Khiva is a great place to start an acquaintance with Uzbekistan. Once you are there it will seem as if you have gone back several centuries ago to the 6th century. The city walls, madrassas and minarets are perfectly preserved here. You can walk along the wall, or through narrow streets - to plunge into the atmosphere of the ancient East.
The most ancient part of Khiva is Ichan-Kala (inner city), surrounded by walls, which were repeatedly destroyed and restored. The fortress walls were built of clay and have a kind of architectural ornament. To create defensive shafts, dried brick from adobe was used. The walls of Ichan-kala were built in the 6th-5th centuries. Before the Christian era and over time, several times were reconstructed.
There is a legend that during the erection of Ichan-Kala the same clay was used as during the construction of Medina under the Prophet Muhammad. According to another legend, Sim, son of the biblical Noah, dug a well of Haywak in the place where the delicious water flowed. Most likely, around the well grew a city. The well has survived, and today it can also be seen in Ichan-Kala.
Ichan-Kala has been turned into a state historical-archeological museum-reserve, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many monuments of architecture, but most importantly - it is inhabited. About 300 families live here. People live in this area as they have always lived. Basically, they are hereditary masters: blacksmiths, carvers, weavers. It is understandable. After all, the main source of prosperity of Khiva for more than three centuries was trade. In the Middle Ages Khiva was an important transit point on the Great Silk Road. All the caravans going to China and back, did stop here. From dawn to dusk, while the fortress gates were opened, a string of loaded camel swings moved through them in an endless stream.
The inner city of Ichan-Kala is built in the form of a quadrangle. The length of the walls of Ichan-kala is 2200 meters, which have gates that look to the four directions of the world. This is Ata Darvaza, the gate of Bagcha, the gate of Palvan and the gate of Tash. The total internal area of the city is about 30 hectares.
No other city has brought to us in such a secure whole part of the inner city (Ichan-Kala), which is densely built up, Due to this, the sights of Khiva are compact. On the territory of Ichan-Kala there are about 60 historical buildings. The most outstanding are the complex of the citadel of Kunya-Ark, the minaret of Kalta-Minor, the Juma mosque, the madrasah of Muhammad Amin-khan, the palace of Tash Hauli, the madrasah of Alla-Kuli-khan, and, of course, the symbol of Khiva - the minaret of Islam-Khoja