? mosque- a place of prayer of Muslims, the abode revered by them, starting from the XI century has been used for specific events. Some type of mosques were intended for committing mass prayers during Islamic holidays ?Kurban Khayit? ( Eid al Adha) and ?Uraza Khayit? (Eid al Fitra) celebrated twice a year and which was to gather a large number of? of the population of cities and villages.
For such mosques called ?Namazgah? a special area outside the city walls was allotted. Such mosques structurally were of frontal composition, the yard of such a mosque was not limited:-the purpose of construction of such buildings was the fact that while praying Muslims should turn their faces to the direction of Mecca (i.e. Qybla). In Khorezm the landmark of the Qybla is the direction to the south, so in Khorezm mihrabs of the mosques (prayer niche where the Muslims turn their faces during prayer) is set in the southern wall of a building. The ?Namazgah? type of suburban mosques of standard composition in Khiva has not preserved, there is only one mosque called ?Namazgah? only in Ismail Ishanbaba ensemble of Khazorasp district of Khorezm region has survived. But it is built in the form of a broad domed hall with three-dome gallery one side of which has access to an aivan i.e. traditional architecture like mahalla mosques. Other cathedral Jum`a mosques (?Jami? ? i.e. cathedral or ?Jum`a? ? meaning a Friday mosque) are intended for Friday prayers once a week where the majority of the Muslims of the city gathers for a prayer. In the architectural form these cathedral mosques in their majority consist of the main building which is drawn out in the longitudinal direction and a gallery on perimeter of walls.
In Khorezm the mosques of this type has not been preserved. But, according to the historical sources, they functioned in the X century in Kyat, in the XII century in Gurganj (the modern city Kunya Urgench in today?s Turkmenistan). On carved patterned gates of the mosque Sayyed Ata of Khanqa district of Khorezm region there are written details that the mosque was built in 1749, as well as, the records of the foundation of the city. The area around the spacious yard of the mosque is built up with aivans with wooden columns and is a complex architectural ensemble.
In the early centuries of Islam mosques were intended only for for prayers, this building was a kind of popular house consecrating life of the people in all periods by variety of ceremonies, rites which is preserved in Mahalla (community) mosques that being built in crowded places and near the souks. Their forms sharply differ from each other but despite it in their structure a single composition has been preserved: ? it is a building with a small lounge limited from the front by an avian. The hall where prayers are committed can be domed and avian in the form of domed portal gallery of an elegant monumental look or in the form of premises overlapped by the plane roof resting on wooden columns and built up by aivans. On the southern side of mosques in Khorezm and partially Khiva? in the outer part there were no apertures or openings made, as, in its inner part? mihrab (prayer niche oriented towards Mecca) was located. This fact in Khiva mosques are very seldom met, as they say, you can count on your fingers, but remained in some below listed mosques. There is domed hall with built-in one-column aivan? in the mosque Yarmuhammad divan (Sayyid Ata), located near the mausoleum of Sayyid Alauddin to the southwest from the? Baghbanly mosque located in the southern part of Ichan-Qala. Ceilings of the mosques of Abdalbaba and Matriza kushbeghi are also covered by a flat roof from beams. The mosque where three sides of the prayer hall are surrounded by aivans is Aq-Mosque located next to Palvan darvaza gate of Ichan-Qala.
In front of quarter mosques in Khiva usually there is a long courtyard located where turned by its facade a high aivan of the mosque and at the opposite side, facing the aivan there stands the aivan of the darvazakhana or tars-aivan (the opposite aivan). There also was a room (kaznak) for storage of accessories, house wares and takharatkhana (room for ablution).
Khiva`s Jum`a Mosque (Ja`mi), which means the Cathedral or Friday Mosque, was one of the most remarkable buildings of the city in the Middle Ages and allocated by its distinctive architectural shape and its dimensions. This monument is reminiscent of the ancient mosques of Khorezm. It occupies quite a large area of 55?46 sq. m. in size, and presents a multicolumn construction. The building is located along the major street that connects eastern and western gates of Ichan-Qala. The Arab traveler al-Maqdisi (al-Muqaddisi) who was in the X century in Khorezm for the first time mentioned of Jum`a mosque of Khiva.? But according to old residents of Khiva the ancient mosque was demolished and in its place with some extension of its area, the present mosque was built with exactly the same layout in 1788. Exterior view of the mosque is a bit simplified, the height of its walls is 4.5 meters, the height of its minaret makes 42 meters. The gate of the mosque facing the front part of the north and the wind blowing from the north blows out through two rather large skylights arranged in the middle of the roof of the mosque. Under the apertures in the old days the local varieties of mulberry trees of?? ?Balkhi? sort grew which purified the air inside the mosque at those times, that means thus our fathers and grandfathers achieved a harmonious biosynthesis between nature and a human. It should be noted that in old times in the yard of many buildings mulberry trees? of ?Balkhi? variety (or ?oq toot? ? white mulberry) used to be planted. According to experts mulberry requires very little water, because its roots themselves find water under the ground. Thereby our ancestors sought the integrity and safety of architectural and residential buildings because a mulberry tree absorbing and collecting moisture around itself thus help? maintain balance on distribution soil waters within the area and around the building.
