Khiva must have been one tough place in centuries past when it was a town on the Silk Road and a slave trading center. Inside the walled city is this walled enclave, the Khan’s home or Kunya Ark (Old Fortress). Outside this gate, in the vast public square, executions and other public punishments took place. Beyond the door I stepped into an opulent past, an inner living museum to the outer living museum that is the walled city itself. The Kunya Ark is preserved much as it looked in the 1680s when it was built. Inside is a throne room, the mosque where the khan prayed, a harem, a lookout tower and more. Preservation of this site made it easy for me to imagine what life was like more than three hundred years ago in this city on the edge of the Karakum and Kyzylkm Deserts.