Shergazi Khan Madrasah

Shergazi Khan Madrasah — photo 1

The history of Shergazi Khan Madrasah, one of your brightest attractions, oh wonderful Khiva, is full of events since its construction. It was built in the XVIII century by Persian slaves, who were brought from another military campaign of Shergazi Khan himself, the ruler of the Shibanid dynasty.

For such a grandiose structure, the Khan chose a place for construction within the walls of Itchan-Kala, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The building is still one of the largest in Khiva.

Construction began in 1719, but in 1726, Shergazi-khan was deprived of life by his slaves within the walls of this very Madrasah. Tragic fate was waiting for the ruler – to die at the hands of the builders of madrasah of his dreams, within the walls of this madrasah. The ruler attracted the wrath of his slaves by himself: he promised to let them go after the construction was completed, but he did not want to lose such labor, and was constantly lengthening the construction. Although it is believed that the work was almost completed in one year.

After one of his regular checks on the construction site and the announcement of the decision to extend the construction time, the Persian slaves attacked Shergazi Khan and ended his life.

The Madrasah was completed under the next ruler, Ilbars Khan II, in 1728. What is equally sad and ironic is that neither the death of Shergazi Khan, nor the completion of the Madrasah did not bring freedom to the slaves. They were released only in 1740, when the legendary Iranian commander and ruler Nader Shah Afshar conquered Khorezm.

However, there is some confusion with the time in this story. According to some reports, Shergazi Khan died in 1728, and the Madrasah was completed in 1726.

The inscription above the entrance to the Madrasah reads: “I accept death from slaves”, which confirms the legend of the death of the ruler. His body is now buried in a mausoleum near the Madrasah.

Over time, the main entrance to the Madrasah fell a few meters below street level due to the accumulation of cultural layers. The building was one-story, except for the facade part, and there were study rooms and four iwans.

Many poets and scientists of the East received their spiritual and scientific education within the walls of this Madrasah; this, of course, indicated a high level of teachers at this institution. Famous Magtymguly, Ajiniyaz Qosıbay Ulı, and Pir Beket were among the students of this Madrasah.

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