The ancient city of Khiva lies around 450 km north west of Bukhara, and only around 40 km south west of Urgench. Another of the ‘Silk Road’ cities, Khiva has been extensively restored and is in effect a giant open-air museum. Many of the mosques and madrassas located within the Old City known as Ichon Qala are no longer ‘functioning’ instead containing numerous displays and collections. The Old City is surrounded by an 18th century mud-brick wall and has 4 main entrance gates, one at each point of the compass
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Top things to do in Khiva
The Old walled city of Khiva
Under the Soviets, Khiva was declared a conservation site and much of the heart of the old city was emptied of people and restored. The result is that medieval Khiva looks much the same as it did hundreds of years ago, except the streets are largely deserted, resulting in an odd museum-like atmosphere. However, it is an excellent opportunity to get a sense of how the legendary oasis cities of the Silk Road looked. Highlights within the old walled city include the Madrasa Mohammed Amin Khan with the Kalta Minor minaret, the fat, turquoise-tiled symbol of Khiva. The story goes that the minaret was originally intended to be much taller - specifically taller than the Kalan minaret in rival Bukhara, hence the squat shape. See Kunya Ark (fortress), former residence of the khans, and the Islam Khodzha madrasa and minaret. The complex is quite modern, dating to the early 20th century, and was built in honour of a forward-looking grand vizier. Visits also include Pakhlavan Mahmoud mausoleum, Muhammad Rahim-khan madrasa, Djuma mosque and Tash-Khovli palace, the summer residence of Khivan Khans.
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