in its place. It was constructed by one famous woman in Khiva. Arab Muhammad purchased it with adjoining territories.

He had left the great mark in history of Khorezm. During his tenure in 1603-1621, Khiva became one of the most beautiful cities of Central Asia and could compete in beauty with Bukhara and Samarkand. He greatly improved the city and constructed large number of madrasahs and mosques. He also built secular buildings.


The one-storey rectangular madrasah was built from bricks. According to the architectural tradition of that time, the quotes from Quran on the portal welcomed the students. Small corner minarets stood in the corners of the building. As in other Central Asian religious schools there were living rooms (hudjra) for students. There were also lecture hall – darshana and the mosque.

Over time madrasah walls dilapidated and became worthless, while interior crumbled. Therefore, it was rebuilt and restored several times. However, the madrasah was completed reconstructed in 1838 within the order of Alla Kuli-khan. In the result, it received the architectural forms and traditions of later epoch.

The second floor was constructed. Number of hudjras and classrooms increased. The entry portal was partially redesigned. The building reached our times in updated appearance.

Today, Arab Muhammad-khan Madrasah is one of the most interesting and beautiful places of Khiva.

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