Another historical city that has great historical significance for Uzbekistan is a wonderful city Khiva.
The mention of this mysterious city as a major shopping center on the Great Silk road dates back to the 10th century. Here stayed the caravans that went to China and returned back. Khiva is a very ancient city where many monuments are situated.
On the territory of the Khorezm state, Khiva khanate was founded by Uzbek nomadic tribes in the early 16th century. Despite the name, Khiva did not become the capital of the khanate immediately. Only a while later, as a result of the change of the bed of the Amu Darya river, Urgench city, which was then the capital, was destroyed, this small but mighty city Khiva, became a new stronghold of the state.
In the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered the part of the Khiva khanate and the last Khan of the ruling dynasty was destroyed in 1919. Thus, Khiva became the capital of the Khorezm people’s Soviet Republic.
In 1967 Khiva was declared as a city-reserve and in 1990 Ichan-Kala was included in the list of historical monuments of the world importance according to UNESCO. Khiva is a regional center. According To N. Muravyev in the early nineteenth century, there were about 3 thousand houses in the city and the number of people living in it was about 10 000 people. In the middle of the last century the population of Khiva did not exceed 4000 people. And at the beginning of this century about 20,000 people lived in Khiva, according to statistics, its population has reached 52,000 people in 2009.
Legends of Khiva
Khiva – is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and therefore it has fascinating and mysterious legends. So, according to one of these legends, Khiva grew up around the well “Hey-Wah”. This well was dug by the order of Sim, the son of biblical hero Noah. According to the legend, which is passed from mouth to mouth Sim wandered through the desert for a long time after the Flood. Tired of the exhausting road, he rested and when he fell asleep, he saw 300 bright flares of fire in his dream. Having awoken, SIM considered his dream as an omen and decided to build a city here in the shape of a ship, as torches were placed in his dream. And he decided to dig a hole in this city and called it “Hay-Vah”. It is believed that the name Khiva was originated from it. In this well was incredibly tasty and cool water. The well still stands today, though with the growth of the city, now it is in the inner city – Ichan-Kale.
Of course, there is another legend about the foundation of this beautiful city. For many centuries, the Great Silk road passed through Central Asia, which connected the East and the West. And in the place where Khiva stands now, merchants often stopped to rest and to get water. And in the village was a well with an incredibly clean, clear and delicious water. All passing merchants admired this water, each time exclaiming “Hey wah!”- “Oh, how wonderful!”. Local people called this well “Hey-Wah” and later the whole settlement around the well, began to call – Khiva.
Yes, for its entire long history, Khiva overgrown with legends. And You will certainly hear them when you visit this amazing city. Almost the whole city is a real open — air Museum with a center in Ichan – Kala. Here, You can see all the architectural monuments of Khiva. As soon as You get inside of Ichan-Kala, as if You carried away hundreds of years ago in the medieval Eastern tale, with its cobbled streets, ancient alleys, walls that breathe with history. The city has not become a Ghost, it continues to live and it seems that you only need to listen, as monuments will tell you every story.
In 1990 the city was included in the world heritage List of UNESCO