Itchan-Kala: Open-air Museum
What is Itchan-Kala? In ancient Khiva, as well as other eastern cities, was divided into three parts: the fortress – Kunya-Ark, suburb – Dishan-Kala and the city – Itchan-Kala.
Today Itchan-Kala (Ichan Kala) is open-air museum. It is the old part of the city, surrounded with wall and turned into the State Historical Archaeological Museum. Here on the vast territory of 26 hectares the exotic image of the eastern city has been preserved. But the most striking is that Itchan-Kala is not a frozen museum city. It is a home for 300 families, mostly engaged in crafts.
The clay wall (more than 2 km long, up to 10 m and 5-6 m at thickness) that surrounds the city of Itchan-Kala, has four gates – on each corner of the earth. Western Gate – Ata Darwaza. Gate Bagci leads to Urgench, the former capital of Khorezm, Gate Palvan open the way to the Amu Darya and then in an easterly direction, and the gate “Tash” – in a southerly direction.
In Itchan-Kala there are about 60 historic buildings. Here one can see such unique monuments of history, as the citadel complex Kunya-Ark, the complex of Tash Hauli Palace, the minaret of Caltha Minor that is completely covered with glazed tiles, famous Juma Mosque with its 213 carved pillars, a symbol of Khiva Islam-Khoja minaret, etc.