In the East, the gates are not just an entrance, but the face of the whole dwelling, a symbol of the owner’s prosperity and hospitality. Traditionally, they were constructed first, even before walls or fences. From ancient times to the present day, the main purpose of the gate is to protect the home or fortress from unwelcome guests.
Khiva was no exception because, during the fortification of the city, the wall was built around it, and several gates were installed from different sides. Unfortunately, time did not spare them – all the gates were destroyed.
In the 1970s, a group of archaeologists and historians came forward with the initiative to restore the gate. Photographs dated XIX century were found and used to recreate the appearance and design of the gate.
One of them is Ata Darwaza, “Father’s Gate”. They met travelers from Samarkand and Bukhara, and caravans with goods, walking along the Great Silk Road, certainly passed through the western gates.
The name presumably has a rather simple origin: the gates was considered the main ones in the city. Hence, it received the proud title of “father” by analogy with the head of the family’s title. However, another version says that the name of the gates was given because of the Sher Muhammad-Ata Mosque, which was located nearby. Unfortunately, this attraction was destroyed, and it is no longer possible to answer the question about the name Ata Darwaza definitively. By its design and appearance, the gates are similar to northern and southern counterparts.
The gates were 10 meters long and 4 meters wide. Such a dimensions were needed to place essential points right at the entrance. Caravan cargoes were checked, and border-crossing fees were collected at the customs point, and coins could be exchanged for money from another khanate at the exchange point.
The construction of walls and towers on both sides of the gates was strengthened with bricks and reinforced with wooden beams. Above the gates, there were arched windows, from where it was possible to watch the events at the entrance to the city. The toothed edge of the wall continued above the gates to maintain the integrity of the fortress.
Today, the Ata Darwaza gates are the main entrance to the city and lead to the most exciting old Khiva objects, such as the Khan’s Palace and Kalta Minor. Centuries later, this landmark continues to embody both the hospitality and strength of the Khorezm Khanate.
Canaan Travel offers all guests and residents of sunny Uzbekistan to visit this place and enrich their vacation with a touch to the magical East’s extraordinary history. The ancient city of Khiva, recognized by UNESCO as world heritage, will open its arms to you and give you many inexpressible sensations.