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Coordinates: 41°22′53″N 60°21′40″E / 41.38139°N 60.36111°E / 41.38139; 60.36111
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Xiva / Хива
Clockwise from top:
Itchan Kala, Alla Kouli Khan Madrasa, Pakhlavan Makhmoud Mausoleum, Islam Hoja Minaret, Muhammad Amin Khan Madrasa and Kalta Minor
Khiva is located in West and Central Asia
Location in Uzbekistan
Khiva is located in Uzbekistan
Khiva (Uzbekistan)
Coordinates: 41°22′53″N 60°21′40″E / 41.38139°N 60.36111°E / 41.38139; 60.36111
Country Uzbekistan
RegionKhorazm Region
Founded6th century BC
 • HakimTemur Davletov
 • Total115 000
Postal code
Area code+998

Khiva (Uzbek: Xiva, Хива, خیوه; Persian: خیوه, Xīveh; alternative or historical names include Orgunje, Kheeva, Khorasam, Khoresm, Khwarezm, Khwarizm, Khwarazm, Chorezm, Arabic: خوارزم and Persian: خوارزم) is a district-level city of approximately 93,000 people in Khorazm Region, Uzbekistan.[2] According to archaeological data, the city was established around 2,500 years ago. In 1997, Khiva celebrated its 2500th anniversary.[3] It is the former capital of Khwarezmia, the Khanate of Khiva, and the Khorezm People's Soviet Republic. Itchan Kala in Khiva was the first site in Uzbekistan to be inscribed on the World Heritage List (1991). The astronomer, historian and polymath, Al-Biruni[4] (973–1048 CE) was born in either Khiva or the nearby city of Kath.



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 the prophet Noah: "It is said that Shem, 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 Shem 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."[5]

Another 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 Aryan inhabitants spoke an Eastern Iranian language called Khwarezmian. Turks replaced the Iranian ruling class in the 10th century AD, and the region gradually turned into an area with a majority of Turkic speakers.

Russia annexed the Khanate of Khiva in the 19th century. The last khan from the ruling dynasty was liquidated a century later, in 1919. Thus Khiva became the capital city of the new Khorezm People's Soviet Republic. The Khorezm oasis was converted into a part of modern Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in 1924.[6]

The earliest records of the city of Khiva appear in Muslim travel accounts from the 10th century although archaeological evidence indicates habitation in the 6th century; by the early 17th century, Khiva had become the capital of the Khanate of Khiva.[7] The khanate was ruled by a branch of the Astrakhans, a Genghisid dynasty.

2014 Image of Palvan Gate Of Khiva, built in the early 19th century and known to have hosted a large slave market and a center of punishments and executions

In the 17th century, Khiva began to develop as a slave market. For several centuries, the cities of Bukhara and Khiva were known as major centers of the slave trade, and the Bukhara slave trade, alongside the neighboring slave trade in Khiva, has been referred to as the "slave capitals of the world".[8] During the first half of the 19th century, around 30,000 Persians and an unknown number of Russians, were enslaved there before being sold. A large part of them were involved in the construction of buildings in the walled Itchan Kala.[7]



In the course of the Russian conquest of Central Asia, in 1873 the Russian General Konstantin von Kaufman launched an attack on the city of Khiva, which fell on 28 May 1873. Although the Russian Empire controlled the Khanate, it allowed Khiva to remain as a nominally quasi-independent protectorate.

Following the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917, a short-lived (1920-1924) Khorezm People's Soviet Republic formed out of the territory of the old Khanate of Khiva before its incorporation into the USSR in 1924. The city of Khiva became part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.


Panorama of Khiva (Uzbekistan)
Panoramic view of Khiva (Uzbekistan)
City wall

Khiva is split into two parts. The outer town, called Dichan Kala, was formerly protected by a wall with 11 gates. The inner town, or Itchan Kala, is encircled by brick walls, whose foundations are believed to have been laid in the 10th century. Present-day crenellated walls date back to the late 17th century and attain the height of 10 meters.

Kalta Minor, the large blue tower in the central city square, was supposed to be a minaret. It was built in 1851 by Mohammed Amin Khan, but the Khan died and the succeeding Khan did not complete it.

