Khiva (near the Turkmenistan border, 35 kilometers south of Urgench) was a stop on the Silk Road, the home of desert khans that kept white people as slaves and a great center of Islamic learning, even during the Russian occupation that started in the mid 19th century. Straddling the Amu Darya, where the Karakum and Kyzylkum deserts meet, it is one of most Islamic and Middle-East-like cities in Central Asia. It is filled with madrasahs and mosques, Islamic art and architecture, arched ramparts, carved columns, turquoise domes, spectacular mosaic tilework, white-washed houses with magnificent carved wooden doors. It was one of the last parts of the Russian Empire to be claimed and one of the most resistant to the Soviet hegemony.

Modern Khiva is a small town with about 90,000 people, surrounded by state cotton farms. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, the Old Town of Khiva, called the Itchan Kala, has been preserved and restored like a museum piece and often seems empty of tourists in part because its harder to get to than Samarkand or Bukhara. The ancient mosques, minarets, palaces, Madrasahs, and homes, which lie along a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys, were painstakingly restored by the Soviets and turned into museums. There are many madrasahs as Khiva was near its height as an Islamic learning center before it was taken over by the Russians. Few modern structures obstruct the view.

But like the old town in Bukhara, Khiva seems sterile and is badly in need of some ordinary people living ordinary lives and working. Every thing looks too neat and clean and well restored and if anything this runs contrary to what one expects to find in an ancient city known more for its slave trading, torture and beheadings than its mosques and Madrasahs. In its day Khiva no doubt was a tough place with rough people milling around as well Islamic scholars and their students. Today, outside the walls are Russian buses with the their engines idling and vendors selling Pepsi and kvass.

History of Khiva

Khiva was known as Khwarizm in ancient times and was the home of Abu Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, the mathematician who gave the world algebra and algorithms. He was a Persian scholar who produced works in mathematics, astronomy, and geography. Around A.D. 820 he was appointed as the astronomer and head of the library of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. The astronomer, historian and polymath, Al-Biruni. (Abū Ray ān Mu ammad ibn A mad Al-Bīrūnī, A.D. 973-1048) was born in either Khiva or the nearby city of Kath.

Itchan Kala, the inner fortress of Khiva, is located to the South of the Amu Darya River (known as the Oxus in ancient times). It was one the last resting-place of Silk Road caravans before crossing the desert to Persia. Khiva was much less visited than Samarkand and Bukhara in the times of the Mongols and Tamerlane but prospered later through the sale of slaves and providing a refuge in a region dominated by wild horsemen. It grew into a large conservative religion center with many Madrasahs. Off and in it was the home of powerful khans that played a part in balance of power in Central Asia and was a power in its own right beginning in the 16th century.

In the early nineteenth century, three Uzbek khanates—Bukhara, Khiva, and Quqon (Kokand)—had a brief period of recovery. However, in the mid-nineteenth century Russia, attracted to the region’s commercial potential and especially to its cotton, began the full military conquest of Central Asia. By 1876 Russia had incorporated all three khanates (hence all of present-day Uzbekistan) into its empire, granting the khanates limited autonomy. By the turn of the twentieth century, the Russian Empire was in complete control of Central Asia. The territory of Uzbekistan was divided into three political groupings: the khanates of Bukhara and Khiva and the Guberniya (Governorate General) of Turkestan.

After 1900 the khanates continued to enjoy a certain degree of autonomy in their internal affairs. However, they ultimately were subservient to the Russian governor general in Tashkent. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Jadadist movement of educated Central Asians began to advocate overthrowing Russian rule. In 1916 violent opposition broke out in Uzbekistan and elsewhere, in response to the conscription of Central Asians into the Russian army fighting World War I. When the tsar was overthrown in 1917, Jadadists established a short-lived autonomous state at Kokand (Quqon). They were eventually put down. In 1924 the Soviet Union established the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, which included present-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Tajikistan became a separate republic in 1929.

Slave trading reportedly continued in Khiva until 1970 and Khiva itself looked pretty much as did in the 19th century through the most of the 20th century. Beginning in 1960s a thorough restoration began. The first visitors were not allowed in until 1968.

