Islom Hoja Medressa


Walk south from the Abdulla Khan Medressa to the Islom Hoja Medressa and minaret – Khiva’s newest Islamic monuments, both built in 1910. You can climb the minaret any time but morning light is best. With bands of turquoise and red tiling, it looks rather like an uncommonly lovely lighthouse. At 57m tall, it’s Uzbekistan’s highest.

The medressa holds Khiva’s best museum, the Museum of Applied Arts. It exhibits Khorezm handicrafts through the ages – fine woodcarving, metalwork, Uzbek and Turkmen carpets, stone carved with Arabic script (which was in use in Khorezm from the 8th to the 20th centuries) and fine tilework from the nearby Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleuem.

Islom Hoja himself was an early-20th-century grand vizier and a liberal (by Khivan standards): he founded a European-style school, brought long-distance telegraph to the city and built a hospital. For his popularity, the khan and clergy had him assassinated.

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