Here you’ll find travel reports about Khiva. Discover travel destinations in Uzbekistan of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

13 travelers at this place:

  • Day4

    A day in Khiva

    May 11 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Today I was up early and left the hotel at 6am to catch the 7:30 plane to Urgench then drive 40 minutes to Khiva, one of the stops on the Silk Road.
    The old part of the city is still surrounded by a fortress like wall and around 3,000 people live inside. The palace was used by the ruler until the Soviet Union moved him to Siberia in 1920.
    As there was no time for breakfast I was pretty hungry by 1300 after wandering around the sights with my tour guide for 3 hours so had a nice lunch of plov ( a local dish of rice, carrots and meat) before doing another hours sightseeing.
    It was great to return to my hotel just outside the southern gate of the city as it has a beautiful cool pool that thank goodness was open, being 35 degrees today it was great to cool off
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  • Day122


    September 12, 2018 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    The origin of the name Khiva is unknown, but many contradictory stories have been told to explain it. A traditional story attributes the name to one of the sons of Prophet Noah(AS): „It is said that Shem(AS) [from whence the word Semitic is derived], after the flood, he found himself wandering in the desert alone. Having fallen asleep, he dreamt of 300 burning torches. On waking up, he was pleased with this omen, he founded the city with outlines in the form of a ship mapped out according to the placement of the torches, about which he had dreamt. Then Sim dug the 'Kheyvak' well, the water from which had a surprising taste. It is possible to see this well in Ichan-Kala (an internal town of Khiva City) even today.“ Another story relates that travellers passing through the city, upon drinking the excellent water, would exclaim "Khey vakh!" ("What a pleasure!") and hence the city became known as Kheyvakh, whence Khiva. A third proposal is that the name comes from the word Khwarezm, altered by borrowing into Turkic as Khivarezem, then shortened to Khiva.

    In the early part of its history, the inhabitants of the area were from Iranian stock and spoke an Eastern Iranian language called Khwarezmian. Subsequently the Iranian ruling class was replaced by Turks in the 10th century A.D, and the region gradually turned into an area with a majority of Turkic speakers. The earliest records of the city of Khiva appear in Muslim travel accounts from the 10th century[citation needed], although archaeological evidence[citation needed] indicates habitation in the 6th century. By the early 17th century, Khiva had become the capital of the Khanate of Khiva, ruled by a branch of the Astrakhans, a Genghisid dynasty. In 1873, Russian General Konstantin von Kaufman launched an attack on the city, which fell on 28 May 1873. Although the Russian Empire now controlled the Khanate, it nominally allowed Khiva to remain as a quasi-independent protectorate. Following the Bolshevik seizure of power after the October Revolution, a short lived Khorezm People's Soviet Republic was created out of the territory of the old Khanate of Khiva, before its incorporation into the USSR in 1924, with the city of Khiva becoming part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.

    Editiert am 27.03.2019
    Text von Wolfgang
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  • Day2

    Khiva, Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum

    April 14 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    It's now time to the the last attraction of Khiva: the mausoleum of Pakhlavan Mahmoud.
    Before reaching it we pass by some tombs. These are the graves of the jadeeds, some local professors who were killed because tried to educate the population. Something that the rulers saw as a threat...
    Opposite the graveyard there are two madrasas and a minaret built by Islam-Khodja: he was the only prime minister to build madrasas and minarets. And the result is stunning! The Minaret is 45m high and is the highest one in Khiva.

    We finally reach the mausoleum of Pakhlavan Mahmoud, a local hero. He was first buried in his house and then the mausoleum was built for him. Already from the outside it's beautifully decorated with the usual blue tiles, but inside it's truly stunning: all the inner walls and dome are completely covered with handmade blue majolica reflecting the light of a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
    I think pictures will not do justice to the beauty of this place....
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  • Day2

    Khiva by night

    April 14 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    It's just 4.30pm when we get back to the hotel and we won't have dinner before 7pm. The plan is to rest a bit and have a shower, but some reasons I don't manage to sleep.
    When we meet Said and the rest of the group to go out for dinner, the weather has changed: the sky has cleared up and the blue tower sof the citadel look even more beautiful reflecting the sun light. Unfortunately there is no time to climb up on the towers for pictures, but we will probably have the chance to do it tomorrow.