Legends of Khiva

Khiva is one of the most ancient Central Asian cities, founded in the 5th century B.C. About the origin of the city and its name goes a lot of folk legends. One of the legends asserts that the city was founded by the biblical Noah’s son Sim. The legend says that after the Flood, Sim, who was wandering in the desert, lay down to rest and saw in his dream 300 torches burning with bright fire. Seeing in this message a foreshadow, Sim built the city in the shape of a ship, just as the torches were located in a prophetic dream. After Sim, he dug a well “Kheyvak”, whence the name of the city — Khiva. There is another story about the history of the origin of the city. For many centuries, the Silk Road passed through Central Asia, connecting the East and the West. The merchants stayed in this area to take a break from the long journey and gain strength to continue it. Having tasted delicious clear water from a spring, the merchants exclaimed with pleasure “Hey wah!” — “Oh, how beautiful!”. Locals called the well — Heyvak. Later, the village itself, built around a well in the midst of the endless desert, was called Khiva. The Kheivak well is still carefully preserved by old-timers in a small cozy courtyard near the northwestern wall of Itchan Kala. During the repair of the well, remains of a dome structure were found, as well as traces of the original ancient masonry.

Abulgazi-Khan, one of the most respected Khiva rulers (1643-1663), only had sons. At first he was very glad, but when his ninth son was born he confessed that he would like to have a daughter as well. A world from the ruler had the power of law. When the tenth baby was born the khan was told it was a girl. Abulgazi ordered that the girl be named after his favorite concubine Anousha. Many years later Abulgazi-Khan, a talented military leader nicknamed Bakhadur (strong man) for his heroic deeds, was taken prisoner by the Emir of Bukhara in one of the numerous battles he waged to strenghten Khiva's position. [Source: Dr. Oktyabr Dospanov, |~|]

His senior sons were in no hurry to help their father, and only Anousha set out for Bukhara. "Abulgazi-Khan has nine sons, why is it his daughter who came to help him?" asked the Emir of Bukhara. "And how are you going to liberate him?" "Promise that you will set him free if I surprise you," said Anousha. "If you surprise me I will set him free," said the ruler of Bukhara skeptically. Than Anousha took off her clothes and. . . turned out to be a boy. The khan was dumbfounded and set Abulgazi-Khan free. On returning home, the ruler of Khiva said, "It turns out that I have only one son - Anousha, and not nine. " In gratitude for his rescue he built a mosque and therapeutic baths and named them after his son. |~|

On How Khiva got its name: Many years ago, between the Central Asian deserts of the Kizyl-kum and Kaza-kum, on the spot where Khiva now stands, there was a very small settlement, which had no name. Very kind and friendly people lived there, and because of their fresh clean water, hundreds of caravans carrying silk, cloth, gold and spices from the Orient passed through. One day three strangers came to the settlement from Arabia, one whose name was Mohammed. They were very tired, hungry, and thirsty, and they wanted to drink the water from the well. When they tried the water, Mohammed exclaimed, "Khiva!", which in Arabic means, "Oh, how tasty is the water!" Afterwards, many settlers camped around this well. Soon it became a great city. The people of the city decided to name it Khiva, after the traveler's exclamation. |~|

Slavery in Khiva

Khiva prospered between the 16th and 19th centuries through the sale of slaves, most of which were sold in the large slave market in the middle of the city. In 1819, one foreign visitor to Khiva estimated that there were 30,000 slaves in Khiva, included 3,000 Russians. Russians, especially young and beautiful boys and girls, were highly prized. It was said that a Russian male in good health was worth four healthy camels. The Khan of Khiva kept the best ones for himself.

Most of the slaves were Kurds and Persians. Turkmen used to boast, “No Persian ever approached...without a rope round his neck.” Captives were often taken hundreds of miles from Khiva. For the long journey the captives were bound together by their hands and fed nothing but chopped straw. The slave trade existed in the French colonies and in America at the same time. Many argue that serfdom in Russia was no better or worse than slavery.

The slaves were supplied by Turkmen and Kazakhs who took hostages during raids and kidnaped anyone who was stupid enough to wander into their territory. To keep these tribesmen from raiding Khiva, the khans of Khiva hired Turkmen as mercenaries and provided them with land and money in return for security.

