Kunya-Ark (“Old fortress”) is the inner citadel of Ichan-Qala with an area of 1.2 hectares. It was founded in the late 17th century by Muhammad-Erenek-khan (1687-1688), who was grandson of Abu-l-Ghazi-khan, when there was an urgent need in setting up an administrative center for the Khan’s power. A century later, Kunya-Ark was already a “city within a city”, separated from Ichan-Qala by a high wall. There were: Khan’s mosque, a residence, supreme court, waiting room (kurinysh-khana), powder factory, arsenal, mint, registry, harem, kitchens, stables, guardhouse and other buildings. The citadel was connected with Ichan-Qala through the eastern fortress gates, flanked by cylindrical towers. Inside the gates there is a wide open courtyard with kurinysh-khana on the west side. The original building of kurinysh-khana was destroyed in the middle of the 18th century, when Iranian troops invaded the Khanate.
Today’s constructions were built by Iltuzar-khan (1804-1806) and represent a palace with many rooms for the audiences. In its northern part there is the court with Khan’s yurt, before which the khan was sitting during official receptions. The southern side of the court is delimited by aivan, lined with blue, white and dark blue majolica. On the stone base of one of its pillars there are carved poems by Khorezmian historian and poet Agahi. Ornamented carved doors lead from the aivan to the throne room, whose walls are decorated with carved ganch and the ceiling is filled with paintings. Khan’s throne was put into a niche on the southern wall. The throne was made of wood in 1816 and covered with thin sheet silver. After the Russian conquest of Khiva in 1873 the throne was taken to Moscow. It is preserved in the Kremlin Armory, and Kunya-Ark has a copy. In the western part of kurinysh-khana there was a treasury and depository of manuscripts.