Khiva- a city of historical myths and legends
One of the unique and magnificent examples of medieval oriental architecture is Khiva city. It is located 25 km south of Urgench city of Khwarezm province of Uzbekistan.
According to the narratives, the city of Khiva was established during the son of Prophet Noah, Sam. There is an interesting story of the name of the city frequented by the merchants due to caravan being on its way. During a long and difficult journey, one of the trade caravans who had passed through the desert to Kviva finds a water-well. After drinking the water from the water-well, they say "hey wah". The local people who heard about it started to use the names "hey wah", "Hayvah", "Hivah" among themselves for this water-well, and it is rumoured that the name of the city emerged as a result.
Khiva and its surroundings were irrigated and cultivated with Haykanik river (now Polvoniop). This river was separated as a reach of the Amu Derya river. The result of the archaeological excavations carried out by the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan in 1984-1993, the land of Ichan-Kala castle (Ichan Qala) shows that it emerged in the Vth century.
The city of Khiva, locating on the Great Silk Road, has become urbanized and beautiful up to the hundredth century. However, the city was destroyed in the XIII century because of Mongolian invasion. After the Mongolian invasion, buildings were built in the oriental architecture in the city until 1740, when the Iranian Nadir shah invaded the city, it was developed again. As a result of Nadir shah’s attack, Khiva was completely destroyed and became a land dependent on Iran. Nomadic Turkmen tribes laid claims to city for several years, and as a result of the bloody conflict between them and the local Uzbek administrators, the city was destroyed, and the people of the region became poor. The bloody battles and conflicts that did not last very long had come to an end, and in the early 19th century, the Khiva Khanate was ruled by the Kongrat Dynasty until 1920.
By the 19th century, the city was divided into two parts: the Ichan Kale Shehristan (inner city) and the Deshan Kale (outer city). There were dozens of villages emerged around the city.
Ichan-Kale Shehristan with its own architectural structure, is surrounded by a wall with a height of 7-8 meters, a thickness of 5-6 meters and a total length of 2200 meters. Ichan Kale is a rectangular quadrangle with a length of 650 meters and a width of 400 meters and a total area of 26 hectares. The walls of the fortress have been repaired and restored several times over time.
The Deshan Castle was built around the Ichan Kale in the mid-19th century. Deshan Kale was known as a region where artisans and small merchants lived.
The wall surrounding the Deshan Kale is 6,250 meters long. There are ten walls of casttle: Hazarasp, Pishkanik, Angariq, Sikhlar, Tazebag, Shahimardan, Dashyak, Gadoylar, Kosha gate and Gandimyon. Apart from the house in the Deshan Kale, there are the inn houses, cottage houses and three gardens: Rofanik, Nurullabek and Nurullaboy. With the construction of the Deshan Fortress, the city was divided into two parts and the city area expanded several times.
Until 1920, in the Ichan-Kale district of Khiva were 34 neighborhoods and in the Deshan Kale, there were 33 neighborhoods. The city consisted of 109 big and small streets, 79 mosques and 64 madrassas.
Khiva being one of the most important centers of the Great Silk Road from China to Rome, entered the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites on December 12, 1990. Khiva is the first city in Central Asia to enter this list.
The "Ichan Kale" in Khiva is one of the oldest museums in Uzbekistan. Ichan Kale, known today as an open-air museum, has 54 historical architectural structures, 360 houses and 2,600 people residing.
There are about 40 thousand rare buildings in the Castle of Khiva, which reflects the material and spiritual culture of the 3,000-year history of Khwarezm.