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  Tashkent   Samarkand   Khiva   Bukhara   Termez  
Khiva is a contemporary of Babylon. It is one of the capitals of ancient Khorezm. The father of history, Herodotus, wrote about Khorezm. The greatest property of the mankind – “AVESTA” – was written here. It is the holy book of Zoroastrianism, the statute of rules and legal norms.

Along with Samarkand and Bukhara, Khiva was one of the greatest centers on the Great Silk Road. Trade and crafts had flourished here. Significant and active mutual influence occurred between the cultures of the West and East, North and South. Time and wars destructed the walls and constructions secured by them. However, regardless of its venerable age – 2 and half thousand years old – the city still preserved the masterpieces of its architecture.
Khiva is divided into two parts – “Ichan-Kala”, which literally means “Inner Fortress”, with citadel called Kunya-Arc and with “Dishan-Kala” outer fortress in the suburbs.
“Ichan-Kala” is a quarter million square meters of antiquity. Its protective walls are 10 meters high. There are four gates in the city, looking at four parts of the world.
Minarets, mosques, mausoleums of the saints and burial-vaults of former rulers constructed at different times by various architects gradually sink from one into another.
Pakhlavan Mahmud (13-14th Centuries) – an epic hero, philosopher and poet – deserved a merited authority in the town and was canonized as the patron of Khiva.

They say that no one was as good as Pakhlavan in hand-to-hand fight. According to the legend, upon his triumphal return from one of the fights in India, he brought 2 large logs. Two carved columns were produced out of these logs for Djuma-Mosque.
In total there are 213 columns in this extraordinary mosque. They are all different in shape and pattern of carving. A flat roof is supported by all those columns, and there is an outlet for light and ventilation in the roof. Regardless of enormous dimensions of the premises, it was never stuffy or dark during the prayer. In the 18th Century after a fire, the mosque was restored and some columns were replaced.
The smallest madrasah and the highest minaret in Khiva are represented by Islam-Khodja set of constructions.
Almost 45-meter tall minaret finishes with a transparent bay window with a dome on the top and it is peculiar for its elegance and facility.
The exact antithesis of it is the minaret called Kalta-Minor, which seems to be cut off in the middle. While having the foundation of 14.5 meters in diameter, the height of the minaret is only 26 meters. Indeed, according to the design of Muhammad Aminkhon, it was supposed to be higher that the famous Kalyan Minaret in Bukhara.
According to different assumptions, its height was thought to be from 70 to 110 meters. We are uncertain about the reasons why it remained uncompleted, gaining the name Kalta, meaning “short”.
Amin-Khana Madrasah nearby Kalta-Minor – is the largest of all spiritual and educational institutions in Khorezm.
It had been peculiar for its comfortable rooms for residing and studying. A rich library was also located here.
Speaking of the contribution of Khorezmian people to the world science and culture, we can recall the fact that the prominent mathematician Al-Khorezmi introduce such concepts as “algebra” and “algorithm” into the world science. He introduced Arabic numerals, zero, arithmetic calculations with whole numbers and fractions.
Another large scientist Al-Biruni produced one of the very first scientific globes, allowing for identifying the position data of many inhabited areas;
– He calculated the distance to the Moon with a great accuracy;
The city surrounded by the sands of Kyzylkums, had been constructed tightly, one building near another. The thing which was a forced measure in the past, as a result gave a unique charm for the city and made it the travellers’ Mecca.

Khiva resembles the fairy tale from “One thousand and one night”.
Almost fully preserved ancient city was announced to be the reserve city back in 1967, and in 1990 its inner fortress – ICHAN-KALA – was proclaimed to be the historical monument of world significance by UNESCO.

© Sharqintour