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Kunya Ark Citadel

Kunya-Ark (translated as “old fortress”) was the Khan’s internal citadel of Ichan-Kala.

The construction of Kunya-Ark was begun in 1686-1688, and the Ark became “a city in a city” at the end of the XVIII century, separated from Ichan-Kala by a high wall. The fortress consisted of the Khan’s office, a reception hall, the harem, a winter and summer mosque, a mint and subsidiary premises; such as stables, warehouses and workshops.
The premises of the Kunya-Ark fortress were grouped round the court yards, and the court yards were connected with a system of corridors. The entrance to the fortress was decorated with a gate resembling the Palvan-Darvaza. The towers were earlier topped by lanterns with turrets connecting them to the fortifications. In the first small court yard, adjoining the gate, ambassadors waited to be received by the Khan. Seven guns with gun carriages were located in the second court yard, and in the third the Khan’s council gathered. The largest court yard was entered through a corridor - kurinishkhona, where a yurt was established in the centre on a round platform, where the Khan sat and received his guests.
The door in a northwest corner of kurinishkhona (opposite to the entrance) opened through the corridor and led to the harem and the Ak-sheikh-bobo hill, where the powder magazine and patrol service were located.
The mosque and reception room (1825-1842) are still today adorned with ay-vans, with wooden columns and walls with majolica facings.
The square near the entrance in Kunya-Ark was used for military parades and training for battles. There was also a special place for executions and zindan (prison), adjoining the Kunya-Ark east walls.
The complexity of the Kunya-Ark, still exists today, and was restored at the beginning of the XIX century.

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