Execution square, with gallows in front of Feruz khan madrassahExecution square, with gallows in front of Feruz khan madrassah
In the days of the Khans, life was cheap and executions were plentiful. The grisly killings were first carried out beside the Palvan Gate but the execution site was later moved to the large square between the Kunya Ark and the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassah. Every time an execution took place a drum summoned a crowd of excited onlookers who were eager to view the horrific and brutal deaths. In 1863 the traveller Vambery writes of the unbelievable cruelty inflicted by Feruz Khan's father, Amin Rakhim Khan, while in 1875 Burnaby remarks on the presence of gallows alongside a sunken bowl in the ground to catch the blood from throat-slitting.
The square was also the place where the Khan would greet his returning bands of soldiers after their skirmishes with various Turkoman tribes. Vambery recounts his revulsion at the gruesome gifts the warring bands threw at the feet of their Khan as proof of their victory.
Today the square is the venue for special concerts at national festivals such as Navrus and the 2500 year Jubilee Show in 1997. Next door to the south is the first Russian building to be erected in Khiva by a trader selling Singer sewing machines.