"Mohammed Rakhim Khan (aka Feruz) Madrassah" Khiva Things to Do Tip by josephescu
Khiva Things to Do: 116 reviews and 392 photos
Constructed in 1871, the madrassah has an unusual front courtyard and heavy corner towers. The shimmering blue pishtak and the façade tilework have been restored in 1994 on 150th birthday of Feruz, and more cosmetic touches were added by the crew of Sally Potter’s film Orlando.
The madrassah currently houses a museum tenuously organised around the life of Feruz: flags of the Khanate, local clothes and armour, mix of poetry and axes. The right hand mosque holds some fascinating turn of the century photos of Feruz and Isfandiyar Khan, decorated in Russian military awards and flanked by turbaned viziers and smooth-looking Russian generals.
Feruz is an intriguing Central Asian character; the khan who, not unlike Bukhara’s Abdul Ahad, straddled two ages and had the unenviable task of reconciling Russian domination with the fierce, nomadic independence of his subjects. On his 3 trips to St. Petersburg he picked up a private printing press which produced nothing but his own poetry, he learned how to smoke and proudly bought a telephone, even though there was no connecting line for hundreds of kilometres. Back in Khiva he forced his harem into the most fashionable corsetry of the day and pressured his finance minister into learning how to play his grand piano. In 1873 he finally signed away his independence to become the tsar’s “obedient servant” and entered the Cossack Army as major-general. He died of a heart-attack in 1910 (aged 65).
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