Sometimes the victims were Russian men working in their fields near Orenburg, or whole families in their beds at night. Other times they were Russian sailors who had strayed too close to shore. Most often, they were northern Persians travelling to visit relatives or traders with their caravan of camels. For Turkoman tribes, the 'Alaman' or raiding party was an integral part of Turkoman life. They would usually attack a settlement at night or a caravan at sunrise and would make full use of their reputation for immense cruelty and barbarism. [Source: ^]

Arminius Vambery, a Hungarian traveler disguised as a dervish was given hospitality amongst one of the Turkoman tribes. "Often," recounted one of the raiders he met, "The Persians, struck with a panic, throw away their arms, demand cords and bind each other mutually; we have no occasion to dismount, except for the purpose of fastening the last of them." Vambery was horrified at this trade in slaves and the wretched state of many Persians whom he saw in captivity. ^

"Let us picture to ourselves the feelings of a Persian, even admitting that he is the poorest of his race, who is surprised by a night attack, hurried away from his family, and brought hither a prisoner and often wounded. He has to exchange his dress for old Turkoman rags that only scantily cover parts of his body, and is heavily laden with chains that gall his ankles and occasion him great and unceasing pain every step he takes; he is forced upon the poorest diet to linger the first days, often weeks of his captivity. That he might make no attempt at flight, he has also during the night a Karabogra (iron ring) attached to his neck and fastened to a peg, so that the rattle betrays even his slightest movements. No other termination to his suffering than the payment of a ransom by his friends; and failing this, he is liable to be sold, and perhaps hurried off to Khiva or Bukhara! To the rattle of those chains I could never habituate my ears; it is heard in the tent of every Turkoman who has any pretensions to respectability or position. Even our friend Khandjan had two slaves, lads only in their eighteenth and twentieth year; and to behold these unfortunates, in the bloom of their youth, in fetters made me feel indescribable emotion, repeated every day." [Source: Arminius Vambery - Travels in Central Asia 1864]

On what he learned about the Central Asian slave trade, the Englishman Captain Richmond Shakespear wrote: "The average number of years of slavery of Turkestan is thus: males, ten years and a half, females, nearly seventeen. One of the males has been sixty years in slavery, and some of them only six months. Most men were seized when fishing and were from Orenburg.... With one exception they were all in fine health. They all seemed poor people, very grateful, and altogether it was one of the pleasantest duties I have ever executed." [Source: Richmond Shakespear, “A Personal Narrative of a Journey from Herat to Orenburg, on the Caspian, in 1840", 1842]

Cruelty and Ignorance of the Khivan Khans

The knanates who profited from the slave trade were notorious for their cruelty and their use of torture. In 1863, Vambery, observed eight men, lying on the ground, having their eyes gouged out by a torturer, who wiped his knife on his victims beards. He wrote “at a sign from he executioner, eight aged men lay down on their backs on the earth” and the executioner “gouged out their eyes in turn, kneeling to do so on the breasts of each poor wretch, and after every operation wiping his knife, dripping with blood, upon the white beard of the hoary unfortunate.” Men sentenced to death were often impaled in such a way that took several days to die. One khan decreed that anyone caught smoking or drinking alcohol would have their mouth slit so that they would be left with a permanent goofy smile not unlike that of the Joker in Batman.

On the punishment for flirting, Vambery wrote: “To have cast a look upon a thickly-veiled lady, sufficed for the offender to be executed by the Redjm according as religion directs. The man is hung, and the woman is buried up to the breast in the earth near the gallows, and there stoned to death. As in Khiva there are no stones, they use Kesek (hard balls of earth). At the third discharge, the poor victim is completely covered with dust, and the body, dripping with blood, is horribly disfigured, and the death which ensues alone puts an end to her torture.” [Source: Arminius Vambery “Travels in Central Asia 1864"]

The khans demanded huge taxes from farmers. They controlled the irrigation system and threatened to cut off water to anyone who didn’t pay. Despite this many large landowners became quite wealthy and owned palaces with elaborate gardens and rooms filled with works of art.

Khiva was very isolated and the khans were very ignorant. They believed the world didn’t extend much further than Uzbekistan and that the English were a caste of Russians. Even after the Russians arrived they refused to allow electricity, telephones and schools. One court member that encouraged reforms was murdered on the orders of the conservative clergy. At that time Khiva was one of the most dangerous cities in the world for outsiders.

