Nadezhda Dukhovny
Nadezhda Dukhovny

Ancient and unique Uzbekistan: Khorezm Region III

Welcome to Uzbekistan! Welcome to Khorezm Region!

Posted by Uzbekistan Embassy in Israel on Saturday, May 22, 2021

Throughout the history of mankind, each generation has tried to preserve the memory of its time. In our time, museums are the repositories of the past. It is not for nothing that Khiva is considered an open-air museum. Ancient buildings, preserved from time immemorial, still keep everything that they have absorbed for centuries. But besides the architectural monuments themselves, there are real museums in Khiva.

In the center of Ichan Kala, there is the oldest madrasah of Khiva – the Shirgazi Khan Madrasah. It was built from 1719 to 1726 after a successful campaign against Khorasan.

The Shirgazi Khan Madrasah. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of Khorezm region.

The Shirgazi Khan Madrasah displays expositions dedicated to the life and work of the Turkmen poet Makhtumkuli Firogi and the Karakalpak poet Ainiyaz Kusibay Ugli. Shergazi Khan Madrasah is located directly opposite the Pakhlavan Mahmud mausoleum. This madrasah is one of the most famous in Khiva, known as “Maskani Fozilon”, that is, “House of the Wise Men.” Education in the madrasah is based primarily on the study of religious works such as Kora, Tafsir, Odobnoma, Hadith, and Sharkhi Hikoy.

Representatives of different nationalities studied in the madrasah. In schools with a large number of Uzbek children, 5 additional books were taught, such as “Kitobi Fizuli”, “Lisonut Tair”, “Devoni Alisher Navoi”, “Huvaido”, “Kissai Devonai Mashrab”. In 1997, for the 2500th anniversary of the city of Khiva, the exhibition was expanded and replenished with new exhibits. This number of exhibits also includes the Karakalpak values of the times of the poet Azhaniyaz Kusibay.

The Khan’s Court Museum is another attraction worth visiting in Khiva. It includes a dungeon known locally as zindan. The word “zindan” translated from Persian means “a dark place in the depths.” During the times of the Khiva Khanate, state criminals were imprisoned in this kind of prison. Previously, khan’s dungeon was located inside the palace of the Old Ark.

The Khan’s Court Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

There used to be temporary dungeons on the square in front of the Old Ark, but they have not survived to this day.

On October 21, 1997, the 2500th anniversary of Khiva was celebrated at the same place. Nowadays, all festivities take place in this square.

The interior of the dungeon is now in a restored building from old Mirshabhon. The word “mirshab” in translation from Persian means “the person in charge of night patrol”. He is also the head of the guard, which was located in a building built next to the wall of the Old Ark.

These people guarded the khan’s palace at night, and during the day they were responsible for the order and safety of citizens in the streets and in the bazaar.

The Khan’s Court Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

The exposition of the Khorezm Museum of Applied Arts is located in one of the most beautiful madrasahs of Ichan Kala – the Islam Khoja Madrasah. Its majolica and ganch carvings are striking in their beauty.

Here the following is written in Arabic script: “Allah, Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman, Ali, Sayyid Islam Khoja ibn Ibrahim Khoja.”

In the 1950s-1960s, the building of the madrasah served as a hospital.

The exposition of the museum was opened in 1983 on the occasion of the 1200th anniversary of the birth of the great scientist, mathematician Al- Khwarizmi.

The Khorezm Museum of Applied Arts. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

The museum presents expositions of 10 types of applied arts:

– Wood carving;

– Sewing;

– Carving on marble;

– Ganch carving;

– Making carpets;

– Ceramics;

– Calligraphy;

– Copper thread;

– Leatherworking;

– Jewelry Art;

The Khorezm Museum of Applied Arts. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

In the exhibition hall “Khorezm Jewelery of Applied Art” you can see the products of Khorezm jewelers of the XIX – early XX centuries.

Khorezm Museum of the History of Musical Art is a place where objects related to Khorezm folk music, the oldest branch in the history of Uzbek music, are collected.

The folk music of Khorezm has been in contact with different cultures for centuries. Aryans, Saks, Massagets, Oguzes, Sarts, Kipchaks, Hephthalites lived in this oasis. They fought against natural disasters and invaders and created ancient art and culture.

