- Encounters with locals
- Place or Religious Monument
- Castle and fortress
- Place or Historical Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
The last oasis on the Silk Road, before heading to Iran or the Volga, Khiva has what charms many a traveler.
Upon arriving in the city, the strong fortress is imposing. When I entered the area, the network of small alleys, overhung by the minarets of Islam Kodja or Kalta Minor, made me dizzy and took me on a trip through time. It's too bad that there only few inhabitants in the city (aside from the northern part), only some boutiques, cafes, and hostels to accommodate the many groups of tourists.
An advantage, however, is that all of these groups are always accompanied by French-, German- or English-speaking guides. It's perfect for understanding the rich history of this ancient kingdom. If you're a fan of cultural visits, Khiva is for you !
Be aware that Khiva may be nice in a desert, but it can be very cold at night, especially if coming from Tashkent or Ferghana Valley.
Despite the absence of any sign of life after 7 p.m., Khiva remains my favorite town from my entire journey to Uzbekistan.. I enjoyed the complete lack of traffic within the central area, meaning that I could walk everywhere in complete peace and tranquility.
If you enjoy a good view, I firmly recommend climbing the many steep steps up to the Islam Khodja minaret to experience a panoramic view over the city and its architecture that is worthy of the "Arabian Nights."
Admire the view as the sun sets over the ramparts of the fortress, and the city is bathed in an orange glow, providing a wonderful opportunity to take some stunning photos.
Finally, my last tip about Khiva is to get out of the old town to discover the authentic local life of the Uzbeks outside the tourist enclave, where you can really get a sense of the atmosphere of the place.
Located in the middle of the desert, near the border with Turkmenistan, Khiva is an absolutely exceptional historical city. So well preserved that it is sometimes pejoratively dismissed as a "living museum" the downtown area bears witness to centuries of incredible history, with towering fortresses, mosques, and traditional clay houses out of which turquoise and emerald-green domes rise and glisten in the sun.
I was absolutely smitten with my stay here, and I would strongly recommend to anyone visiting Uzbekistan to spend at least one or two days visiting the city. Even though it's fair to say that the Khiva is a little quiet, and perhaps a little lacking in authentic, everyday life, it remains an absolutely unmissable destination.