Visiting Khiva

Khiva is less accessible than either Samarkand or Bukhara. One must fly about two hours to Urgench, and travel the last 25 kilometers by bus, minibus or taxi. Khiva can also be reached by road from Bukhara via a long road trip. It is possible to stay overnight in the nearby provincial town of Urgench, from where it is possible to fly back to Tashkent. Khiva has some accommodation but not as much as Bukhara and Samarkand

Old Khiva is a museum city, in which the many madrassas, palaces and other historical buildings have been restored. The Museum of Applied Arts has an outstanding collection of crafts and artwork. The the palace tower offers good view of the city. One of the city's mosques boasts 200 carved wooden pillars.

According to The Travel magazine: “At first glance, you might be forgiven for thinking Khiva’s old town, a walled pedestrian city, was built specifically for tourists. The glittering turquoise tilework, sand-coloured city walls, immaculate market stalls and towering minarets give the impression you have accidentally wandered into a living museum. ”

“Khiva offers the visitors the most stunning homogeneous collection of architecture of the late 18th century — the first half of the 19th century. Khiva is crammed with historic buildings. City’s ancient gates, a chain of minarets, including the 45-metre tall Islam-Hojja Minaret, the architectural complex of Pakhlavan-Makhmud, the patron saint of Khiva, congregational Juma Mosquewith carved columns of astonishing beauty, the exquisite Tash-Hauli Palace built in the 19th century as a residence for the emir, his entourage and harem. You would need days rather than few hours to discover this ‘museum in the open’, to explore its tiny streets, to lose yourself hundreds of times and “find” yourself gazing at another splendour.”

Museums and Theaters in Khiva

Museum of Crafts (inside Matpana-Baja Madrasah) presents exhibits reflecting the life and instruments of labor of Khorezm artisans. The skill of blacksmiths, gunsmiths, jewelers, bricklayers, tanners, potters, weavers reached the 19th — 20th centuries. high level. Khiva was famous for its jewelers, tinkers, wood painting masters, carpet makers. ganch (Uzbek-style stucco) carvers, chasers, woodworking workshops, workshops for the production of woolen fabrics, leather goods, worked the art of printing on fabrics. With many types of crafts, with tools, as well as the results of their activities can be found at the Museum of Crafts — the only one in Uzbekistan. Not far from the museum is a forge. In a small workshop that overlooks the street, a fire is burning, and a jug is made in front of curious spectators. So clearly demonstrates the art of folk craftsmen of Khiva. Address: Khorezm region, Khiva district, Y. Toshpulatov street. Hours Open: from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Tel: (0362) 375-31-69; 375-36-44

Museum of the History of Music was created in 1992 in the Kazy-Kalyan Madrasah. In total, the exhibition features 352 items reflecting the history of the development of music in Khorezm from ancient times to the present day. Date of construction of the Madrasah Kazy-Kalyan 1905. The exhibition area is 125 square meters. Address: Khorezm region, Khiva district, Islomkhoji street. Hours Open: from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Tel: (0362) 375-31-69; 375-36-44

Khorezm State Puppets Theatre (behind the fortress wall) features colorful folklore performances, Khorezm dances and various puppet shows almost everyday of the week. The puppet theater was established in 1993 in Khiva. Performances have included “Golden Watermelon”, “The Tale of Shokhsan”, “African Song”, “Golden Fish”, “Tuthihon Show”, “New Year Fairy Tale”. A highlight is the puppet-folklore performance “Khorazm Lasgishi” (“Khorezm Dance of Lazgi”).

Literature and History Museum of Khorezm

Museum of History and Literature (inside Madrasah Muhammad Rahimkhan is one of the largest madrasahs in Khiva, built in 1876 at the behest of Khan Seyid Muhammad Rahim II (1863–1910), also known as the poet Feruzshah. In 1994, the Madrasah was restored, and the the Museum of History and Literature of Khorezm was opened there. The museum exhibition covers a rather large area, including the lobby, the audience room and the winter mosque of the Madrasah.

At the entrance to the museum one can see the history, culture and art of the peoples living on the territory of the Khiva Khanate, formed at the beginning of the 16th century and the neighboring states of Iran and the Bukhara Khanate. Here you can get acquainted with the materials about education at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries in Khorezm of the centralized state, as well as the impact of its domestic and foreign policy on the peoples of Central Asia.

