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Information about Uzbekistan:
Short review of Tashkent
Sights of Tashkent
Short review of Samarkand
Sights of Samarkand
Short review of Bukhara
Historical Background of Bukhara
Sights of Bukhara
Short review of Khiva
Sights of Khiva
Ferghana Valley
Short review
Historical Background
Outstanding people of Ferghana
Short review of Kokand
Short review of Margilan
Short review of Kuva
Short review of Kokand
Outstanding people of Kokand
Short review of Namangan
Architecture and monuments Namangan
Outstanding people of Namangan
Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Short review of Chust
Architecture and monuments of Andijan
Short review of Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Short review of Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Short review of Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Short review of Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Ancient Khorezm
Fortress Toprak-Kala (2-3 cc.), (4-6 cc.)
Fortress Ayaz-Kala (4-2 cc. BC)
Koy-Kyrylgan Kala, fortress and temple
Fortress of Kyrk-Kyz Kala (1-2 cc., 12-13 cc. A.D.)
Ancient civilization of thousand fortresses
Lost Khorezm
Site of ancient settlement Mizdahkan
Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biosphere Reserve
Natural environment
Ecological and ethnographic tourism
People and social environment
Rules of Ecotourism
Wedding traditions in Bukhara
Wedding traditions in Samarkand

Historical Background of Khiva

Khiva... A well-known city of Khoresm — the country of an ancient civilization. Among the many cities of oasis only Khiva withstood the adversities of nature and history. Source of life - full-flowing Amu Darya river - often causes the death of many settlements. Sometimes, changing the channel, the river went from prosperous land, leaving behind the ruins of the cities. But Khiva continued to live.

During its long history the city has repeatedly experienced periods of ups and downs of the economy and culture, became a victim of foreign invaders and its inhabitants were in the grip of oppression of the rulers, feudal backwardness and religious obscurantism

According to the census in 1924 in Khiva there were only 4029 households with 18145 inhabitants. At that time the town consisted of 5 small administrative - territorial units, the so-called "mosque-kaum". Now the population of Khiva has increased significantly.

Until recently, Khiva remained a center of cotton area, with few prospects for the development of the city itself.

However, in recent years there have been two important factors to stimulate new economic growth of the city: first pipeline Bukhara - Urals, which route included in the scope of its supply the lands of ancient Khorezm, and secondly, the rapid development of tourism in the country and the world was the impetus for revival of the city and its monuments.

Khiva is the only city on the preservation and concentration of sites of outstanding architectural monument of the medieval urban planning and architecture in Central Asia.
Khiva is becoming the city of big tourism. Thousands of people are coming here from all corners of the earth. Khiva is the reserve city, the city-museum of folk architecture.



History of the city is lost in the mists of time - the time of its formation is not precisely determined yet. Extant word "Khiva" is known from the Arabic geographical works of the tenth century as the title of one of the settlements on the caravan route between Gurganch (now Kunia Urgench) and Merv (now Mary), the earlier information about the city is unknown.

Khorezm of X century is the time of titans of thought and science, such as Abu Rayhan Biruni (973-1048), Abu Ali ibn Sina (980-1037), the time of prosperity of khorezmshah Mamun's "Academy".

According to preserved historians' evidences about the Khorezm people of that time, "These people are hospitable, love eating, brave and strong in battle, they have amazing features and properties", - wrote Makdisi.

In the history Khorezm of X century is marked by rapid economic recovery of the country, the increasing number of cities, urban development and architecture. Historical chronicle lists lack of knowledge more than 30 cities located in the lower basin of the Amu Darya. Among the ancient cities, perhaps, only Khiva steadfastly continued to exist as a city.
Khiva is located on the plains, on the border of the desert. Initially, a well with drinking water predestined emergence of settlement. The formation of the city, of course, preceded the construction of the canal Heykanik from the Amu Darya, which served not only for irrigation of a vast territory, but also for supplying water to all localities that have arisen on its route.

Canal Heykanik existed in ancient times. He is known today under the name Palvanyan (Palnan-aryk). In Khiva chronicles of the nineteenth century Heykanik often referred to as distorted Heyvanik. Heykanik is an archaic name, importance of which people have forgotten long ago.Obviously, between the canal's name Heykanik and the city Khiva (Hewa) there is an etymological connection, because the chain of words Heykanik - Heyvanik - Heyvak - Hewa - Khiva seem to indicate the unity of their roots. However, in the manuscript of 1831 "Heart of rarities", a historian-chronicler Hudayberdi Koshmuhammed wrote that "Khiva is the name of men".

Many names in the toponymy of Khorezm, as the history of the country, are a mystery. So the word "Khiva" remains a mystery of history yet. Furthermore, the word Khorezm is also shrouded in such mystery. Most close to the truth etymological interpretation of the word "Khorezm" is "the land of the sun".

According to folk legend the foundation of the city refers to the time of Prophet Noah, whose son Sim ordered to dig a well on the site of the future city and this laid the foundation of Khiva. And now in the old part of town, in the Ichan-Cala, Khiva people show a deep well, which, they say, is so old as the city.