The Khorezm department of the history of music is located in the Kazi-Kalon madrasah, which was built in 1905 by the chief judge of the Khiva Khanate, Muhammad Salim Okhun.

Khorezm Museum of the History of Musical Artt. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

In addition to religious knowledge, the madrasah provided legal education. Education in the madrasah was divided into 3 stages: adno (primary), avsat (secondary and alo (higher). Students received scholarships. Since each madrasah owned waqf lands, the Kazi Kalon madrasah owned lands in the amount of 1108 tanob 39.9 m).

Khorezm Museum of the History of Musical Art. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

Khorezm Museum of the History of Musical Art was opened in the madrasah in 1992. The exposition of the museum covers the period from the first to the twentieth century.

Tosh Hovli Palace is a striking example of nineteenth-century architecture, reminiscent of the appearance and design of the Old Ark Palace.

The palace was built in 1830-1838 by the Khiva Khan Allakulikhan (1794-1842). Wooden pillars, marble stones, and inscriptions on the ceilings tell us that the palace was under construction for 8 years, that is, in the years 1830-1838.

Tosh Hovli Palace. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

During 1945-1983, the Historical Museum was located in the harem part of the Stone Palace. The restoration work, which began in 1976, was completed in 1989. In the same year, the Khorezm Museum of Crafts was opened in the former harem. This exposition is still open today.

The Khorezm Museum of Crafts. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

A historical document of that time indicates that the number of artisans in the city was 556, and the number of crafts was 27.

The exhibition of Masterpieces of Khorezm Calligraphy is located in the Muhammad Panakhbay Madrasah in Ichan Kala.

Masterpieces of Khorezm Calligraphy Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

The madrasah was built in 1909 by craftsmen Khudaybergan Khoja and Qalandar Kuchum. The madrasah is located to the north of the Jome Mosque, which is a 10th-century monument. The front door faces east, and above it, there is an inscription in Arabic: “Muhammad Panah, 1909”. At the entrance to the corridor, on the north side, there is a darskhana, on the south – a mosque. The number of rooms opening onto the patio with a door is 12, and they were built as student dormitories. Each hut had a stove. The chimneys of the stove pass through the walls and out onto the roof.

Manuscripts are the main assistant in a detailed study of history, and scrolls, letters, and books are used to learn the real history and bring interesting events from different eras to life.

The Khorezm Academy of Mamun was founded in 1004 by the Khorezm ruler Abu’l-Abbas Mamun ibn Mamun.

The Khorezm Academy of Mamun. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

The unification of Khorezm in the 10th century and the economic upsurge that followed it gave impetus to the development of spiritual life. By the end of the 10th century, a scientific center was founded in Khorezm under the Khorezm ruler Mamun, which later received the name Khorezm Academy of Mamun in the history of science.

Despite the fact that the Mamun Academy did not function for long, that is, until 1017, it was here that secular sciences, in particular mathematics, chemistry, geodesy, mineralogy, medicine, history, politics, language and literature, philosophy, logic, and law, reached a high level.

During this period, pottery, metal, glass applied arts, as well as calligraphy and music developed.

About a hundred scientists worked at the Mamun Academy, the names of more than 30 of them were identified, their work was partially studied.

One of the most famous scientists working at the Mamun Academy is undoubtedly Abu Raikhan Beruni.

The Khorezm Academy of Mamun, consistently continuing the traditions of Bayt ul-Khikma, made a huge contribution to the development of world science and culture.

In the first centuries of Islam, mosques were intended only for namaz.

The Friday Mosque of Khiva, nicknamed by the Khivans Juma Masjid, is one of the outstanding buildings of the medieval city, distinguished by its size and original design.

The Arab traveler Al-Muqaddasi, who visited Khorezm in the 10th century, was the first to mention the Jome Mosque in Khiva. However, according to the Khivans, this mosque was destroyed, and in its place in 1788, according to the same plan, the present building of the mosque was built, significantly expanded.

The Jome Mosque is a one-story building with a flat roof and a beamed ceiling supported by 213 columns.

Jome, The Friday Mosque of Khiva. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

The mosque also has several columns imitating the ancient ones. They were added in the late XX – early XXI centuries.

The mosque has columns made by the woodcarving schools of Old Urgench, Izmikshir, and Khiva.

Kuhna Ark fortress of Khiva is one of the khan’s palaces in Ichan Kala. The history of the fortress is closely connected with the history of the city of Khiva. Some historical sources indicate that the construction of the fortress and the city began at about the same time.