The old town retains more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, mostly dating from the 18th or 19th centuries. Djuma Mosque, for instance, was established in the 10th century and rebuilt in 1788–89, although its celebrated hypostyle hall still retains 112 columns taken from ancient structures.[9]

Khiva was home to a number of madrassahs (educational establishments), one of which, Sherghazi Khan madrassah, still stands today. It was built in the 18th century by slaves and is one of the oldest buildings in Ichan-Kala, which is the center of present-day Khiva. Among the renowned students of the madrassah were the Uzbek poet Raunaq, the Qaraqalpaq poet Kasybayuly, the Turkmen poet and sufi Magtymguly.[10]

Industry and production


In the town, activities such as the "KhivaCarpet" joint-stock company, cotton cleaning, ginning factories, carpet weaving, the "Khiva Gilami" joint-stock company, and other carpet weaving enterprises, as well as a bread factory, a farmer's market, cultural, trade, and service establishments are operational. There are branches of Urgench University specializing in agro-management, the Uzbek Academy of Sciences Khorezm Mamun Academy, the Qoraqum Scientific Research Station, pedagogical, medical, and tourism colleges, vocational lyceums, a gymnasium, 15 general education schools, a house of culture, 2 special boarding schools, a regional puppet theater, an art school, 2 libraries and their branches, and cultural and recreational gardens.[11][12]

The central hospital, polyclinic, maternity hospital, children's hospital, dental treatment center, central pharmacy, specialized clinics, and other medical facilities are available in the district. Historical and architectural sites in the area include :
the Sayd Alauddin mausoleum, the Pahlavon Mahmud Complex, the Juma Mosque, the Old Ark, Oqshayx Bobo's Palace, Toshhovli Palace, Nurullabai Palace, Muhammad Aminxon Madrasah, Muhammad Rahimxon Madrasah, Islamkhodja Madrasah and Minaret, Olloqulixon Madrasah, Qutlughmurad Inoq Madrasah, Olloqulixon Caravanserai and its market, Anushakhan Bathhouse, Oq Mosque, Polvon Gate, Ota Gate, Bogcha Gate, Tosh Gate, Hazorasp Gate, Kush Gate, and more.[13][14][15]

The town publishes the "Khiva-Sharq Gavhari" magazine (since 2001) and the "Khiva Tongi" district newspaper. The town is a prominent center for global tourism, attracting over 200,000 tourists every year, including nearly 7,000 international visitors. "O'zbekTurizm" national company operates in the town, and several private guesthouses are in operation.

A trolleybus line was established from Khiva to Urgench in 1997. Bus and minibus routes connect Khiva to Tashkent, Bukhara, Navoi, Samarkand, Urgench, Qo'shko'pir, Yangiariq, Bog'ot, Hazorasp, and other major cities and population centers in the region.[16]

Archaeological and cultural significance


Khwarazm occupies a special place in the list of values of universal importance as a major center of world civilization and one of the important centers on the Silk Road.

The unique values of world significance include architectural monuments of Khiva, which has rightfully earned the title of "museum city".

The image of modern Khiva is mainly formed by the architecture of the period of Khiva Khanate of the late XVIII - early XX centuries.

But archaeological excavations underway here show that at the base of a number of relatively "young" remains of buildings are ancient layers dating back to the III and even earlier centuries BC.

Overview of architectural monuments of Khiva


Most of Khiva's architectural masterpieces are concentrated in its urban core - Itchan Kala. It is a "city within a city" surrounded by powerful fortress walls with four gates on each side of the world.

One of the main highways runs from the western gate to the eastern gate, along which the main monumental buildings are concentrated.

From the observation tower of Ak-Sheikh-bobo Itchan-Kala can be seen like in the palm of your hand. The unusual silhouette of the Kalta Minor minaret attracts attention, as if cut down to the middle.

Its massive trunk, exquisitely decorated with wide and narrow belts of glazed brick, indicates that it was conceived as a grandiose, majestic structure, the main vertical of the city.

But after the death of the khan, under whom the minaret was built, it remained unfinished, receiving the name of Kalta (short).

Very close to the Kalta Minar is the Muhammad Aminxon Madrasah, the largest of the preserved buildings of higher theological educational institutions.

The peculiarity of its architecture is the twin hudjras - cells for living of students. Belts of colored brick sets and majolica facings decorate the building wonderfully.

On the territory of Konya Ark (Old Fortress) there is the palace of Muhammad Rahimxon I with rich and unusual interior decoration.

The walls of the hall are decorated with ganch carving with coloring. The neighboring two-storied building is a harem. There are many rich chambers, living rooms.

The Juma Mosque (X century, 1788) is amazing in its beauty. On the entrance doors the date of construction - 1778-1782 years is preserved.