According to ancient chronicles Khiva still in the tenth century was a fairly large city with a beautiful cathedral mosque.
One of the medieval travelers, who visited many countries of the East, after a visit to Central Asia in the early thirteenth century, left the following observation: "I do not think that anywhere in a world were wider and more populated lands than Khorezm, and even so the residents are accustomed to hard living and contentment of a few.

Most of Khorezm villages are cities with markets, foodstuffs and shops. How rare are villages in which there is no market. All these are in total security and total serenity ...

I do not think that there was the city in the world, which could like the main city of Khorezm by its abundance of wealth and the magnitude of the capital, a large number of people ... "

Undoubtedly, the city of Khiva was among the prosperous cities, about which so delightfully Arab traveler, scientist Yakut Hamawi spoke.
In the thirteenth century Khorezm fell under the onslaught of hordes of Genghis Khan. Khiva rose chest against the enemy. Sons patriots died a heroic death. Later, over the grave of the defenders of the city was built mausoleum.

Khiva has stood the test of time, but the continuous existence of the city at one place, the need for renovation of old buildings, the requirement of living spaces ruthlessly destroyed all dilapidated, outdated and unnecessary.

That is why in the modern Khiva most of the monuments belong to the XVIII-XIX centuries. Earlier sites are rare, archeology of the city has not been studied yet.

Khiva became the capital of the state only in 1556 under Dustkhan ibn Budjchi. However, its intensive development begins at Arabmuhammedkhhan (1602 - 1623), when there were begun to build monumental structures.

Among the monuments of the seventeenth century the madrasa of Arabmuhammed (1616), mosque and baths of Anushakhan (1657) are particularly notable. Economic and political crises in the country, kaleidoscopic diversity in the change of government - "to play at khans" ( "khonbozi") - on the whole detrimentally affected the welfare of Khorezm. The capture of Khiva by Iranian forces in 1740 led to the ruin of the country.

The epidemic of plague in 1768 in Khorezm took away many lives. Cities deserted. Especially Khiva and neighboring towns affected greatly, said the poet-historian Muniz.

"In Khiva the population only at 40 families remained ... Inside the city is overgrown with tamarisk and thorn, wild animals settled in the houses.

In 1770, the governor Mohammed Amin Inak succeeded in putting the end to the strife and unite the land of Khorezm. From this time begins "a new foundation Khiva" (Academician V.V. Bartold).

Numerous monuments of Khiva emerged in the nineteenth century. This was a period of relative rise of culture, expansion of construction and handicrafts.
Khiva is a wonderful museum of Khorezm architecture of XVIII-XX centuries. In the inner city - Ichan-Kala - concentrated ensembles and complexes of monumental structures, surrounded by a dense mass housing construction. The unique monument of the city is a multi-column Juma Mosque (the end of XVIII century.) It preserved the wooden columns of the early buildings (X-XVI centuries.).

Each of these columns opens separate pages of the history of development of architectural forms, ornament and carving techniques. The mausoleum and mosque of Said Alauddin Bagbanli have been preserved since XIV century. In XVII and early XVIII centuries there were erected many spiritual schools: Madrasah of Arabmuhammed (1616), Madrasah Hurdzhum (1688), Madrasah Shergazi (1719-1726). From the monuments of XIX century followings are specially interesting: Kutlugh-Murad Inak (1804-1812), a complex of Pahlavan Mahmud mausoleum (1810-1835), madrassa (1834 - 1935), a caravanserai and Tim of Allakulikhan, madrasah of Muhammad Aminkhan (1851-1855), palaces Kukhna-Ark (first half of XIX c.) and Tashhauli (1831-1841).

The antiquity of the architecture and art traditions can be traced not only on the monuments of material culture of Khorezm. Architectural Building terminology, existed among the people of Khorezm, in many ways differ from the terms of the neighboring regions - Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent.

In daily use of the Khorezm Uzbeks have been survived some ancient Turkic architectural and construction terms, which have long been forgotten or replaced in the Uzbek literary language. Thus, mentioned in, "Assembly of Turkic dialects" of Mahmud Kashgar (XI cent.) the word "kerpich", Alisher Navoi called it "kirpich", identical with the Russian "kirpich (brick)", existed in the Khorezm dialect to this day as "kerpich", "kervich".

Khiva can rightly be proud of its great sons.

In XIII century, at the palace of the Khorezmshah Mamun the scientist Shahabuddeen Hivaki founded an invaluable library on his own fund. According to the historian Nasavi, Like this library there "was neither before nor after. In the fourteenth century, far beyond the borders of Khorezm was known poet-philosopher Pahlavan Mahmud (Piryarvali), who created many ruba'i of philosophical, social and even anti-religious content. A man of great physical strength, an unsurpassed fighter, he traveled extensively to countries of the East, visited India, Afghanistan, Iran. The history has informed us about the exploits of Pahlavan Mahmud for the glory of his native land. According to legend, during a trip to India Pahlavan Mahmud savedhe ruler of this country from death. The grateful ruler wanted to reward the savior generously, but Mahmoud asked nether gold nor jewels, he asked to release Khorezm captives.

