Khiva marked its 2,500th anniversary in 1997. It is one of the ancient Central Asian cities. Its Ichan-kala fortress was included to UNESCO World Heritage List.
Kunya-Ark Fortress is the heart of Ichan-kala. Its name is translated as Old Fortress. The khan lived and ruled behind strong walls of eastern citadel. It had everything for a carefree life and work, as well as entertainment. Court circle and army also lived here along with the family of khan. All major cities had similar buildings.
Since the end of the 18th century, it had been reliably protected city within the city. Its construction was started in 1686-1688 during rule of Sheibanids dynasty. Construction works were completed in the second half of the 19th century. It was time of construction boom. Buildings, destroyed by the Iranian troops in the 18th century, were restored and reconstructed. Several buildings only left from khan residence. For example, premises for military guard and harem.
Military drills and solemn parades were held in the square near Kunya-Ark fortress. Public executions were also held here. Zindan (jail) was near the wall of Kunya-Ark. Tourists can see interior of the jail chambers and mannequins of the prisoners.
Stables, shops, warehouses and guards’ rooms were located in the left side of the fortress gates. In special courtyard, khan received representatives of foreign embassies.
Muhammad Rahim-khan ordered to construct harem in the fortress. After tax reforms, the mint was also constructed. Currently, the museum is operating in the mint, which demonstrates coins, silk and paper banknotes, circulated in Khiva Khanate. By the way, paper banknotes were luxury due to weather conditions.
It is remarkable that coinage masters had no breads despite the fact that it was considered improper. During coinage, gold dust accumulated on beard and the masters could easily take them away. In order not to lose any gram of gold, the masters should shave their beards.