The Khans of Khiva had several residences during the time before soviet rule, but the Kukhna Ark, or old fortress, remains the original and has for centuries provided fortified refuge during times of uncertainty. The foundations of the Ark date from the 5th century but most of the complex was added piecemeal in the 19th century by successive khans. Of interest just through the main gate is the lovely blue and white tile work of the summer mosque and to the west of the main courtyard, the throne room, where the khan would grant his public audience. Just outside the main gates lies the most recent city jail, equipped with manacles, flails and a number of pictures to heighten your imagination. Overall, one of the top sights in Khiva and a place not to be missed.
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