One of the rulers of Khorezm - Abulgazi Bahadurkhan (1603-1664) is known in Oriental studies as the author of valuable historical works "Genealogy ofTurkmens" and "Genealogy of Turks". Scientist-traveler G. Vambery, who visited Khorezm in the 40-ies of XIX century, praised the merits of Abulgazi: "The world is grateful for his historical work "Genealogy of Turks"".
Shermuhammed mirob (water manager), better known by his poetic pseudonym Munis Khorazmi (1778-1829), wrote a history of Khorezm, entitled "Firdavsul Iqbal - (Garden of prosperity). After Munis died, his nephew managed to finish his work. This was a poet and historian Muhammad Riza Agakhi (1809 - 1874).

According to Academician V.V. Barthold, "Due to the details of presentation and the number of factual material the work exceeds all the extant works on the history of Bukhara and Kokand khanates".

Poetic heritage of Agakhi permeated with a deep sympathy for the sufferings and hardships of the people. Protesters spirit of the poet is felt even in the lines, appealed to the rulers and the clergy. In view of national disorders, he wrote: "If the sparks fly into one place
Undoubtedly, there will be fire.
If droplets flow together,
Flooding there will be."The end of XVIII - early XIX century was the time of cultural rise for the Khorezm. Whole pleiad of talented masters of the word has left an enormous poetic heritage. This era is remarkable for musicians, who worked hard for the systematization and development of the classical cycle of Khorezm maqoms.

Pahlavan Niaz Kamil (1825-1899) created the Khorezm musical notation system for recording music. Highly educated man of his time, he did not only compose and beautifully perform folk tunes, but was famed for his poetic works too.

In the chronicles of Munis and Agakhi is given valuable information on the major architectural sites, the timing of their construction, the master-builder.

The treasures of Khiva architecture, the pearls of Khorezm oasis every year attracted to more and more foreign tourists.

We will introduce you to the amazing city, will talk about the history of origin of a rare, exquisite by its beauty and originality of architectural monuments, built by the genius of talented people, who began a new era in the history of Khiva.


Glance into the future

Ibn Batuta, a well-known Arab traveller who had been in the Central Asia in 30-ies of ХIV century, wrote in his memories about rights of Khoresm people: ““All over the world I have not meet yet people of more well-behaved, than Khorezm ones, more noble, more hospitable in relation to strangers.

The noble qualities of character, marked by the inquisitive traveler, inhere in present generation too. Moral-ethical and cultural traditions of ancestors find vivifying soil in the socialist reality.

Traditional hospitality is inconceivable without abundant dastarkhan (uzbek cloth) with juicy and sweet fruits of Khoresm fields, local grades of melons, a fig, grapes especially are famous.
The Khivan market since olden days was the liveliest place of the city. Especially it is crowded on Sundays.

Even from remote villages of the oasis, as in ancient times, people -the venerable gray-bearded old men, and colorfully dressed women, and young boys and girls - go to the market here. Bazaar is as a place of "weekly" holiday, the place of the peculiar exhibition and sale of products of arts and crafts, household items made by folk artists, strict patterns of carpets, fine bead embroidery, a variety of skullcap, pottery, stamping on copper, musical instruments .. . In each of these you can trace the successive ties of the traditions of Khorezm ancient art.

Khiva was noticed by artistslong ago. For shooting historical films the city is irreplaceable natural with its diverse architecture. The city became a favorite place for summer work experience of future artists and architects.

Modern architecture joins organically to the structure of the city. Gradual renovation of its outdated mud buildings goes by various ways; individual construction of houses reflects the socio-cultural changes in everyday life, the emergence of new trends in traditional architecture.

Construction of apartment houses on standard projects is the leading line of architectural formation of subsequent transformations. The first model homes are relatively few take into account local conditions.

However, the search continued. In the north-western part of Dishan-Kala in the territory of 28 hectares a microdistrict is laid, based on houses with apartments on two levels and mixed building types, besides apartments of 3 -, 4 - and 5-room.

Every apartment has a yard of 35-60 sqare meter and high ayvan (open verandah). Architect A. Kabul during the formation of spatial composition of microdistrict, with layout and functional solution of residential structures tried to take into account climatic, historical and cultural aspects of architecture.

Especially it is interesting and noteworthy a new administrative and social center of Khiva, over the architectural solution of which a creative team led by architect S.M. Sutyagin works.

Consideration of historical and cultural significance of the architectural museum-reserve Ichan-Kala puts special demands on the designers; the scaling relation of old and new, individual parts and whole, organic entry of modern architecture into the city-reserve, eliminating dissonant Congress, accounting and development of the most progressive national traditions and etc.

Administrative-social center was established near Ichan-Kala on the east side, near the gate of Kosh-darvaza. The center consists of a number of sqares-yards.

The monuments of Khiva, the beauty of the ancient and young city with its labor and creativity of the people will always admire people.