Visit Guide to Khiva Kuhna Ark Fortress

Kunya Ark (means “old fortress”) – citadel; is located in the inner city of Khiva, Ichan-Kala, in modern Uzbekistan. Until the overthrow of the Khiva Khan by the Bolsheviks in 1920, Kunya Ark served as one of the khan’s residences. The Kunya Ark complex that exists today was restored at the beginning of the 19th century.

Getting There

Located in the center of Ichan-Kala, All types of transport are available to get to Khiva, Ichan-Kala. The International Airport is located in Urgench. From Urgench to Khiva 30 km. There are buses, trolleybus, minibuses and taxis.

What to Expect

Among the many historical sights of the inner city of Khiva – Ichan-Kala, the residence of the Khiva khans – the Kunya-Ark Fortress, erected at the end of the 17th century – deserves special attention.

Upon completion of the citadel construction in 1688, Kunya-Ark turned out to be a kind of “fortress in a fortress”, separated from Ichan-Kala by a high clay wall. The winter and summer mosques, the reception hall, the premises of the female unit (harem), the mint, stables, workshops, living rooms, etc. were located here.

Military parades and training battles were held on the square of the fortress, there was also a prison (zindan) with a place for the execution of sentences.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the citadel was restored tiles and majolica, which, as in 1855, are still as bright and lively. There are no more such towers in the world.


Kunya-ark – “fortress in a fortress” – the citadel of the Khiva khans. The construction of Kunya-Ark began in 1686-1688. At the end of the 18th century, Kunya-Ark became a “city within a city” and was separated from Ichan-Kala by a high wall. Once the fortress consisted of the khan’s office, a reception hall, a harem, a winter and summer mosque, a mint and ancillary premises – stables, warehouses, workshops, etc.

The Kunya-Ark complex that exists today was restored at the beginning of the 19th century. Only a few buildings remained from the once densely built-up territory of the Kunya-Ark fortress: the eastern gate with a room for guards; cell of Ak-Sheikh-Bobo; kurinishhona – a room for the reception and registration of people; summer and winter mosques and harem.