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Khiva

About Khiva, the world heritage

Welcome to Khiva!

Khiva is one of old cities of ancient Khorezm, the pearl of eastern middle age architecture. Khiva lies 25 kilometers south of present-day Urgench.
According to the legends Khiva was founded by a son of Noah, Shem when he dug a well in the middle of the desert. People who drank water of that well exclaimed as “Khey-vakh” which roughly means “sweet water.” And this area became a caravan destination because of merchants’ frequent visit. For the next thousand years the area was inhabited by several tribes that used the Amudarya river for irrigated agriculture.
According to the archeologists Khiva was founded in the 5th or 4th centuries B.C. As the first major structures were built, the city became known as trading post on the Silk Road.
First written sources date from the 10th century. The Arab traveler Al-Istarkhiy mentioned Khiva among the 30 important cities in Khorezm. The Arab geographer Ibn Batuta visited Khiva in the 14th century. He praised the ruler’s untiring care of law, order, and reported that the city was so full of people that it was almost impossible to find one’s way in a crowd.

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