Close to Khazret Imam Square there stands Barak-Khan Madrassah – one of the most remarkable medieval architectural monuments. The height of its portal, decorated with majolica and glazed tile mosaic, is accentuated by a deep lancet niche with little decorative arches. At the corners of the façade is lined with guldasta towers with little domes. Behind the doors with intricate engravings is a small rectangular yard surrounded with hudjra cells and a large darskhona (hall for lectures) structure. The dome of the darskhona lies on intersecting arcs, whose pendentives are decorated with delicate gunch stucco stalactites. The interior walls are covered with paintings.
The design of Barak-Khan Madrassah differs markedly from the traditional structures of such kind. It is in fact a complex of structures, consisting of a madrassah and two older mausoleums that were integrated with it. To the left of the madrassah entrance there is the oldest construction of the complex – a mausoleum of an unknown cleric. Close to it, in 1531 there was built the domed mausoleum of Suyunij-Khan – the first ruler of Tashkent province from Uzbek dynasty of the Sheibanids. The mausoleum was richly decorated with engravings and gilt. But in later period it undervent numerous reconstructions. In the mid-16th century Suyunij-Khan’s son Nawruz-Ahmad, also known as Barak-Khan, built on a madrassah to his father’s mausoleum. However, the mausoleum continued to be center of the complex. Its central hall is topped with a turquoise dome on a tall cylinder. Similar domes crown the mausoleum of an unknown cleric and the darskhona of the madrassah.
For dozens of years Barak-Khan Madrassah housed Uzbekistan’s Office of Spiritual Administration of Muslims. Recently the Office has moved to a new special building, and the cells of the madrassah were put at craftsmen’s disposal as workshops. In a shade of the ancient madrassah, craftsmen carefully draw in Arabic characters ayats from the Koran, carve collapsible laukh stands for the Koran, each out of a single piece of wood, engrave and stamp intricate patterns on copper and brass trays and containers, thus keeping the spiritual and cultural traditions.