The old fortress ("Kuhna ark") in western part of the city was once the heart of the city and served as a residence of Khiva rulers. Construction of the fortress began in the late 17th century by Arang Khan during the reign of the dynasty of Sheibanids. Subsequently, by the end of the 18th century this part of the city turned itself into a kind of small town. The Citadel was equipped with everything to meet the needs of rulers, their inner circle and people on military or administrative service.
Inside the fortress, there was a large number of buildings, performing certain functions. For example, there were workshops, warehouses and stables, mosques, prison, etc. Activities, festivals, parades and military exercises took place here. Thus, life was active here no less than outside the Citadel. In the 18th century because of wars, Kunya Ark was badly damaged. In addition, today's appearance of the fortress, restored at early 19th century, differ from its earlier appearance. Nowadays on the territory of the Kunya Ark, there are only a few buildings out of the total number of ancient buildings. They are: the Eastern Gate to the fortress, the cell of Saint Hermit Ak-Sheikh-Bobo - clay Tower, rising above the defensive walls, reception room, two mosques - winter and summer, as well as a harem. However, even in the survived part of the Citadel, past greatness is felt.
Outside massive, of sandy color 10-meter-high battlements and towers of the Citadel make impression of grandeur and power. Carved doors, pillars, unimaginably made majolica facing inside the fortress-give a sense of artistic beauty and talk about mastery of local artists. Thus, we can say that the old Citadel is a combination of two beauties - external beauty, represented by its power, and internal - artistic beauty.