Khiva, Uzbekistan: UNESCO World Heritage Site
The monuments of the Uzbek city of Khiva date from the 19th century and are still in an exceptionally good condition today. The old town, which is almost entirely protected by a wall, looks like a large open-air museum. The historical center of Khiva is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a rule, souvenir shops and workshops have found their new home in the lovingly restored buildings in the old town. A number of museums are also housed in the monuments.
The main attractions in Khiva:
- the palaces of Tasch Hauli and Kunja Ark
- the Kalta Minor minaret
- the Said-Ala-ad-Din mausoleum
- the Pachlawan Machmud Museum
The Kalta Minor minaret is 28 meters high
Ichan Kala, the old town of Khiva, only covers an area of around 400 by 720 meters. It can be entered through the four city gates of the city wall. From the north gate it is also possible to climb up the city wall and get a first overview from here. At the West Gate, the main entrance to the historic old town, tourists can buy an entry ticket that is valid for all sights and is valid for two days. Immediately after passing the gate you stand in front of the Kalta Minor minaret, whose 28 meter high tower is adorned with turquoise-green tiles. Right next to it is the Amin Khan Medrese. The former Islamic university now houses a hotel.
The Khans of Khiva lived in the Kunja Ark
The foundations of the Kunja Ark Citadel date back to the fifth century. However, the walls of the current monument date from 1686 to 1688, when Arang Khan ruled Khiva. Until the 1830s, the Kunja Ark served as the residence and residence of the Khans of Khiva. After that, the rulers moved to the newly built Tasch Hauli Palace. In addition to the palace, the Kunja Ark citadel included a summer and winter mosque, a powder tower, a mint, an armory, a harem and the administration. Only some of these structures have stood the test of time.
One of the main attractions of the Kunja Ark is the throne room
The large inner courtyard of the complex leads to the throne room, which is characterized by a one-sided, open hall facing north. The walls of the so-called Ivan are decorated with majolica tiles. They adorn blue-white, intertwined images of plants and in a large format. Equally noteworthy are the ceiling and wooden pillars of the Ivan. A replica of the throne is placed behind the ivan. The real throne was stolen by the Russians in the 19th century and is now said to be in the Hermitage. From the watchtower, visitors have an excellent view of Khiva. It is most beautiful in the afternoon.
Pachlawan Machmud is the patron saint of Khiva
The Mohammed-Rahim-Khan-Medrese stands opposite the Kunja Ark Citadel. A history museum is now housed in the former mosque and in one of the classrooms. Above all, weapons, dishes and everyday objects from the 19th century are on display here. Sometimes there are tight rope demonstrations in the courtyard for tourist groups. The Said-Ala-ad-Din mausoleum is one of the oldest buildings in Khiva. The tombstone is decorated with wonderfully worked majolica tiles, on which white leaves and tendrils are depicted on a dark background. One of the most important sights of Khiva is the Pachlawan Machmud Mausoleum. It is the magnificently decorated tomb of Pachlawan Machmud, the patron saint of Khiva, who lived from 1247 to 1326.
The Tasch Hauli Palace gives a good picture of the life of the khans
The Tasch Hauli Palace, another tourist magnet in Khiva, consists of the harem, the courtyard, the court of justice and the living quarters of the ruling family. The khans lived here until the 1880s. Since the palace is very well preserved, visitors can get a very clear picture of the daily life of the khans and their servants. The whole northern part of the palace was reserved for the harem. One of the harem’s rooms has been restored in the style of the time and gives an excellent impression of the living conditions at that time. To the south of it there is an iwan with an inner courtyard, utility rooms and halls that were used for representation. Inner courtyards served as a festival, reception or courtroom.