Kunya Ark Palace - The museum of A ncient Khorezm

The old fortress is adjoins the western side of Ichan-Qala city walls with hermit Ak-shikh-bobo cell in one of its sections. Ichan-Kala barrow got its name in the 30's of the 19th century after the construction of the "new palace" Tash Khauli. Construction of Kunya Ark was initiated in 1686-1688 by Anushakhan's son Aranghkhan. By the end of the 18th century Kunya Ark became "a town within a town" and was separated from Ichan-Kala with a high wall. It housed a fortress, khan's residence, supreme court, powder factory, arsenal, mint, kurinyshkhana (khan's reception office), winter and summer mosques, divan registry, harem, kitchens, stables, guardroom, arena for ram fights, etc. The now existing Kunya Ark complex was rebuilt at the beginning of the 19th century. There was a single gate giving access to Kunya Ark placed in the eastern wall. The gate is 13 by 8.5 meters and 5.8 meters high (the remaining part). The square near the entrance to Kunya Ark was used for military parades and field training. There was also a special place for executing criminals and a zindan (prison) adjoining the eastern walls of Kunya Ark. Copper cannons guarded the entrance to the palace. Only a few groups of structures are left from the densely placed buildings in the Kunya Ark territory: the eastern gate with guardrooms; Aq shikh Bobo ayvan; kurinyshkhana - a yard for honorable receptions and registry; the mint with the summer and winter mosques, and the harem. Aq Shikh Bobo or Aq Sheikd Bobo ayvan initially served as a hujra where saint Aq Shikh Bobo, sheikh Mukhtar Vali's mentor, lived, and was used later as a watchtower and storage place for powder. The barrow foundation is about 60 by 40 meters. The first kurinyshkhana building was constructed in 1686-1688 by Aranghkhan and destroyed in the middle of the l8th century during Iranian invasion. The modern building was erected in 1804-1806 by Iltuzarkhan. Kurinyshkhana ayvan was tiled with majolica during the rule of Allah Kuli Khan. The kurinyshkhana includes an open space of the yard, semi-open ayvan and enclosed rooms of the throne hall and side rooms as well as structures in the western part of the yard (the khan's treasury, manuscripts storage room, recreation rooms). In the middle of the yard is a round elevation where a yurt was set up for the khan to receive envoys of nomadic neighbors. The khan's throne stood at the southern wall of the throne hall; the throne is now exhibited in the Armory Museum in Moscow. It was made of wood and covered with sheet silver with delicate engraved ornament in 1816 by Khiva's craftsman Muhammad. Dimensions: total: 28 x 27 m; yard: 13.5 x 17.5 m; ayvan: 5 x 10 m; throne hall: 4 x 10 m; suga: 6.3 m. Kunya Ark harem was built during the rule of Muhammad Rahimkhan II after the kurinyshkhana and mint were completed. It is located in the northern part of Kunya Ark. The yard is strongly elongated from the west to the east and built up with residential structures in the south consisting of a one-column couplet ayvan and one- or two-storey rooms behind it, the rooms adjoining the ayvan back wall with their long sides. The khan's residence is larger than the three rooms for his wives. Total dimensions are 33 x 62 m; yard: 14.5 x 50 m. The Mint was established during the rule of Muhammad Rahimkhan I. It was built together with the summer and winter mosques grouped around a small yard. Dimensions: total: 34 x 23 m; yard: 16 x 13 m; summer mosque: 7.4 x 13 m; winter mosque: 12.5 x 12.5 m; mint: 14 x 17 m.