Khiva is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Uzbekistan. Talking about the establishment of the city, there is a legend associated with this event - people who live in Khiva believe that it originated around a well dug by the direction of Sim, Noah's eldest son. By the way, the well does exist to this day. It is located in Ichan-Kala (the old town).
As for scientists, they believe that in ancient times the city was called Kheyvak. According to the data obtained during the research, the city's age is more than 2500 years.
How to get to Khiva
Planes and trains to Khiva arrive in the neighboring Urgench. Modern railway and air terminal in Khiva should be opened soon. In 2018 it is also planned to launch a direct train from Bukhara to Khiva. Today you can take this route only by car.
The best time to travel to Khiva is the period from April to October. In summer, the temperature here warms up to 35-37 degrees. In winter, it can drop to -8.
What to see in Khiva
Today, Khiva is a museum city. Once it was the capital of the mighty Khiva Khanate. A notable feature of Khiva is that since its heyday it has changed only a little (in comparison with other cities of Uzbekistan). Therefore, today the old part of Khiva - Ichan-kala is officially under the protection of UNESCO.
Details of Khiva sights
Architectural monuments of the heyday period of the Khiva Khanate, that are still exist are:
- several palaces;
- nearly seventy mosques and madrasahs;
- several mausoleums;
- the old market;
- residential buildings.
Most of these sights are located inside of the Ichan-kala fortress. This is a kind of a city inside a city, surrounded by a heavy fortress wall with four gates (one for each side of the world). If you move from the western gate to the east one, you can quickly bypass the whole city. Such a walk allows you to see the most famous architectural monuments of Khiva.
To the point, there is a real ensemble of architectural masterpieces next to the Palvan-Darvaza gates. Tash-Khauli palace, the main residence of Khiva rulers, can be distinguished among them. Numerous apartments of this palace invariably cause admiration of the most demanding tourists and connoisseurs of oriental architecture.
Kalta-Minar minaret also deserves special attention. It is somewhat different from the traditional minarets because of its foundation that is a very massive structure. Unfortunately, time goes too fast. The minaret remained unfinished after the death of the ruler who initiated its construction.
After seeing the minaret, visit Muhammad Amin Khan madrasah - the largest architectural monument of religious significance in Khiva. Another its peculiarity is the presence of double cells, in which once students lived in.
If you want to see and take a picture of the whole old city in one shot, then welcome to the Ak-Sheikh-Bobo watchtower. Only having seen this amazing city stretched before your eyes, you can understand the meaning of the phrase: "People who do not know their past have no future."
In general, the distinctive feature of the buildings and structures erected by the famous Khiva architects and craftsmen is the stunning wood carving. It was everywhere: the skillful carvers adorned with carvings everything that could be processed - windows, columns, gates and so on. So, no matter which of the monuments you visited, it will impress you with no doubts. By the way, the city today is also one of the most developed handicraft centers of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The best weavers and jewelers of the country live here till today.
If you are lucky enough to travel around Khiva, do not miss the chance to see the ancient fortresses located here (there are more than fifty of them). Their age is more than two thousand years. Therefore, being here, you will certainly feel the fairy atmosphere of the ancient East.
The ruins of the ancient fortresses Ayaz-Kala and Elik-kala deserve special attention. Just remember that it is better to go there only with a guide or taxi driver who know the suburbs well.
Tours that include Khiva
What to buy
In Khiva, you can buy almost anything. Clay figures in the form of small copies of minarets, musicians and people are most popular. The best place for shopping is the city market. Besides souvenirs, you can also buy here a variety of teas, sweets, spices and dried fruits.
One more thing: remember about the eastern mentality and do not forget to bargain!
Where to stay in Khiva
Despite the fact that the city exists mainly for the revenue from tourism, the prices for hotel rooms are quite affordable. You can also stay in one of the many guest houses.
For the guests of the city, who possess a very modest budget, a good option is a room rented in the private sector. However, in this case you may have problems with registration. Still, foreigners can stay in Khiva without registration for 2 days.
In general, if you like everything elegant and beautiful, are interested in the history, culture and architecture of the ancient East, want to try something new and want your holiday to be remembered for the whole life, then you should definitely visit Khiva!
Where and what to eat
If you want to taste the authentic Khiva cuisine, you'd better not to look for a restaurant or a cafe. Go to a regular teahouse (chaykhana). There you can try dozens of different types of kebab, kazan-kebab (meat fried on bones, usually served with onions), Khiva pilaf and many other dishes.
24/7 Help Desk for Tourists: 8 371 200-00-88 or +998 71 200-00-88
Urgench airport: +998 62 224-59-59
Urgench railway station: +998 62 225-61-11