Ichan-Kala (an inside fortress) is a centre of old Khiva. It is extant perfectly well medieval city with narrow streets, with a chaotic development. Not for nothing Ichan-Kala is called an outdoor museum. Even now a spirit of passing centuries is hovering there, the same as hundred years ago, people are hurry for shopping, craftsmen work in their workshops, and children play in the streets. Minarets rise imperially above antique madrasahs and mosques. Museums are inside ex-palaces of Khiva khans now. Many antique houses are transformed to private hotels and guest houses, antique madrasahs are reshaped partly to museums, hotels, art-cafes and restaurants.
Ichan-Kala is surrounded into the whole 2500 meters perimeter by an impregnable fortified wall with a height about 10 meters and thickness in the bottom about 6 meters. Round defensive towers with battlements and gun slots for soldiers are built via each 30 meters of the wall. The entrance is possible from one of four gates. Three gates are remained to the present day (Tash-darvaza, Bakhcha-darvaza, Palvan-darvaza). The gates were also equipped by towers and inspection defensive galleries. The beginning of building the fortress covers XVI century. In that time the fortress was surrounded in the whole perimeter by a deep fosse filled by water. Wonderfully, but in that time the building was with a special plan.
A main street went through the whole fortress along the central axis from the western gates (Ata-darvaza) to the eastern ones (Palvan-darvaza). Kunya-Ark (an old citadel) was to the left of gates, where the khan’s palace was located. Mukhammad Amin-khan’s madrassah was to the right (now there is a hotel).
A majestic and the most beautiful in Uzbekistan minaret Kalta-Minar flanks to the madrassah, the minaret was built in 1855. Closer to the center of the city there is Mukhammad Rakhim khan’s II madrassah, built in 1876. The madrassah is one of the biggest and most beautiful one in Khiva. Closer to the eastern gates to the left of a central street there is a vast palace Tash Khauli of XIX century, Alla-Kuli-khan’s madrassah, where the urban library was located. There is Friday mosque (Juma-mosque) with original construction in the center of Ichan-Kala.
Southward of the center there is Said Allauddin’s mausoleum, a wonderful Pakhlavan Makhmud’s mausoleum, Shergazi-khan’s madrassah, Islam Khoja minaret and mosque. A huge market, covered by domes and galleries, is located in the north-eastern part of Ichan-Kala. There are 60 landmarks and more 400 traditional residential and living buildings in Ichan-Kala. In 1969 Inside city Ichan-Kala was given a historical-architectural reserve status, and since 1990 it has been announced as the object of World cultural heritage of UNESCO.