Kukhna-Ark fortress of Khiva. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

In the Ark, along with the living quarters of the khan and his dignitaries, as well as some state institutions, there was also an observation deck (salomkhona, arzkhan), a mint, summer and winter mosques, a harem, an armory, an ammunition workshop, a warehouse, a kitchen, a stable, and a dungeon.

Currently, the Ark serves as a museum and houses the Ancient Khorezm hall, the expositions of which widely cover the history and culture of ancient Khorezm.

There are also exhibits related to such times as the Siyavush, Afrighids, Mamunids, and Anushteginid dynasties.

The idea of ​​creating the German Mennonite Museum in the Polvon Kori Complex arose back in 2008, when a delegation of Mennonite Germans, descendants of the very Germans who lived in the village of Ak-Mechet from 1883 to 1997, visited Khiva.

The Mennonites were followers of Menno Simons (1496-1561), the leader of the Anabaptist movement in the Netherlands. Mennonites first appeared in the Netherlands and then in Switzerland. Until the 20th century, it is believed that almost all Mennonites were of German-Swiss or German-Danish descent.

In 1881, Mennonites appeared in Zirabulak, on the border of Bukhara. Residents of the village of Zirabulak hospitably sheltered Mennonite refugees.

In the spring of 1882, they moved to Khorezm at the invitation of Muhammad Rahim Khan II of Khiva. Thanks to his decision and support, in 1884, 15 km from Khiva, a colony of Molochansk Germans was founded. These were the Germans who previously lived on the Molochnaya River in the Taurida Governorate, now the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine. The population of the colony was 40 families. Later they were joined by co-religionists from Kyrgyzstan, the Volga region, and Ukraine.

The German Mennonite Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

Gradually, the composition of the colony expanded to 62 farms, and its territory increased to 60 hectares. The German Islet was designed as a small fortress with one gate that could be locked at night. It was a local folk tradition at the time to enclose the village with an adobe wall for security purposes.

Some of the colonists were engaged in traditional crafts – shoemaking, carpentry, blacksmithing, repairing simple agricultural tools, etc. On winter days, women whiled away the time knitting and sewing.

The Mennonites had their own school, where children were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and their religious doctrines in German.

The German Mennonite Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

The Khorezmians still say only good things about the Mennonites and pay tribute to the good name and fond memory that the Mennonites from Ak-Mechet left behind.

The Agahi House-Museum is located in the center of the Agahi garden complex in the village of Kiyot in a restored courtyard on the site of an ancient burial mound.

Any visitor, while viewing the museum exposition, perfectly conveys the era in which Muhammad Riza Mirab Agahi lived, will see himself next to the great poet, historian, and translator.

The guest will see a description of Agahi’s childhood and youth, his teachers, historical and artistic works representing that period, translated in living form.

Agahi translated into Uzbek more than 20 works, which are considered rare masterpieces of world literature and culture, and also created a school for translation of reference literature.

The Agahi House-Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

Agahi is the author of 26 historical works of art (1809-1874), 22 of which have survived to this day, 72 handwritten copies are kept in the world’s funds.

It also features works and manuscripts from Agahi’s family and friends.

The main idea of ​​creating the exposition of the Museum History and Culture of Khorezm in the Khorezm Academy of Mamun was to show the state administration of Khorezm, the life of the Khorezmians who made a significant contribution to the development of world civilization, as well as written and material sources.

The exposition covers political, socio-economic, and cultural life, and also demonstrates the art of Khorezm from ancient times to the present day. Among the permanent expositions of the museum, you can see the following:

– The foundation of the state structure of Khorezm in antiquity, the Middle Ages and the New Time;

– Zoroastrian religion and its sacred book “Avesta”;

– Urban planning, writing, fine arts;

– Khorezm Academy of Mamun and scientists working in it;

– National liberation movements;

– Handicraft, jewelry, market, and trade;

The Information provided by the Head department of tourism and sports of the Khorezm region.

 

About the Author
Nadezhda Dukhovny was born and raised in Uzbekistan and made aliya in 2005. She holds an MA in Linguistics from Tel Aviv University and works in translation. She has a true interest about her motherland and would like to tell more about that fascinating country to make Israeli readers familiar with another culture from other part of the globe.
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