The eastern gate of Ichan-Kala also used as trade stalls. The gate looks like "dash kucha" (a stone corridor). The structure is stretched from west to east, the facades are shaped as arch portals, with six domes blocking the passageway and side arches accommodating trading stalls, two on each side. At the entrance, from the side of Ichan-Kala, there is an inscription reading "Shakhri Khiva" (Khiva city), where letters stand for figures giving the construction date as 1221, i.e. 1806 AD. This is the oldest part of the building, which is connected with Anushakhan's bath-house and blocked with two small domes. The
gate was finished by Allakulykhan in 1835. To the right of the gate at the exit from Ichan-Kala there used to be a slave market until 1873 and niches inside the
gate were where fugitive and rebellious slaves were awaiting their lot. To the right of the gate at the exit from Ichan-Kala there used to be a slave market down to1873 and niches inside the gate were where fugitive and rebellious slaves were awaiting their lot. There were also usages to read the Khan's farmans (decrees) and punished criminals at front at this gate. Hence the name for the
gate, which, among ordinary people, were known as Pashshab darvaza (the Executioners' Gate), Kul darvaza (the Slaves Gate). Size: on the plan - 51.76 x 17.5 meters; big domes 5.2 m. in diameter; two smaller domes - 4.5 m.; stalls - 2.8 x 4.4 m.
The municipal walls are a rare example of medieval fortifications that lasted till the present; they also give the city the air of majesty. The city of Khiva
was surrounded by two walls - Ichan-Kala and Dishan-Kala, which makes it different from other places. Ichan-Kala foundation was built between 5th and 4th century BC rising over the level of
Dishan-Kala, probably due to the natural relief (according to the legends, the city was founded on a sand hill) The municipal walls made of adobe bricks (40x40x10 cm) were rebuilt several times in the course of centuries.
Ichan-Kala wall is 8 till 10 meters high, 6 till 8 meters wide and 2250 meters long. There are massive round defensive towers protruding out of
Ichan-Kala walls at the interval of 30 meters. The top of the walls and towers is lined with toothed parapet with slit loopholes to fight off attackers during a siege. The system of defensive fortifications included water-filled ditches; even now traces of those ditches can be noticed in the micro-relief in the south area while asphalt streets cover former ditches in the north and west.
Dishan-Kala walls were erected by Allah Kuli Khan in 1842. One might wonder where they got so much clay for the construction. The research revealed that clay was mined two kilometers north of the city in the territory, which is now called Ghovuk Kul; as the name says, there is a big lake there now. Since long ago local clay was thought to be of very high quality, and modern potters still use it. The legends say that when
Prophet Muhammad built the town of Medina, clay from these parts was used, and the lake, which appeared later, is considered sacred.
The municipal gate was also a part of the town defense system. It has a special design suitable for guards who stood their duty protecting the town, which is prominently expressed in its construction: on both sides of the arched driveway are "terror-inflicting" towers, a watching gallery is built over the gate. The drive-way is covered either with an arched roof (Koy-Darvaza) or, if the passage is too long, with several domes. There are domed rooms on each side of the passage, which housed sentries, customs, courthouse and sometimes a prison.
In Oriental cities, the gates and entrances to public buildings and private houses were given great importance: the more impressive were the looks, the more grandeur and respect had a city, a building or its creator. In the course of time, however, defensive function of the gates grew less important, and gates became a part of city design. The gates were decorated with beautiful colored glazed tiles and oyats from the Koran, some gates displayed texts praising Khans and, some-times, extracts from their poems. Some gates turned into shopping malls with time.
There are four gates in Ichan-Kala: Ata-Darvaza, Palvan-Darvaza, Tash-Darvaza and
Dishan-Kala had ten gates but only three of them exist now.
Let's have a look at the names of Dishan-Kala gates:
1. Khazarasp-Darvaza is in the northeastern part of the city. The road to Yangiaryk, Khanka and Khazarasp went through that gate.
2. Pishkanik was located in the east and got its name from a nearby village. It was also called Kumyaska because of Kumyaska makhallya (living
quarter) adjacent to the gate on the inside.
3. Angarik was located in the west and got its name, too, from the
The road, which is going through that gate leads to Baghishamal -
Allah Kuli Khan's summer residence.
4. Shikhlar, the southern gate named after the adjacent makhallya. Before the Khorezm People's Republic was created, all income from that gate was forwarded to Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum.
5. Tozabag, the southwestern gate, with the road to Muhammad Rakhimkhan's II summer residence (Feruz) going through it.
6. Shakhimardan, the western gate that got its name from Shakhimardon cemetery.
7. Dashyak, the northwestern gate called after a nearby village.
8. Kosh-Darvaza, the north gate called so because they are double (kosha). People also call it Urgench gate because the road leading to Urgench passes through it.
9. Gadaylar, the north gate, which got its name from the adjacent makhallya.
10. Gandimyan, the north gate named after a nearby village.
All gates were locked over night. The town gates played an important part in the life of every medieval town and gave each town unique appearance, important social and public facilities tended to grow next to the gates since long ago.