Abdul Aziz Khan Medressa

Islamic Site in Bukhara

The student rooms at the 16th-century Abdul Aziz Khan Medressa are occupied, rather typically, by souvenir shops. This is an unrestored gem, built by its namesake to outdo the Ulugbek Medressa across the street. One hujra (cell-like living quarter) in the corner of the courtyard still has its original paintings and fireplace. The highlight is the prayer room, now a museum of wood carvings, with jaw-dropping ghanch stalactites dripping from the ceiling.

It is said that Abdul Aziz had the image of his face covertly embedded in the prayer room’s mihrab (Mecca-facing niche) to get around the Sunni Muslim prohibition against depicting living beings. The only other medressa in town that depicts living beings is the Nadir Divanbegi Medressa.