Jum`a Mosque is a one-storey building with a flat roof which is maintained 213 columns mounted on a square grid of 3,15 x 3,15 meters. Mihrab of the mosque is in the center the south wall. On both sides of the mikhrab in the wall as usual, to highlight it high niches are arranged; the ceiling of mikhrab part is built slightly higher than general ceiling of the mosque. The mikhrab arched niche is painted with green color, partition walls are painted in black and red colors with the images of trees, bushes, wild roses and iris, which are formed in the late XVIII and early XX centuries. On marble slabs mounted on both sides of mikhrab inscriptions are carved, in one of them, dated 1203 of hijra (1788-1789 AD) a waqf charter is written which was made in regard with the donation of property and funds to the mosque. It reports that at the behest of the Vizier Abdurakhman (mikhtar) in 1203 Hijra in the villages Kuyuktam (, now Goktam village in Qo?shko?pir District of Khorezm region) and Bekabad waqf lands are allocated for the mosque? and the income from these lands should be spent on charitable purposes and the needs of the mosque. The second marble slab is slightly smaller in size and it is engraved a chronogram (tarikh) showing 1080 hijra (i.e. 1666 AD).
Among local population there are judgments that the mosque was restored at the end of the XVIII century. It is confirmed by inscriptions engraved on the carved doors of the southern facade of the mosque. They report that the mosque was restored in 1788 ? 89 under the leadership of the person named Abdurakhman Mikhtar. From ancient pattern carved columns in the mosque only 15 of them have remained; 8 columns are stored in Tashkent, in the museum of history of the peoples of Uzbekistan. According to Yahya Gulyamov, archeologists and historian,? ? ?some of these columns are the most ancient monuments of art of wood carving throughout Uzbekistan?.
On the most ancient columns on kuzag (the palm of a column) there patterns in the form of large leaves are applied, the upper part of the trunk is with regular facets and in mid of them framed by a circle there ancient Arab Kufic inscriptions are written. The forms processed with a deep relief. And on the columns of the XIV century patterns are provided in a variety of patterns, inscriptions are given in the form of ?Hattie naskh? (Arabic writing style). A thread of such style we can see on the wooden tiles installed near the mikhrab and on the door wings. In the mosque there are few more columns that are executed in imitation of the ancient columns. On one of them the date indicating 1510 is preserved. There are no other inscriptions. They might be installed at the same time with marble slabs near the mikhrab. Restoration of this unique monument was started in 1979 on the project of the architect Sanochkin. 108 columns of the Jum`a Mosque installed there were later bought from local population in 1983. Among them there were carved patterned columns of XVIII ? early XX centuries which were installed in place of dilapidated columns of the mosque. Among historians and art historians and local population there is an opinion that some of the columns were brought from Kunya Urgench, Izmuhshir (Zamakhshar, a settlement in the territory of Turkmenistan), the ancient Kyat, ruined by waters of Amudarya River, as well as, from other places of Khiva.
It is said that in the mosque there is also a column made from the trunk of an ancient cotton bush (guzapaia). In fact, there is no such a column in the mosque and it virtually can not be. Because the trunk of guzapaia shrub is friable, hollow and isn?t able to withstand heavy loads. In the midst of the columns under a calotte there is a miniature pot made of a limestone. Shortly after pouring water into the boiler water becomes warm. The secret of this miracle was known to only certain limited part of the staff of the mosque at that time. This measure carried out to bring into surprise the Muslims believers was aimed at strengthening the position of Islam among the masses.
Attention is drawn to the fact that the five minarets of Khiva are on one line at a distance of about 200 m. from?? one another. At the center is the minaret of the principal mosque of Ichan-Qala, Jum`a mosque. To the West from it ? Kalta Minor Minaret and further a minaret of Sha- Qalandar Bobo ensemble. To the East there is a minaret of the mosque Seyid-Biy and further ? Palvan-kari minaret. Diameter of the minaret of Jum`a mosque at the base is 6.2 meters, the height ? 32, 5 meters. Its top is crowned with eight arched lantern with stalactite cornice and calotte. In 1996-1997 Juma mosque was restored and during the restoration many worn-out columns were again replaced.