Uzbekistan Photo Gallery – Khiva edition
Khiva (Uzbek: Xiva, Russian: Хива), is located in the western part of Uzbekistan, in the Khorezm Region of Uzbekistan. It is one of the earliest town on the silk road, and the first place in Uzbekistan to get a UNESCO world heritage site inscription. It takes 20 hours or so by train from Tashkent to reach Khiva (through Urgench, the capital city nearby) and it’s a trip well worth the effort.
Itchan Kala (Uzbek: Ichаn-Qаl’а, Russian: Ичан-Калa) is the old quarter of Khiva that has preserved about 50 historic monuments and 250 old structures dating mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. While not all monuments are not that old, some of the older foundations dating as far back as the tench century have been used to build subsequent buildings.
The old city is rectangular, with brick walls and four gates surrounding its sides in a fortress-like structure. You can walk over the walls for some of it to get a view of the old city and it’s dirt/tiled streets. The famous stubby minaret was actually built by a former ruler who wanted to build a tower so high that you could see all the way to Bukhara (almost 500km away) while rest of the kingdom starved. After his death, his ridiculous pet project was swiftly abandoned.
I was in Khiva for Uzbekistan’s independence day, and the pictures, especially at night are simply stunning. Get a museum pass which allows you to visit many of the museums and interiors of old buildings. Sunsets are best seen from the tower on the western gate.