Visiting Uzbekistan is a fantastic idea for history lovers because you have got a bunch of ancient cities to explore: Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, etc. Of course all of these cities are excellent travel destinations in Uzbekistan, but one of the best places to visit in Uzbekistan if you want to dive in and wander through ancient buildings is the city of Khiva.
Khiva is one of Uzbekistan’s smaller cities, but oozes character. Located on the western border of the country, Khiva was the last stopping point for caravans making their way across the Great Silk Road into Iran. Unfortunately, it was also a magnet for invaders such as Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great. Nevertheless, the city of Khiva pulled itself out of the ashes and became the capital of the Khiva Khanate in the 16th century, and then transformed into a city that was, while small, quite well fortified. One of the most interesting places to visit in Uzbekistan is in fact the Ichan-Qala Fortress located within the city of Khiva.
VISITING UZBEKISTAN: THE ICHAN-QALA FORTRESS
The Ichan-Qala Fortress that still stands in Khiva contains over 50 ancient structures and 250 different dwelling places. It is rectangular in shape and is protected by brick walls that are 10 meters high. Several popular buildings within the fortress that people commonly visit as they travel Uzbekistan are the Mausoleum of Pahlavon, the Oq Mosque, the Juma Mosque, as well as several madrassahs, markets, and caravanserais. Here are a few places to check out while visiting the Ichan-Qala Fortress in more detail.
- Toshkhovli Palace: Let’s face it. When you have got a chance to walk around a palace when you visit Uzbekistan, how could you possible turn that down? The Toshkhovli Palace was erected in the 19th century and sports 3 different yards (one of them being an entertainment yard), and living quarters for relatives of the khan as well as his harem. Exploring this historical site will certainly throw you back in time!
- Sayeed Alauddin Mausoleum: Sayeed Alauddin, being a relative of Muhammad, sought to spread Islam in Khiva and passed away in 1303. His mausoleum has undergone multiple restorations and although historians cannot pinpoint its exact date of construction, their estimate is that it was completed in the second half of the 14th People now visit Uzbekistan to reach this site as a point of pilgrimage.
- Juma Mosque: A holiday in Uzbekistan would not be complete without a visit to a Friday mosque, so if you are visiting the fortress in Khiva, make sure to pop your head in on this one. The Juma Mosque here in Khiva is a bit different than other mosques you might encounter in Uzbekistan. Constructed in the 18th century, a large wall encompasses the mosque (55 m x 46 m) devoid of embellishment. However, over 200 columns support ceiling of the mosque, several of which display some truly unique carvings.
TRAVEL UZBEKISTAN: KHIVA
So as you travel Uzbekistan, make sure to drop in on the ancient city of Khiva. Visiting a centuries-old, imposing fortress filled with ancient structures that reek of Silk Road panache is definitely a good way to spend your holiday in Uzbekistan. Wander around, snap some pictures, indulge in some tasty Central Asian cuisine, and let history unfold before your eyes as you explore everything Khiva has to offer.
Photos from sources: fonstola.ru, intofe.ru, cyclingnomads.org, speakzeasy.wordpress.com, commons.wikimedia.org