Dishan-Kala (Khiva’s ‘Outer Fortress’) has a number of remarkable monuments. One of them is Nurullabay’s Palace, whose foundations were laid by Muhammad Rakhimbay II in 1906. The construction of the palace was completed in 1912. The palace complex has a few courtyards and gardens, a special chamber arz-khona where the ruler rendered justice, ceremonial and living chambers, and a reception hall. By tradition, the palace was surrounded by a strong defense wall with a lot of semicircular guldasta-turrets. The length of the wall is over 650 meters. Adjacent to the palace, there is also a madrassah. The main building is surrounded by two-story gallery of chambers with ayvan terraces.
It is known that the walls of the palace were constructed by Khiva’s mason Kuryaz Babajanov, whereas master Khudaybergen Hajji, famed for his construction of Islam-Hajji Minaret, decorated the walls with patterns in glazed bricks. Masters Nurmat and Ruzmet Masharipovs and Babajan Kalandarov made the gunch stucco carvings and paintings in the ceremonial interior spaces. The peculiar colours of sumptuous frescoes, with their rich gilt and red and deep-green specks, in the octahedral hall and other chambers of the palace differ markedly from Khiva’s traditional austere paintings in blue, white and pale blue. Masters Ata Shikhov and Ismail Abdiniyazov made the ayvan wooden pillars supporting the ayvan overhead covers and carved stone bases for these pillars.
Separate from the main building stands the house of official receptions – Khan Asfandiyar’s office. Not only the best Khiva’s craftsmen were involved in decoration of the interior of the palace but Russian and German interior decorators as well. The latter introduced some European modernism elements into the decoration. Thus, in the ceremonial halls there appeared fireplaces covered with glazed tiles, Venetian mirrors and gilded bronze chandeliers with crystal pendants. Especially notable in this respect is the then-fashionable marble fireplace in Asfandiyar’s reception chamber. It is decorated with Ionic columns, meandering pattern and an iron wrought grate. The frescoes and stucco moldings on the ceiling in one of the halls are made in the manner of the Western style typical for that period.