"The Kukhna Ark (aka the Old Fortress)" Khiva Things to Do Tip by josephescu

Khiva Things to Do: 116 reviews and 392 photos

  The Kukhna Ark (aka the Old Fortress) in Khiva
by josephescu
 
  • The Kukhna Ark (aka the Old Fortress) in Khiva - Khiva
      The Kukhna Ark (aka the Old Fortress) in Khiva
    by josephescu
  • The Kukhna Ark (aka the Old Fortress) in Khiva - Khiva
      The Kukhna Ark (aka the Old Fortress) in Khiva
    by josephescu
  • The Kukhna Ark (aka the Old Fortress) in Khiva - Khiva
      The Kukhna Ark (aka the Old Fortress) in Khiva
    by josephescu
  • panoramic view over Khiva - Khiva
      panoramic view over Khiva
    by josephescu
  • panoramic view over Khiva - Khiva
      panoramic view over Khiva
    by josephescu
 

The Khans of Khiva had several residences during the century before Soviet rule, including the Tash Hauli of Allakuli Khan and Nurullabai Palace of Isfandiar, but the Kukhna Ark remains the original and has for centuries provided fortified refuge during times of uncertainty. The f oundations of the Ark date from the 5th century , but most of the complex was added to piecemeal in the 19th century by successive Khans.
Pass through the main entrance gate and turn right for the gorgeous tilework of the summer mosque (1838), where cools blues and whites flash in a concentrated burst of colour and floral arabesques spiral up side walls like creeping ivy. In the corner of this small courtyard lies the small mint which funded the expansionary exploits of Rakhim Khan I from 1806 ? 1825. Today, the mint holds a collection of coins, medals and silk banknotes, dense with dawning socialist suns, from the early Khorezm Republic and a mock-up of a blacksmith?s workshop where Khivan coins were minted.

Return from the mint to the main courtyard, original home of the offices of court advisers, and head west for the Kurinish Khana (or Thorne Room), where the Khan would grant public audiences, either in an open summer iwan or in a warm winter yurt set upon its circular brick platform. It was here that the Russian Captain Muraviev was finally granted a royal audience after 7 weeks of deliberation when his fate hung in the balance. The small court has beautiful ceiling decoration and geometric tilework, with a finely decorated mihrab in the room behind. It was here that the wooden thorne of the Khan, built in 1816 and guilded in silver, traditionally stood until it was carted off to the Armour Chamber of St Petersburg Hermitage Museum by the victorious Russians.

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  • Written Jul 6, 2008
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