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Your Guide in Central Asia



The ancient pearl of Usbekistan is Khiva

Khorezm is it's modern name.

The Khanate of Khiva is former state of central Asia, based on the Khiva (Khwarazm or Khorezm) oasis along the Amu Darya River. The khanate lay S of the Aral Sea and included large areas of the Kyzyl Kum and Kara Kum deserts. Founded c.1511 as part of the Khwarazm state, Khiva rose in the late 16th cent. as a Muslim Uzbek state. It flourished in the early 19th cent. but was conquered by Russia in 1873; the khans subsequently continued to rule under Russian protection. Khiva's economy was based on agriculture, livestock breeding, brigandage, and handicrafts. The territory comprised the Khorezm Soviet People's Republic from 1920 to 1924, when the area was divided between the Uzbek SSR and the Turkmen SSR (now Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan). You come as an individual or in a small group, so lets show you Khiva, the way few foreigners have seen it.

khivaKhwarazm or Khorezm was an ancient and medieval state of central Asia, situated in and around the basin of the lower Amu Darya River; now a region, NW Uzbekistan. Khwarazm is one of the oldest centers of civilization in central Asia. It was a part of the Achaemenid empire of Cyrus the Great in the 6th cent. B.C. and became independent in the 4th cent. B.C. It was later inhabited by Indians who adhered to Zoroastrianism and used Aramaic script. Khwarazm was conquered by the Arabs in the 7th cent. and was converted to Islam. In 995 the country was united under the emirs of N Khwarazm, whose capital Urgench became a major seat of Arabic learning. The capital was a center of agriculture and trade and the residence of the ruling shahs. In the late 12th cent., Khwarazm gained independence from the Seljuk Turks. With independence it expanded its rule, and at the height of its power in the early 13th cent. ruled from the Caspian Sea to Bukhara and Samarkand. It was conquered in 1221 by Jenghiz Khan and was included in the Golden Horde . The development of caravan trade by the Mongols was profitable to Khwarazm. In the late 14th cent., Khwarazm, along with its vast irrigation system, was destroyed by Timur (Tamerlane). A century of struggle over Khwarazm between the Timurids , the descendants of Timur, and the Golden Horde was followed by the Uzbek conquest in the early 16th cent. Khwarazm became an independent Uzbek state and was known as the khanate of Khiva after Khiva became the capital. There are ruins of ancient forts, one of which dates back to the 6th cent. B.C. 

khiva 2Khiva- The museum under the blue sky Khiva may be a small city -- its popula tion barely tops 40,000 -- but its history as the best preserved stop on the old Silk Road gives it a broad appeal for tourists tracing the historic trading route. In the Khorezm oasis of the Kara-Kum Desert, Khiva was the capital of the Khivan Khanate from 1592 until the Bolshevik take-over in 1920. Nobody seems to know exactly how old this ancient city is, though the story goes that Khiva was founded by none other than Shem, the son of Noah ; at the very least, the city dates back to the 7th century, and probably much earlier. Despite its seemingly romantic history as a Silk Road oasis, the city became most notable as Central Asia's biggest slave trade center. For those who have seen old cities at their best and worst, Khiva may feel a bit like the Williamsburg of the East, for its genuine dirt and din were swept clean by an aggressive Soviet sanitation in the 1970s. Intent on transforming the traditionally teeming city into a living museum, Khiva was purged of much of its ancient bustle, and its buildings were scrubbed down (or, in the case of some landmarks, such as the 9th century Dzhuma Mosque, rebuilt) and turned into public exhibits. Khiva is a day-trip city - good hotels and other tourist services are in short supply - but it is a popular excursion from Urgench. Most of the city's mosques, minarets and other landmarks, renowned for their delicate majolica tiles and naturalistic paintings, are located in the historic Ichon-Qala area. Must-s ees include the exquisi te 19th centur y Tosh-K hovli Palace, the 225-foot tall Islam-Khodzha Minaret, and Pahlavon Mahmud's mausoleum, with its proverb-embossed tiles, honoring the great Khivan philosopher and teacher.

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