The museum presents for display the state symbols of the Khiva khanate — banners, money and original photographs of the last representatives of the Khans of Khiva, goods of commerce brought from foreign countries, Chinese and Russian porcelain, products of local artisans, weapons, clothing, household utensils and other exhibits. Address: Khiva, Itchan Kala, Madrasah Muhammad Rahim-Khan; Tel: (0362) 375-31-69; 375-36-44

Museum of Applied Arts and Life of Khorezm

Museum of Applied Arts and Life of Khorezm (inside the Madrasah of Kazy-Kalyan) includes works from the 18th - 19th centuries and some from of the 20th century. Visitors can get acquainted here with products of national craftsmen, who created beautiful samples of jewelry, carpet weaving, ceramics, wood and stone carving, and copper minting. The collection of women’s jewelry attracts with a variety of techniques characteristic of Khorezm.

Local features differed artistic metal processing. Ornaments covered elongated teapots (choydishi), trays, jugs for washing, pots for money changers, canisters, etc. Sometimes an inscription was included in the ornament, more often poetic statements. A sample of such a vessel is in the exhibition.

The museum features a variety of forms of Khorezm ceramics which reached it height in the 19th century. The exhibition presents works by famous masters — usto Allakor, usto Yusupkuolol, Iskander Kalantarov and others. The products are distinguished by their artistic originality, both in forms and in colors, mostly green. In the motifs of pottery painting, masters from Khorezm use specific subject images — jugs, knives, musical instruments, guns, etc. Khorezm is famous for its carved wood. The museum presents works of the national master of Uzbekistan, woodcarver Ata Palvanov, whose works were exhibited at international exhibitions. Address: Khorezm region, Khiva district, Islomkhoji street. Hours Open: from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Tel: (0362) 375-31-69; 375-36-44

Nurullaboy Palace

Nurullabay Palace (in the outer city of Khiva Dishan-Kala) is distinguished from the other palaces in Khiva built by khans in different periods by its magnificence, attractiveness, beauty and enchantment. Between the 16th and 20th centuryies, the Khiva Khans built a fairly large number of palaces, as if they were trying to convey their power and wealth to their subjects and descendants and prove their good taste in the field of architecture.

The palace consists of seven halls. Doors, windows and parquet floors were made by masters Germans who lived in the village of Ak-mosque (the village of Ak-mosque is located 15 kilometers east of Khiva in the territory of Yanigiarksky district). The interior decorations of the reception rooms differ from each other. Ganchevye carved patterns on the walls and ceiling of the palace were made by the master Ruzmet arbab Masharipov, Usta Nurmet, Hudaibergen Haji, Kuryaz Babadzhanov and others. Oil painting of walls covered with carved ganch (Uzbek-style stucco) designs was carried out led by master Vaisyaz Matkarimov. Images of flowers and angels on the ceiling of the building, made in the European style, were made by Russian artists. The second hall of the hotel (reception) was intended for banquets in honor of ambassadors and high-ranking guests. Its dimensions are 8x14 meters, height 6 meters.

The reception hall of the khan was located in the fourth hall, various agreements of national importance were signed here. The size of this room, called the octahedral, round hall is 10 meters, seven meters high. In the period of the Khan’s power, one mirror of 1. 5x3 meters in size was installed in each corner of this hall. The ceiling of this room is made of wood, where, with extraordinary skill, elegant geometric shapes are executed and a thin layer of gilding is applied. When decorating the ceiling, Khiva masters Babadjan Kalandar, Masharip Kalandar, Vaisyaz Matkarimov and others showed their art. Wavy cornices installed under the ceiling were brought from Russia, wrapped in special paper. In the middle of the sixth hall ceiling, ganch-carving masters painted images with Muslim crescent and sun symbols, here on four sides of the ceiling, Russian masters painted with oil paints angels (one angel on each side). On the ceiling of the seventh room of the hotel (mehmanhany) the patterns in the form of peacock feathers are beautifully executed and precious stones of various colors are set. Ganchevye carved patterns on the walls are very elegant and painted in a bronze color.

In order to heat the palace in winter, seven faience (porcelain) stoves were brought from Russia. These stoves consisted of individual tiles, and they were laid down by Russian craftsmen. The stoves were heated with saxaul. In the Khiva Khanate another innovation was introduced — electric chandeliers for the hotel were delivered to Khiva. Due to the fact that they were large and heavy, special wooden devices were made on the roof of the palace. Chandeliers were hung on these pyramidal devices. In order to light the electric lamps on the chandeliers in Khiva, a small engine of sixteen horsepower was brought. The first electric light bulb in Khiva was lit by Musa Sabanovich Yangiurazov, called from the city of Syzran, located on the banks of the Volga River. For the construction of the khan’s reception, 70,000 tills were spent from the khan’s treasury (126,000 sums equivalent to that time). The building of the palace of receptions during the period of the power of the Soviets was used as the home of the government, in subsequent periods — the home of education and the museum.

