The Walled City of Khiva: A Place of Myths and Legends

The Walled City of Khiva: A Place of Myths and Legends

#Uzbekistan is UZzing with #culture (sorry for the pun!) and is the perfect place to go if you're looking for a #unique adventure. Some places can be overwhelming with the hustle and bustle, but one of my favorite spots, Khiva, is quieter, maybe because it's completely walled in.

The flaming orange yolk is quickly making its descent, taking with it the blanket of gold it has splashed on the sand-colored medressas and turquoise minarets of the city. By this time, all the other travelers around me have gone and I’m alone on the watch tower of Konya Ark, save for one other traveler who seems to be as absorbed by the scene as I am. Sunset, regardless of where in the world, is the most beautiful time of the day.

I’m in Khiva, an ancient town in western Uzbekistan — and this is one of the few places that’s outrageously stunning at any time of the day. I fell in love with Uzbekistan at first sight, but my feelings were slightly shaken when we arrived in tourist-packed Bukhara where vendors were aggressive and everything felt pretentious. But this place, Khiva, has renewed my love for Uzbekistan and I can’t help but feel sad to leave tomorrow.

from  $65

Khiva City Tour

 Khiva, Khorezm Province, Uzbekistan
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What makes Khiva stand out from anywhere else in Uzbekistan is that the entire old town is located within a walled city. All of its mosques, medressas and minarets are packed within this walkable, square-walled grid. There are over 94 mosques and 63 medressas in the old town Ichon-Kala (which translates to mean ‘within the wall’), earning it UNESCO World Heritage Site status. With its hodgepodge of sand-colored walls and clay houses, desert surroundings and larger-than-life monuments, this atmospheric town resembles the setting of A Game of Thrones. Entering the walled city is like going back in time, to another era and civilization.

Entering the walled city is like going back in time.

Getting to Khiva is not easy though. Sandwiched between two major deserts, Khiva is locked away in the western corner of Uzbekistan, a long way from the other main destinations in the country and you need to go that extra mile to get here —but trust me, it’s well worth it. If there’s only one place you can visit in Uzbekistan, make it Khiva.

For those who are still in doubts, here’s a look at the outstanding architecture, captivating colors and hospitable people of Khiva:

Sunset, the most beautiful time of day if you ask me
Kalta minor minaret, the most prominent minaret in Old Town Khiva
A medressa that has been converted into a hotel
One of the most unique buildings in Khiva is the Jamu Mosque, supported by 218 wooden columns
Each of the wooden columns feature intricate carvings
Beautiful tilework in Konya Ark
The view from Konya Ark is magnificent regardless of the time of the day
Inside the Pakhlavan Mausoleum, where pilgrims from all over Iran come to mourn
The Kalta Minor from above
The tilework at Tash Hauli Palace is just exquisite
View of Khiva old town from the highest minaret in Khiva
The Konya Ark as seen from outside

How To Get To Khiva

Khiva is located in the western part of Uzbekistan and it’s a long detour from Samarkand and Tashkent if you’re not planning to head into Turkmenistan. I traveled to Khiva as part of an overlanding trip with Oasis Overland. Over a period of two months, our group of travelers are traveling through Central Asia on an overland truck that will see us camping in deserts and mountains.

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