The only completely preserved town from the time of the Great Silk Road is Khiva. It is rightly called Khiva “Open Air Museum”. Most of the monuments of the city centre – Ichan-Kala – date back to the end of XVIII – the first half of XIX century. Since Khiva was situated at an important crossroads of the Great Silk Road and caravan roads converged here, four huge gates oriented to the cardinal points were built within the walls of Ichan-Kala. From the height of the fortress walls there is an overwhelming panorama of Khiva – a city from a true oriental fairy tale.
A number of minarets pierce the sky, among which the highest minaret in Uzbekistan is Islam-Khoja. The domes of mausoleums and mosques, sparkling with blue tiles, rise above the flat roofs of the houses. Several Khan’s palaces have been preserved in Khiva, and the most famous of them is the Tash Khoja Palace, a huge complex comprising palace halls, Khan’s chambers, flats of Khan’s wives and a Harem. The façade and walls of the palace are covered with mosaic majolica with magnificent carpet decorations.
It takes a few days to get to know the splendour of this city, to explore its narrow streets and to feel the atmosphere of an “Khiva – Open Air Museum”.