According to PARADISDACHAT, Khiva is once the largest city of the state of Khorezm, which was formed in the 7th-6th centuries BC. in the territories of the modern Republic of Karakalpakstan and Turkmenistan. The city is located southwest of Urgench near the border with Turkmenistan.
According to legend, Khiva was founded by the son of Noah – Shem. The city was one of the main centers of the Great Silk Road. In the 16th century, after the channel of the Amu Darya River shifted and destroyed the former capital of Khorezm – Gurandzh (now Urgench), it became the capital of the Khiva Khanate and the capital of the Timurid dynasty.
Khiva consists of two parts: the inner city – Ichan-Kala, where most of the sights are located, and the outer city – Dishan-Kala (residential area). Inner city of Khiva – Itchan-Kala – Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fortress walls 2 km long, up to 10 m high and up to 8 m thick, ancient gates, percussion towers towering above them and numerous mosques, madrasahs and minarets, decorated with Khiva wood carvings and majolica cladding, have been preserved here. Most of the architectural monuments of Ichan-Kala were built in the first half of the 19th century. The main gate of Ichan-Kala is Ata-Darvaza. They are located in the western part of the Old City. The gate was built in 1842, destroyed in 1920 and rebuilt in 1975. Not far from the gates of Ata-Darvaz, you can see the Kheyvak well, at which trading caravans stopped in ancient times and which laid the foundation for the city. To the right of the Ata-Darvaza gate is the madrasah of Muhammad Amin Khan mid 19th century. This is the largest madrasah of Khiva and one of the largest in Central Asia. However, currently the madrasah is used as a hotel and office building. Nearby is the unfinished Kalta-Minar minaret of the late 19th century, which was conceived as the highest minaret in all of Central Asia, but remained unfinished due to the death of the khan. According to the project, the height of the minaret was to reach 80 m, and the diameter of the base – 14 m. The construction of the minaret stopped at a height of 29 m. To the left of the Ata-Darvaz gate, the old Kunya Ark fortress is interesting 17th century. It is a city within a city, as it is surrounded by a high wall. Inside the fortress were palaces, arsenals, mosques and prisons. The eastern gate, the cell of the holy Ak-Sheikh-Bobo, the room for receiving and registering people, the summer and winter mosques and the harem have survived from its buildings to this day. To the east of Kunya Ark is the madrassah of Mukhhamad Rakhim Khan, built in 1871. At the eastern gate of Palvan-Darvaz, you can see the main palace of the Khiva khans – Tash-Khauli. Its construction took place at the beginning of the 19th century. The palace consists of a harem, a place for official receptions (a round courtyard with rooms and iwans) and a courtroom.
In addition, in Ichan-Kala it is worth visiting the symbol of the city – the Islam-Khoja minaret. (1908), whose height reaches 57 m, and the diameter at the base is 9.5 m, the Juma mosque of the 18th century with 213 wooden columns that support the roof of the large hall of the mosque, the Pahlavan-Mahmud mausoleum of the 14th-16th centuries, built in memory of revered Khiva poet, who after his death was canonized as the patron saint of the city, and one of the oldest buildings in the city – the mausoleum of Seyid Allaudin of the 14th century. Itchan-Kala is surrounded by an outer city – Dishan-Kala. Unfortunately, only small fragments of walls and gates have survived from this part of Khiva.
East of Khiva, on the banks of the Amu Darya River, there is the Badai-Tugay Reserve.. It was created in 1971 to protect the tugai complexes of the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River and reintroduce the Bukhara deer. Tugai forests are ecosystems that stretch along the banks of perennial rivers flowing through the steppe and desert regions. The area of such forests is small, they occupy only a few tens of meters from the water’s edge on both banks of the river. In the lower deltas of the rivers, where humid areas are significant, tugai forests turn into impenetrable jungles resembling mangrove forests. In recent decades, the level of the Aral Sea has dropped sharply, which has led to the degradation of coastal and delta landscapes and the reduction of tugais. The area of the Badai-Tugai reserve is 6462 hectares. Tugai thickets occupy 70% of its area. In addition to tugai forests, you can see reed beds and steppe-meadow areas in the reserve. In the tugai, poplar, sucker, willow, shrubs and reeds predominate. The animal world is represented by more than 91 species of birds, 15 species of mammals and 15 species of fish. Wild boar, tolai hare, fox, jackal, reed cat (the largest cat in Central Asia), badger, weasel, steppe ferret, eared hedgehog and numerous rodents are common in the reserve. A special place among the protected animals is occupied by the Bukhara deer, or hangul. As a result of the economic development of the tugai, the Bukhara deer, previously numerous, was almost completely ousted from their original habitats. Unlike the neighboring desert ecosystems, there are many species of insects in the tugai, from amphibians, the green toad and the lake frog live here, from the reptiles the steppe tortoise, the Caspian gecko, the steppe agama, the round-headed takyr, foot-and-mouth disease, the arrow-snake, the water snake, the desert naked eye and the snake. In the Amu Darya, there are such species of fish as thorn, large and small Amu Darya pseudoshovelnose, pike, asp, Aral barbel, bream, sabrefish, carp, catfish, pike perch, silver carp, grass carp and snakehead. The world of birds is diverse, the buzzard, common kestrel, rock dove, long-eared owl, white-winged woodpecker, little turtle dove, little owl, crested lark, magpie, black crow, jackdaw, great tit, myna, tree sparrow, black kite and tuvik live on the territory of the reserve. One of the main protected species of Badai-Tugai is the Khiva pheasant. crested lark, magpie, black crow, jackdaw, great tit, myna, tree sparrow, black kite and tuvik. One of the main protected species of Badai-Tugai is the Khiva pheasant. crested lark, magpie, black crow, jackdaw, great tit, myna, tree sparrow, black kite and tuvik. One of the main protected species of Badai-Tugai is the Khiva pheasant.