History of Nurullaboy Palace

During the reign of Mohammed Rahimkhan I in the old city (now Itchan Kala), it became crowded due to the large scale of housing construction and the ability to build large palaces with gardens. Mohammed Rahimkhan I, for his sons Mahmud Tür, Mohammed Türi built to the west of the fortress walls of the city (Itchan Kala) the country palaces of hauli (from pahs blocks). More than a quarter of a century after that (when the fortress walls of Dishan-Kala were already erected) and the ascension to the Khiva throne, Seyid Mohammed Khan (1856), instructed his vizier Hasanmurad kushbegi to build a kuryshkhana palace nearby.

According to the records of the Khiva historians of Bayan and Agekhi, the building of the Kurnyshkhan (palace of receptions), built on the east side of the newly constructed buildings in the garden, known as “Nurullabay” was very beautiful. Agekhi composed for him a chronogram of the following content: “Krinishkhona u Valo” (“the great kuryynshkhana”). By calculating the numerical expression of these words using abjad, the Hijra date is 1276 (1859) year. At one time, during the summer, ceremonies were held in the open-air kurynyskhane. The son of Seyid Muhammedkhan Muhammad Rahimkhan II Feruz (1864 — 1910), who sat down on the Khan’s throne after his father, asked the rich merchant Nurullabaya from Khiva to sell him this garden. Nurullabay agreed, but with the condition that the name “Nurullabaya garden”, long known among the people, the khan left behind the garden unchanged. Khan gave his consent to the Nurullabaya conditions and bought a garden. Thus, the name “Nurullabaya garden” is preserved in the name of this area.

Mohammed Rahimkhan II in the garden Nurullabay built for his son Isfandiyarhan II a large palace with a harem (harem-khas, courtyard, part of the palace to which outsiders were not allowed). This inner palace was built in 1896 — 1904, and is surrounded by a high wall. The palace consisted of four parts (courtyards), from more than a hundred rooms, danhans (spacious corridor), guard-rooms (rooms for guards), stables, rooms for servants and a harem (fifth yard). The central entrance to the palace was through a special gate on the south side. Inside the gates were the Khan’s office, a divan (seat of the State Council), and rooms for personal guards. Tiled stoves, fireplaces brought from Russia in a disassembled form were installed in the palace premises slated for Prince Isfandiyar Türy.

After the death of Feruza, Isfandiyarhan II (1910 — 1918), who came to the throne, built for himself a new style of Nurullabay palace, and thus completed the construction of buildings in this garden. The new receptions palace was built with the aim of holding a ceremony of receiving high-ranking guests. Islam Khoja, Chief Vizier, opposed the construction of the reception room of Isfandiyarhan II. Due to the fact that the construction of the post-telegraph office and the hospital was already delayed, there was little money left in the state treasury. But after the categorical order of the Khan, he appointed his disciple Rakhimbergen Mahram Sahibkar (head of construction). The reception room was built in 1911–13. In the scientific treatise of Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor A. A. Abdullaev “Khorazmda Tibbiyot” (“Medicine in Khorezm”) there are such lines about the construction of this palace, “… Islam Khoja again went to Moscow and was at a reception at the head of the city, N. I. Guchkova. The head of the city of Moscow introduced him to Moscow architect A. M. Roop. ” The architects, led by A. Rooop, visited Khiva, consulted about the construction project of the hospital, telegraph and communication (mail), as well as the hotel (reception) to receive ambassadors and went back. Soon the project was prepared and construction began. For this reception, built in 1911–1913, special firing bricks were made. Clay for brick was brought from the village of Avaz dunak, located near the city, which, after special careful processing, was burned in 4 humbuzes (brick kilns). The masters Babajan Humbuz, Matyaz Bala, Hasan Pirsian, Kuryaz Babajan and others participated in the firing and laying of bricks. The roof of the palace was covered on top with thin iron sheets in the form of an awning (triangular).

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Uzbekistan Tourism website (National Uzbekistan Tourist Information Center,, Uzbekistan government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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