Khiva unites two cities: internal defensive circle Ichan-kala and external – Dishan Kala. Each stands apart from each other.
If Ichan-kala was preserved fully, only three gates – Kosh-Darvoza, Gandimyan-darvoza and Hazarasp-Darvoza from the Dishan-Kala reached our times.
Dishan-kala was constructed within three years in line with the order of Allakuli-khan in the middle of the 19th century. During that time, Turkmen tribes regularly attacked the city.
Each of 200,000 people of khan each year should work at construction site for free within 12 days. Three years were spent to construct of the walls with the length of 6,000 meters, height of 8 meters and thickness of 6 meters. It was record for those times.
Saman (adobe) was main construction material. Bricks were produced from clay and they were dried in the sun. Almost all habitations were built from such material. Over the time, bricks dilapidated and became worthless. People dismantled them and produced new bricks from them and dried them in the sun. You could say it was a panacea for urban development.
Cogged railings with small loopholes were installed on top of the walls as on the walls of Ichan-kala. Loopholes were used to shoot from arrows and other weapons. Massive defensive towers were installed in equal distance. Moat provided additional defense. The city gates were locked at nightfall.
As the gates carried out important defensive function, the viewing galleries are located over them. Shock towers were on both sides of arch-shape passage. Security squads were always in state of combat readiness.
Dishan-Kala had ten gates in total. Frequently, they were named in honour of location or mahalla near the gates. For example, eastern gate Pishkanik received named of local village. Western gate Shahimardan was named after the cemetery.
Despite that open-air museum Ichan-kala attracts attention of tourists, there are ancient architectural monuments in the territory of Dishan-kala.