Once the capital of the legendary Khorezmshah’s State, Khiva is a very ancient city. Its unique and different culture attracted travelers for ages. In the 10th century Khiva is mentioned as a major trading center on the Silk Road. All the caravans had a stop here on their way to China and back. From dawn to dusk, until the gates were opened, an endless stream of moving string of camels with baggage passed them.
At the beginning of the 16th century Khorezm State became home for Uzbek nomadic tribes, who founded Khive Khanate here. However, Khiva did not become immediately the Khanate’s capital. It happened only after Urgench, an existing capital, had been destroyed due to the change of Amu Darya’s channel. In 1598 Khiva became the main city of the state.
The Khanate of Khiva was a Central Asian Turkic state that existed in the historical region of Khwarezm from 1511 to 1920, except for a period of Afsharid occupation by Nadir Shah between 1740 and 1746. The Khans were the patrilineal descendants of Shayban (Shiban), the fifth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. Centred in the irrigated plains of the lower Amu Darya, south of the Aral Sea, with the capital in the city of Khiva, the country was ruled by an Uzbek Turkic tribe, the Khongirads, who came from Astrakhan. It covered present western Uzbekistan, southwestern Kazakhstan and much of Turkmenistan before Russian arrival at the second half of the 19th century.
In 1873, the Khanate of Khiva was much reduced in size and became a Russian protectorate. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Khiva had a revolution too, and in 1920 the Khanate was replaced by the Khorezm People’s Soviet Republic. In 1924, the area was formally incorporated into the Soviet Union and today is largely a part of Karakalpakstan and Xorazm Province in Uzbekistan.
Most of the city of Khiva is similar to the open-air museum. And the nucleus of this museum is the castle of Itchan-Kala. In 1990 the city was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This open-air museum city has survived from ancient times and hosts thousands of tourists every year. Come to see Khorezm and Khiva – center of ancient civilizations!