dishan kalaDishan Kala (in Uzbek: Dishan Qola) – is the name in historical of “external city” of Khiva.
In Khiva City existed traditional division into 2 separate parts: “inner city” (shahristan) – Ichan Kala (inner defensive circle) and outer city (rabad) – Dishan Kala (outer defensive circle). Unlike to Ichan Kala, which remained its appearance almost complete, from outer defense walls remained only gates, in particular Kosh Daravaza gates, 500m from North gates of Ichan Kala(Bagcha Darvaza), and also Khazarasp Darvaza and Gandimyan Darvaza. Allah Kuli Khan erected outer defensive wall in 1842 for protection from raids of Yamuds (one of Turkmen tribes).

As per notes of poet and translator Agahi, Allah Kuli Khan constructed walls of Dishan Kala in 3 years, making his people to work 12 days in a year for free of charge. More then 200 thousand people take part in construction. Dimensions of external wall were are per below: length – 5650m, height – 6-8m, width in base 4-6m. It is interesting from where so many clay was taken. Researches showed that clay was taken from 2 km north of Khiva city, the territory so called Govuk Kul; now there is a big lake. Even now, like in past times, the clay of perfect quality is used by potters. Legend says that when Prophet Muhammad constructed the Medina, they used clay from this area and the lake founded there later, taken as a holy.

Construction and functional aims of Dishan Kala

Defensive ramparts of inner and outer circles made from saman (sun-dried bricks 40x40x10sm). In certain intervals, in the walls there were erected defensive towers, overhanging wall edges. In the top of the walls there were narrow spot for gun shooting during the siege. In defensive system, there were dike filled with water. Khiva gates closed for night.

Khiva city walls were also the part of defensive system. In the example of remained Khiva gates we can see that they have towers located at both sides of arch spaces, and at the top of gates there are also watch spots. The passages beyond the arches of the Dishan Kala gates, in city direction, were covered by arched roof (Koy Darvaza) or, if the corridor was too long, covered with few domes. At the side of corridors leading to city, were located rooms, where lived soldiers, situated customs office, judges and sometimes a jail.

In eastern cities, gates and entrances to public buildings, as well as private houses always played big importance. The more impressive they are, the more respect and recognition has city, building and its author.

That’s why Dishan Kala  gates were and still are important part of Khiva city design. Gates decorated with beautiful, colorful glazed tiles and with words from Koran. Sometimes on the gates they wrote text like for example good bless Khan or fragments from poems.

Gates of Dishan Kala

Wall of Dishan Kala had 10 gates:

  1. Khazarasp – Darvaza (gates) located in north-east part of the city. Through this lies the road to Yangiarik, Hanka and Khazorasp
  2. Pishkanik located at the east and took its name from nearby located village. They were also called Kumyaska, because of the residential settlement under same name.
  3. Angarik was located at the west and also took its name from nearby located village. The road lied through this gate leaded to Bagishamal, the summer residence of Allah Kuli Khan.
  4. Shihlar, south gates, called so in respect of neighborhood lived there. Before the soviet establishment, all money from this gate delivered to mausoleum of Pahlavan Makhmood.
  5. Tozabag, south-west gates. Road lied through this gate leaded to another summer residence of (Feruz) Mukhammad Rakhimkhan.
  6. Shahimardan, west gate, took its name from cemetery Shahimardan.
  7. Dashyak, north-west gate, called in respect of neighboring village.
  8. Kosh-Darvaza, north gate, called so because they are dual. It is called also Urgench gate, because road to Urgench lied through it.
  9. Gadaylar, north gate, called in respect of neighborhood
  10. Gandimyan, north gate, called in respect of nearby village.

Gandimyan Gate (1842—1970)

Called in respect of nearby village, where in 1873 was signed Gandimyan pact, which made Khiva Khanate the part of Russian empire. Khiva gates were destroyed and built ginnery. The Gandimyan gate was fully reconstructed in 1970 from old photos and drafts.

Khazorasp Gate was rebuilt in 1842 from burnt brick during construction of walls of Dishan Kala during ruling of Allah Kuli Khan. Gate consists of 2 towers located in both sides, with wide passage way between and with watch spots at the top, on the way to Yangiarik. Above the passage located arched gallery with handrails on the sides, the top of them decorated with castellation. Even though, this is the only one decorative detail of the gate, construction impresses with its impressiveness of forms. Gates are connecting Khiva with communities Yangiarik, Bagat, Khanki and Khozarasp. Dimensions: according to plan 23.5×6.5m, height: 12.2m

Kosh – Darvaza (1912)

North gates of Dishan Kala on the way to Urgench, build at the beginning of 20th century. Façade has 3 cylindrical towers, with 2 arched passages between them and traditional galleries with castellation. Service rooms are located on both sides of passage. Main facade of gate decorated with mosaic on the towers. Small cupolas of towers decorated with blue blocks. Deminsions: according to plan: 25x17m; height: 9.45m.