Have you ever heard of a the place called Khiva? Well, this mystical place in Uzbekistan, is an ancient city, where parts of it date back to the 10th century and others to the 6th century. Wars have always involved the city in the struggle for power, from the Arabs, through Genghis Khan, Amir Timur and finally the Soviets.
The relaxed atmosphere there is unforgettable. The old city of Khiva is extremely scenic, with carefully renovated mud-brick structures and can be divided into two parts: Itchan Kala (inside the walls) and Dichan Kala (outside the walls),overwhelming majority of the resident population.
Itchan Kala, on the other hand, is an open-air museum with few permanent inhabitants, but is full of restored historical buildings and where Islamic architecture has changed little since medieval times.
The location may be inconvenient for tourists, but it was strategic for merchants in the past and was an essential part of the Silk Road. Once synonymous with the slave trade and barbarism, Khiva today is a relaxing place of narrow streets with mud walls and bright blue mosaics.
If you visit this city in one day, two days or a week, you will not get bored because there is a lot to see and entertainment in Khiva. It is also a completely different city when the sun goes down. Despite its incomparable beauty and the fact that it is part of the UNESCO world heritage list, few people still come here.
And many of those who do come are also quickly gone, without looking back. Yet, if you stay long enough, you will observe these small towns, follow the quiet rhythm of the day, of the people who live there and learn how they live.
If you start your trip in Tashkent and head north, Khiva will be the last stop on your Uzbekistan tour. The fact that it is not yet very easy to reach allows you to be isolated from the tourist masses that already fill cities like Bukhara and Samarkand.
But like everything in the desert, nothing is permanent except the merciless sun. So visit Khiva on your next trip to Uzbekistan. And, if you don’t know what to do or what to visit in Khiva, don’t worry! In this article, we’ve given you 2 things to do and visit in this magical city.
You’ll find plenty to see in Khiva: from ancient mosques to impressive glittering tile watchtowers, from handicrafts to dazzling minarets and madrasas, from distinctive alleyways to earthen walls, the city of Khiva is a beautiful place to visit.
There are four entrances to the old city, but the official entrance is to the west. This is where you can buy a ticket (valid for two days) to visit most of the museums and buildings in the old city.
The Kuhna Fortress or Kunya Arch was the residence of the ruler of Khiva. It dates from the fifth century and had various functions: mosque, barracks, harem, rooms for the royalty and even a kind of central bank, where the currency was issued.
Accessible through the Kuhna Arch, the Watchtower is one of the two best places in Khiva to watch the sunset. It is a popular spot and it is advisable to go just before sunset to ensure a decent seat.
After admiring the beautiful tile work and ceiling design of the mosque, climb the steep stairs to enjoy the view of Khiva and the city wall.
Kalta Minor Minaret
The Kalta Minor Minaret is not only a symbol of Khiva, but also of Uzbekistan. Although it appears to be finished, it was actually designed to be the base of the highest structure in Uzbekistan, to allow a view from the top, perhaps, as far as Bukhara.
Around 1850, Amin Khan wanted to build the highest and most beautiful minaret in Central Asia. Construction began, but when the minaret reached only 26 meters high, Amin Khan was murdered.
There are many stories about why the work was not completed. The ruler would have hired an architect to build the highest minaret in the region, but he already had an agreement with the Bukhara clan and wanted to build an even higher minaret there. Amin Khan reportedly discovered the plan and planned to kill the architect as soon as the minaret was completed, but he escaped in the middle of the construction.
The colorful tiles of Khiva’s blue minaret, Kalta Minor, make it one of the highlights of many visitors’ trips to Uzbekistan. The minaret of Kalta is really beautiful, especially at dusk.
Which country have you visited before? Share your experience with us in the comments below. And if you want more ideas, come back to check out the second part of this blog.