Tosh hovil Palace - The museum of the Handicraft of Khorezm

The Palace is located in the eastern part of Khiva and was built by Allah Kuli Khan. Construction of the palace took about eight years from 1830 till 1838. First, harem living quarters - was built, then the mikhmankhana - a place for official receptions followed, and the last to be erected was the arzkhona, the courtroom. Munis wrote a story telling that the best architect of those times was impaled because he refused to finish the construction within two years. It took Usta Kalandar Khivaqi another 8 years to complete the palace after that. One can get to the spacious harem yard through a small tambour. The yard is a rectangle elongated from the west to the east. Its southern side is occupied with small ayvans four of which were given to the khan's wives (according to Shariat, a man could not have more than four wives) while the fifth, eastern and more richly decorated ayvan served as the living residence for the Khan himself. There is a living room (saray) in every ayvan with a room for servants provided. The rest of the yard territory is divided into two floors and belonged to the khan's relatives and the servants. The harem is organized in accordance with the traditional design of the women's half (ichan-khauli) of an old Khorezm manor. Some features of a defensive fortress can also be found in the complicated design of the palace, as if reflecting secluded character of the harem inhabitants. At the second stage of the construction, the mikhmankhana (ishrat khauli) was built. One can get to it from the harem passing a long corridor and small auxiliary structures. A square yard with a round sufa for the yurt is completely surrounded by rooms and ayvans. The southern ayvan where the court ceremonies and reception of envoys took place occupies the prime place in the yard. The majolica-decorated mikhmankhana ayvans with bright painted ceilings and small towers on the sides resemble a theatre interior full of ceremonial character and solemnity. The arzkhana (courtroom) is located in the southwestern part of Tash Khauli. It is twice as large as the mikhmankhana. The reason is that two gates in the western wall were erected as a single complex as well as yards with angular passages and auxiliary rooms. Like the mikhmankhana, the arzkhana is decorated with majolica tiles. The work had been done by a famous craftsman Abdullah the Genius, who got this nickname for his magic art. This craftsman decorated all yards of Tash Khauli. The period of Allah Kuli Khan is characterized with the khan's strong power, successful international policy, and progress in trade with Russia. As a result, it became possible to give the building a richer decoration. The residential palace of Allah Kuli Khan, one of Khiva khans, is the most out-standing architectural object of the 19th century. Little restoration work did not alter its peculiar character, and it is duly considered to be a museum of Khiva's monumental architecture of those times. Dimensions: total: 80 x 80 m; harem: 80 x 42 m; harem yard: 49 x 15 m; mikhmankhana: 43 x 36.5 m; arzkhana: 35 x 40 m.