Kunya Ark

Kunya Ark (means “old fortress”) – citadel, is located in inner city of Khiva, Ichan Kala, in Uzbekistan. Till overthrow of Khiva Khan by Bolsheviks in 1919, Kunya Ark is used as one of Khan’s residences. Existing now complex Kunya Ark was reconstructed at the beginning of XIX century.

Structure of the complex and its construction history

kunya ark in khivaKunya Ark connecting west wall of Ichan Kala with dwelling palace of hermit Ak-Sheyh Bobo. The construction of Kunya Ark was started in 1686 – 1688 by Arang Khas, son of Anush-Khan. At the end of XVIII Kunya Ark become (city in city) and was separated from Ichan Kala by high walls. Once upon a time fortress consisted of Khan’s secretary office, reception hall, harem, winter and summer mosque, monetary house and service rooms: stable house, storage rooms and master shops.

The square space near to Kunya Ark entrance was used for military parades and fight trainings. Here it was also special place for warrant of death and zindan (jail), next to east walls of Kunya Ark. The entrance was guarded. Only few buildings remained from former densely build up area: east gates with guards’ room, cells of Ok Shayh Bobo, kurinishhona – rooms for reception and registration of visitors, summer and winter mosques and harem.

Cells of Ok-Shayh Bobo – place of Ok–Sheyh Bobo, the sheyh, maser of sheyh Muhtar Vali, in the past used a watching spot and storage room for gunpowder.

The first building – Kurinishhona was constructed in 1686-1688 years by Arang Khan and destroyed in the middle of XVIII century during invasion if Persian. Modern building was reconstructed in 1804-1806 by Iltuzar Khan. The ayvan of kurinishhona was covered by majolica during Allah Kuli Khan period. Kurinishhona consists of few rooms: open yard, ayvan, hall with throne and rooms on sides at the west part of the yard (Khan’s treasury, store room for handprints and rest room). In the center of the yard there is a round eminence, place for yurt, where Khan hosted nomadic neighbors. Khans throne stood next to south wall of the throne hall, now this throne is in Moscow. It was made of wood and covered with plates of silver with thin carvings, made in 1826 by Khiva master Muhammad.

The Harem in Kunya Ark was build up during Muhammad Rahim Khan II. It is located in north part of Kunya Ark. The yard last from west to east with living rooms – single columned ayvans with 1 and 2 stored rooms beyond them. Total area of harem: 33x62m, yard: 14.5x50m

Monetary house was equipped during Muhammad Rahim Khan I. It was build together with winter and summer mosques. Dimensions: total 34x23m; yard:16x13m; summer mosque: 74x13m; winter mosque: 12.5×12.5; monetary house 14x17m.