Desert, yellow sea of ​​sands and ... suddenly a city appears. Walls, buildings, silhouettes of tall minarets appear on the clear blue sky. Mirage? No, this is one of the three "pearls" of Central Asia - the city of Khiva.

According to one of the legends, the city was founded by Sem, one of the sons of the prophet Noah, known in Islam as Nuh and revered by Muslims. According to archaeological excavations, the city emerged in the 5th century AD and it is recognized by UNESCO. In the III century. Khiva was one of the main trading cities of the northern branch of the Great Silk Road and since the second half of the 9th century it was in the sphere of political influence of the Samanid dynasty.

The first written mention of Khiva (at that time the city was called "Kheyvak") dates back to the X century and since that time the city has become a witness and participant in all the political events that took place in Central Asia.

At the end of the 16th - beginning of the 17th centuries. Khiva becomes the capital, which replaced the state of Khorezmshahs.

The city reached its greatest grandeur during the reign of the Uzbek dynasty Kungrat (1770-1920). Political stability reigned in the country, contributing to economic growth and, as a consequence, the flourishing of architecture.

In 1873, Khan Mohammed Rakhim signed an agreement with Tsarist Russia, according to which the Khiva Khanate became a vassal of the Russian Empire, while maintaining internal autonomy.

On February 2, 1920, a popular uprising overthrew the Khan government and on April 26 of the same year, the Khorezm People's Soviet Republic was formed.

In 1924, after the national demarcation, Khiva as part of the Khorezm Republic became part of the Uz SSR.

Today Khiva is the second city of the Khorezm region with a population of 60,000 inhabitants.

The city is divided into two parts: Ichan Kala "Inner City" and Dishan Kala "Outer City".

Itchan Kala is a real city-museum, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The fortress walls of the inner city hide from immodest looks the precious painting of the masterpieces of architectural art. On the territory of 26 hectares (650mx400) 54 monuments of architecture rise and please the eye: palaces, mosques, baths, shopping malls, gates, etc. In 1990, Ichan Kala was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Dishan Kala (about 50,000 inhabitants) is a former suburb of Khiva that has turned into a classic city with features of urban infrastructure. Several architectural monuments of the "outer city" may be interesting.

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Ichan Kala fortress

Kunya-Ark fortress, Muhammad-Aminkhan madrasah and Kalta-Minar minaret

Juma Mosque

Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum and Allakulikhan Madrasah

Islam-Khoja Minaret

Tash-Hauli palace