    The restaurant is, as usual, beautiful: this time we are in a patio with the outer perimeter closed with transparent plastic protecting from the wind.
    Once again, food is truly delicious (even if I use a bowl for salad just to realise later that it's for tea) and we get to try some amazing dumplings with pumpkin and meat filling.
    We end the meal with fresh fruit and even my dad dares to eat some apple slices, skin included! Maybe his stomach is hungrier than afraid of food poisoning! 😂
    During dinner I get to talk more with Noha and discover that she is a talented artist: her pencil-portraits are truly impressive! We also make a new friend: a cute kitten that sneaked under the table to get some snacks.

    Before going back to the hotel I manage to take some pictures of the sunset and, later, of the outer walls of the citadel by night. This place (never heard before yesterday) really does have something magic...

    Once back in the hotel I go to Noha's room to lend her my laptop to download pictures from her phone and we end up talking for hours. She is really an amazing person!
    I try to talk to Ludo but the Internet connection is initially too poor... and then totally dies 😞 Hopefully tomorrow I will be luckier...
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  • Day2

    Khiva, Lunch at Yasavul Boshi Restaurant

    April 14 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    It's time for a break! We leave the crowd and take a street leading towards the outer wall, where our restaurant is located. Built in an old citadel building, the restaurant is truly beautiful thanks to the architecture and the decorations.

    Since we are very special guests we are given a private room, where we are served an amazing meal: salads, fritters, peanuts (including some special glazed peanits), pumpkin cream soup, a local specialty consisting of dill spaghetti with beef and - as a dessert - a sort of small apfelstrudel. ❤️

    During the meal I ask a few questions and find out that all the Islamic prayers are done in Arabic, even Uzbeks don't usually speak Arabic: they simply know the overall meaning of what they are saying.
    Before leaving we do the usual toilet stop, but this time we have a bad surprise: there is no water in the restrooms! 🤢
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  • Day2

    Khiva, Tash Khovli Palace & Harem

    April 14 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We proceed along the street and finally reach a palace with an inner courtyard. The yard has 5 beautifully-decorated niches, with one higher than the others. According to Islam, men are indeed allowed to have up to 4 wives who must be treated equally. The higher niche is instead foe the mother.
    Inside the building we discover beautiful wooden ceilings painted with bright colours. Said explains that here we are close to the Aral Sea and therefore water is really salty. This is why there are no gardens around and the local ceramic has traces of salt.
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  • Day2

    Khiva, Muhammad Amin-Khan Madrasahs

    April 14 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    After stopping to by some super cheap sunglasses (apparently I left mine on the plane), we continue the discovery of the citadel.

    One of the most impressive places is a wide elevated plaza with two huge blue madrasahs facing each other. The narrow streets around the plaza are filled with souvenir and handcrafts stands, like an open-air Bazar. I think there are no words to describe the feeling of being in this place...

    We take one of the narrow streets below the plaza and proceed towards a craftsmen centre with local products (today we have no time for shopping, but we will be back tomorrow🛒🛍️). This building used to be a stop for caravans and camels: merchants travelling the Silk Road had to change camels quite often be ause these animals show no signs of fatigue or exhaustion and simply die suddenly. In Uzbekistan there are both dromedaries and camels and they usually live up to 15 years! 🐫
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  • Day2

    Khiva, Juma Mosque

    April 14 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Restored by the lunch, we are ready to face the second part of our discovery tour of Khiva.
    The first stop is in an ancient mosque constructed in the 10th century, but constantly renovated until the 18th century. Outside, it has the highest minaret in Khiva, while inside it has a huge prayer hall that can host up up to 10.000 people!

    The hall is dotted by 214 hand-carved wooden columns, each different from the others.
    In the inner part there is a very special and thick column: if somebody manages to embrace it completely, they get as a reward a silk carpet! Despite our tries, however, none of us proves to be big enough. Maybe Ludo would have made it! ☺️

    Outside of the mosque we stop by a fur hat stand and we are forced to try some on. No need to say that the result is hilarious... 😅
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  • Day3

    Shopping and Dining in Khiva

    April 15 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    It's only 5.30pm when we get back to Khiva. Said gives us an hour before meeting again. The plan is to go shopping, dining and then do a quick stopover in a supermarket for some snacks.
    After a quick rest we are ready to go. We decide to go to the craftsmen centre in the citadel. Without the crowd of yesterday this ancient fortress city looks even more magical.

