Exterior of buildingExterior of building
Directly across from the Islom Hoja Madrassah and Minaret stands the Photography Museum. This was the first non-Koranic school to be opened in Khiva as part of Islom Hoja's drive towards progress and development. The architecture, like its founder, draws both from eastern and western influences.
Islom Hoja was neither a communist nor a secularist. He was, however, a modernist and despite his comissioning of a new madrassah, the new educational establishment caused outrage amongst the clergy. They were incensed that the school had no Koranic focus, drew on Russian influences and, even worse, admitted students who were poor, non-muslims and female. This, along with the Islom Hoja's other modernising projects and general popularity, soon had the clergy plotting his demise.
Today the museum contains some fascinating glimpses into the Khorezm Soviet Revolution. Group photos abound of men and women together - an event unthinkable a few years previous. Women can be seen casting off veils and idealistic young men casting off traditions and embracing the new slogans of a Communist future.