Like many other cities of Central Asia Khiva also had two cities: inner (Ichan Kala) and outer (Dishan Kala). The Dishan Kala and nearly all its monuments have been destroyed in 1873 by Russian Tsarist soldiers but fortunately the inner city could preserve practically every single construction.
Ichan-Kala - the historical inner city of Khiva in Uzbekistan surrounded by high city walls, which became the first monument of the World Heritage in Central Asia (1990). The fortified structures and palaces, mosques and madrasahs, mausoleums and minarets, caravansarai and bath-houses turned Ichan-Kalu into a unique city-monument erected over the centuries (the most ancient architectural monuments date back to the XIV century). In 1968 Khiva officially became a city museum.
The city has some 250 monuments which are protected by the state. All 65 madrasas, palaces, 79 mosques, minarets and mausoelums make the city a fantastic place to discover. Khiva is the only city of Central Asia which could preserve nearly all of its precious monuments and due to that this city is a MUST to Visit in Uzbekistan. One can get into the city through its four gats:: North Gate (Bagcha-Darvaza), South (Tash-Darvaza), East (Palvan-Darvaza), West ( Ata-Darvaza).
The Ichan-Kala –inner city of Ichan-Kala, occupies about 26 hectares of territory. The citadel is densely built up, so the sights of Khiva are located compactly, in a small area, bounded by city walls. Most visitors enter the city through the Western Gate (Ata-Darvaza) where travelers buy the entrance tickets. Moreover, most of the most important monuments of the city is located in this part of the city. To the right of the gate there is the Madrasah of Muhammad Amin Khan with magnificent minaret of Kalta-Minar. All the other most interesting places of visit are also located not far from the gate.
Walking in the streets of the citadel takes the travelers back to the history, to the period of caravans, to the period of wars and endless constructions. Enjoying sunrise or sunset from the city walls early in the morning or late in the evening can be another good completion to majestic architectural heritage of Khiva.