    I expected to find the crafts centre crowded, but it's deserted like the rest of the city. We have 20 minutes to buy some souvenirs and I end up with a miniature of the Khiva minaret, two small statues, a vase and a hand-painted magnet.

    Our restaurant is located just in front of the beautiful madrasas and minaret of islam-Khodja. Since it's a mild evening, we sit outside and enjoy a music and dance show. Dinner is as usual delicious and we get to try some yummy crepes filled with mince meat. During the meal Noha and I kind of adopt a skinny kitten, that seems to be truly starving. Apparently the other tourists are not as generous... 😥

    After dinner we were supposed to go to a supermarket for some snacks, but Noha and Said are completely focused on finding a streaming version of the Game of Thrones finale. 🙄
    Anyways, tomorrow we will pass by a shop before starting our 8-hour drive to Bukhara. And, if I manage to wake up in time, I will go with Noha for an early photo session in the citadel.
    What's sure is that tomorrow night we will be in Bukhara! 🤩
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  • Day2

    Khiva, Ichan Kala West Gate

    April 14 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    As expected, I don't hear the alarm clock and, when my parents wake me up, it's already 9.20am. They seem to be super relaxed since the hotel departure is scheduled for 10am. However, what they apparently missed is that the breakfast buffet closes at 9.30am 😑
    Our only hope is that yesterday night a huge group of Italian tourists arrived at our hotel. And I am pretty sure they will be late...
    As expected, thanks to our compatriots we manage to get our breakfast with no rush. Sometimes having Italians around helps! 😂

    When we finally get to the lobby we realise we are not even the last ones: the 6th member of the group - a girl from Kuwait - has just arrived from Tashkent and needs some time to put her stuff in her room.
    When se finally joins us we are only 10 minutes late on our schedule. The girl is called Noha and turns out to be actually Egyptian, even if born in Kuwait.
    We are now ready to start discovering Khiva!

    The weather is quite cloudy and the wind surprisingly chilly. If yesterday it was very warm for our standards, today it's definitely a different story!
    Our hotel is situated just outside the sand-coloured outer walls of the citadel. At the edges we can see a few watching towers covered with blue domes. But none of has was ready for what we saw when the walked through the gate: what we thought would simply be a fortress is actually a whole city, dating back to the 10th century! However, it also includes more. Recent buildings (17th-18th century). Indeed this fortress city was the capital of its huge khanate until only 99 years ago! 😮

    When we finally pass the west gate we find ourselves lost in a huge crowd. Today is Sunday and apparently it's a very busy day for tourists even if we are in a Muslim country.
    Said stops in front of a ceramic map showing the route of the ancient Silk Road. It was not a fixed route but was constantly adapted based on the political and economic situation of the countries crossed. In order to face the journey, merchants needed caravans with at least 100 camels: both the merchants and the camels were changed during the journey. Not surprisingly Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva have a long merchant tradition.
    Looking at the map we see Gurganj, the old name of Urgench. This used to be a Persian-speaking area.

    The Khiva's fortress dates back to the 10th century and its khanate used to go all the way to the Caspian and Aral Sea, including the current Turkmenistan, the Kazakhstan territories close to the Caspian sea and the Western part of Uzbekistan until the borders with the emirate of Bukhara. This region was totally independent since the beginning of of 1.500 AD until the second half of the 800s, when it became a protectorate of the Zarist Empire. In 1920 the last Khan of Khiva was overthrown and the entire region became part of the USSR.
    The emirate of Bukhara was instead stretching as far as India. Avicenna is from Bukhara.

    We are now in Ichan Kala, the inner fortress. The beauty and harmony of the buildings around us is stunning, especially thanks to a wide truncated conic tower completely covered with blue tiles (the colour is due to cobalt, which is abundant in the region). The crowded streets are sided by bazar stands selling all kind of local products, including some fluffy fur hats.
    Exactly like on India, the locals seem to crazy about taking pictures with us, but the most requested one is my dad, who finds himself surrounded by teenage girls taking selfies with him! 😂
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Khiwa, Xiva, Khiva, خيوة, Хива, Khivà, Ĥiva, Jiva, Hiiva, خیوه, Hiva, Chiwa, Chiva, خیوا

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