But 210 columns of the mosque, supporting the roof, are much older - from XII to XV centuries. The columns are remarkable for their amazing slenderness, rich ornamental carving.

They were brought here from other ancient buildings, so many columns are unique and do not resemble each other.

At the gates of Polvon darvoza there is a whole ensemble of buildings. The main palace of Khiva khans Toshhovli occupies a special place here.

The architecture of its numerous apartments and decorative furnishings are unique. There are ornamental wood carvings, majolica facings and figurative cartouches.

The palace of Kurnysh-khan was intended for lavish receptions. Once there was a wooden throne in the throne room decorated with silver chasing on a red background.

The building has a beautiful iwan with columns. The palace is also remarkable for its rich majolica wall lining with intricate ornaments.

The Pahlavon Mahmud Memorial Complex was built in memory of the revered Khiva poet, who after his death was canonized as the patron saint of the city.

Nearby is the 45-meter high Islomxo‘ja minaret topped with a through lantern with a dome on top. In the outer part of the city - Dishan qalʼa - there are also many ancient architectural monuments.

Notable people from Khiva


The following people were born in the city.

Sister cities


The following is a list of Khiva's sister and twinned cities:

See also



  1. ^ "Viloyat bo'yicha shahar va qishloq aholisi soni" [Urban and rural population in the region] (PDF) (in Uzbek). Xorazm regional department of statistics. Archived from the original on 2023-03-22. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  2. ^ "Classification system of territorial units of the Republic of Uzbekistan" (in Uzbek and Russian). The State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on statistics. July 2020. Archived from the original on 2022-07-02. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  3. ^ В. А. Булатова, И. И. Ноткин, Архитектурные памятники Хивы. (Путеводитель), Ташкент, 1972; Хива. (Архитектура. Фотоальбом), Л., 1973; Г. Пугаченкова, Термез, Шахрисябз, Хива, (М„ 1976).
  4. ^ Patrologia Orientalis Tom. Decimus, p.291 https://archive.org/details/patrologiaorient10pariuoft
  5. ^ Nashriyoti, Davr (2012). Khiva: The City and the Legends. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Davr Nashriyoti LLC. p. 2. ISBN 9789943339262.
  6. ^ "khiva". Archived from the original on 2021-05-09. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  7. ^ a b "Khiva". Encyclopædia Britannica. May 16, 2018. Archived from the original on August 2, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  8. ^ Mayers, K. (2016). The First English Explorer: The Life of Anthony Jenkinson (1529-1611) and His Adventures on the Route to the Orient. Storbritannien: Matador. p. 121
  9. ^ "Khiva Travel Guide". Caravanistan. Archived from the original on 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2021-03-13.
  10. ^ "Shergazi-Khan Madrasah, Khiva". Advantour. Archived from the original on 2021-05-15. Retrieved 2021-06-17.
  11. ^ "ANATOLIY YERSHOV. XIVA — QO'RIQXONA SHAHAR (1988)". www.ziyouz.com. 18 August 2016. Archived from the original on 2023-10-29. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  12. ^ "Xudoybergan Devonov - birinchi o'zbek fotografining boy ijodi va ayanchli qismati". kun.uz. Archived from the original on 2023-10-30. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  13. ^ "Xiva". uztarix.narod.ru. Archived from the original on 2023-10-30. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  14. ^ "Xiva – o'tmishga ochilgan vaqt darvozasi". otpusk.uz. Archived from the original on 2023-10-29. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  15. ^ "Fotojamlanma: Xiva - Jahon merosi durdonasi joylashgan shahar". kun.uz. Archived from the original on 2023-10-30. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  16. ^ "ANATOLIY YERSHOV. XIVA — QO'RIQXONA SHAHAR (1988)". Xiva. Archived from the original on 2023-10-30. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  17. ^ "Khiva and San Lorenzo del Escorial have become sister cities". Archived from the original on 2021-07-29. Retrieved 2021-02-13.


  • Campaigning on the Oxus, and the Fall of Khiva, MacGahan, (London, 1874).
  • A Ride to Khiva: Travels and Adventures in Central Asia, Frederick Burnaby, (OUP, 1997; first published 1876).
  • Russian Central Asia, Lansdell, (London, 1885).
  • A travers l'Asie Centrale, Moser, (Paris, 1886).
  • Russia against India, Colquhoun, (New York, 1900).
  • Khiva, in Russian, S. Goulichambaroff, (Askhabad, 1913).
  • A Carpet Ride to Khiva, C. A. Alexander, (London, 2010).