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Why Go to the City of Khiva

If you ask someone to advise you an interesting travel destination, boasting a rich and fascinating history and plenty of ancient historical sights, the most popular answer will probably be Rome. Several people will say something like Athens or Machu Picchu, some might even remember Chichen Itza and Petra, but the chances are that you won't hear about the wondrous city of Khiva and will miss out on a great adventure.

Once a vital stop on the Silk Road, scenic Khiva is a place that brings history back to life. No one knows for sure how far back the story of the city goes to, although the common belief is that it was founded at some point in the very beginning of our era. The urban legend says that it all started with the son of Noah named Shem. Once, traveling through the Karakum Desert, he came across a cool spring. Wishing to share his discovery with other travelers, he ordered to dig a well. Everyone who tried the fresh spring water from this well couldn't restrain an exclamation "Khei-vak" which can be translated as "such a pleasure". As the years passed, the small settlement around the well grew bigger and bigger until it developed into the ancient city of Khiva.

Walking the streets is like using a time machine. The architecture of the historical center of the city hasn't changed much since the medieval times, making a Khiva itinerary an essential part of any Uzbekistan tour. The historic part of the city is separated by the 10-meter high walls, originally built in the 5th century. Inside you can find over 50 monuments and more than 200 ancient buildings!

During your Khiva travel, you can't miss the Kunya Ark and the Old Citadel which is one of the most important buildings in the city. Built-in the 5th century, it housed a mosque, arsenal, harem, royal residence, and even a mint. Inside you can find a replica of the Khan's silver throne, the original one is on display in St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum in Russia.

Best Things to Do During Khiva Travel

  • Stop by the Kunya Ark
  • Admire the city from the top of the Blue Minaret
  • Visit the Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum
 

Another sight not to miss during a Khiva tour is the Blue Minaret. Dominating the city view, this amazing structure is 29 m (95 ft) tall, although it was supposed to be 3 times as high. It's unknown why the construction was abandoned but a popular theory suggests that it is because the Khan realized that when the structure is finished, people will be able to see inside his harem.

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Immerse in the atmosphere of the Orient, exploring the historic Silk Road destinations in Uzbekistan. Step back in time as you discover the unique architecture of breathtaking Bukhara, Samarkand, and Khiva, and enjoy the top attractions of the capital city, Tashkent.

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