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At Beshagach, once was of the four boroughs of old Tashkent, between the grandiose Istiqlol Concert Hall and the Parliament of Uzbekistan - Oliy Majlis there is a building that is not similar to those around – Abulkasym madrassah, built in the style of Renaissance East and founded in the first half of the 19th century.
Today it is home to over 30 craftsmen, it is an astonishing place of workshops inside a former madrassah. The range and quantity of products is exciting and includes art deco, paintings and prints, jewellery, ceramics and more.
Previously, madrassahs were named after the initiator of its construction, who usually was the lord or rich person of the surrounding Mahalla (neighborhood). The personality of Abul Kasim is mentioned in history books as a highly educated and well-known person of Tashkent. During the plague riot, when Russian Royal Governor-General ordered the shelling of the old city, Abulkasym-Eshon came to the Governor-General with a petition and convinced him not to blame the common people in the revolt, thus he was able to cool the General and undo a fateful order.
History of Abulkasym Madrassah
Madrassahs are schools. The emphasis is on religious studies, canons of Islamic Sharia, logic, philosophy but other courses are also taught there. Apart from studying the sciences, there were taught various crafts – manufacture of musical instruments, painting, printing, etc.
But the most significant and striking mention of Abulkasym is connected with the signing of a Peace Treaty that followed the capture of Tashkent by Russian General Chernyaev. City residents gathered in the Abulkasym madrassah – in socially significant place, the former center of resistance to Russian invasion – to sign the peace agreement.
The architectural style of the Abulkasym madrassah is based on the traditions of the medieval heyday of culture, science and architecture. The main facade of the building was converted to a large area with a swimming pool. The southern wall has a small cemetery. In the courtyard of the madrasa there was a well (sardoba) covered by a dome. To the left of the main entrance there were darshona (classes), to the right – khujdras (cells) and in the center – a mosque Honakoyi Muyi Muborak, on the cornice of which there is a glazed tile with Arabic script written: “In this building entrusted the holy hair of the Rasulullah (Muhammad SAW).”
In 1919, soon after the October revolution, the Abulkasym madrassah was closed along with many other analogue structures. After 10 years, the madrassah became a shelter for 70 families from the Russian province of Samara, where at that time raged hunger. And after 45 years, in 1974, the last family got an apartment and left the walls of madrassah.
Then, the madrassah became a workshop of Tashkent toy factory, after which the building was gradually destroyed and eventually lose its former appearance, turning into a communal courtyard at the factory.
After long reconstruction works, on August 30, 1987 the opening ceremony of the restored madrassah was celebrated in the city. After the re-opening, the madrassah has ceased to be merely a monument. Now every khudjras (cells) of the building became workshops of artists and craftsmen that serve the best shopping place of souvenirs for tourists.