Kunya-Ark in Khiva

Kunya-Ark ("Old fortress") is the inner citadel of Ichan-Qala. It was founded in the 17th century by Muhammad-Erenk khan (1687-1688). Kunya-Ark had formed "city inside the city" separated by a high wall by the end of the 18th century. There were khan's mosque, residence, supreme court, reception (kurinysh-khan), powder mill, arsenal, mint, registry, harem, kitchens, stables, guardhouse and others.

 The original building of khan's reception (kurinysh-khana), constructed by Muhammad-Erenk was destroyed in the middle 18th century when Iranian troops invaded the khanate. Today's structures were built in 1804-1806 by lltezer-khan (1804-1806).

The throne room with two-column aivan occupies the southern part of kurinysh-khanas. The yurt before which khan was sitting during receptions was in the center of this room. Khan's throne was set in the niche of the southern wall. Khan's treasury and depository of manuscripts were located in the western part of kurinysh-khana. The doors of throne room were decorated with carved ganch, and ceiling-with polychromic painting. Famous aivan is faced with blue-white majolica of magnificent ornament. The stone base of the column keeps the lines of Khorezm historian and poet Ogahi.

The northwest corner of kurinysh-khana has the exit and corridor going to harem on the hill of Ak-Sheikh-bobo. This is the highest point of Kunya-Ark which served a lookout tower. 

The legends say that a cell of saint Ak-Sheikh-bobo was located here in the 14th century. Khan's harem was located under the hill and consisted of one-column aivan and several two-storied premises. Mint and khan's mosque were located between harem and kurinysh-khana.

 The mint was founded at Muhammad-Rahim-khan I (1806-1825) who did tax reform, established customs houses and started gold coins minting. The mosque was constructed at Allakuli-khan (1825-1842) to the south of the mint. While the winter hall of mosque has very simple decor, its summer part looks very exquisite. Its aivan with two rows of columns is painted in dark blue, green and red colors. Its walls, mihrab and minbar as well as small towers at edges are entirely faced with majolica of exquisite vegetative pattern.