Information about city Khiva in Uzbekistan
Khiva - open air museum
In the plan, Khiva was a settlement of irregular outline, stretching from the west to the east and extending outwards on its eastern end. From the south to the north the distance between the extreme points of the contour of the walls of the outside Dishan-kala was about 2.5 kilometers in length and 2.5 kilometers in width. In the center of this territory was the inner town Ichan-kala with its location on the east. Its area was fifteen times less than the total area of the town square. The Ichan-kala, elevated over the suburbs, was constructed according to the ancient traditions of Central Asian town planning, as in many other towns (Bukhara, Paikend, Shakhrizabz). It was shaped in the form a right rectangle (650 by 400 meters), which stretched from the south to the north and was closed by the border of the town's defensive walls. The Ichan-kala was divided into four parts by the two intersecting arterial roads, which connected the four town gates located in the southern, northern, western and eastern walls.
The suburban streets of Central Asian towns usually corresponded to the historical transportation routes, which led to the other towns of the country. Thus, when the Dishan-kala was constructed in Khiva, these roads were preserved going through the gates, which were built into the town walls. To the east were the Khazarap (Koy-darvaza) and Pishkanik gates; to the south were Toza-bug and the Bagishamal gate, which were also called the Angarik (Yan-gi-arik) and Shikhlar (Shekhlar); the Shakhi-Mardan gate was on the west side; the Dash- (ayak, Gandimian, and the Qadailar gates, situated near town's area for paupers (Qadailar), led to the north, and lastly, the Kosh-darvaza double gates were on the northern road to Urgench. The Kosh-darvaza is still intact and is used today.
The walls of the Ichan-kala with a height seven or eight meters were made of rows of pakhsa and in the lower part they were made of large adobe-yolks. Along the perimeter of the Ichan-kala walls, massive round towers were constructed at approximately every thirty meters. The gates and walls of the Ichan-kala are examples of fortifications from the middle ages, which are yet preserved today. The Dishan-kala did not have the characteristic, outwardly protruding, radial-circled configuration, as Tashkent did, for example. The network of town blocks which surrounded the Ichan-kala, with their complex layout were oriented towards its walls and the arteries of roads and water canals, which cut through the town.
The inhabited areas of the Dishan-kala were concentrated at the lower part of the northern, eastern, and western facades of the Ichan-kala. The western part was covered with ploughed fields and gardens of the nobility. Only one large and full-flowing arik (small man-made canal), the Sirchali, went around the town from southwest to northeast with its branches on the territory of the Dishan-kala. From the north, the current of the Palvan-yab arik limited the outline of the Dishan-kala walls, and from the south the Zakkash canal bordered it. These water lines served as natural boarders of fortification for the inner circle of the town walls.