Khiva: An ancient city on the Shahra e Resham  Road with medieval mosques and magnificent palaces.

Khiva is surrounded by the Karakoram and Qazalkom deserts.

Khiva is a small city in Uzbekistan. It is surrounded by the Karakoram and Qazalkum deserts. It doesn't matter which way you come here because all roads lead to the ramparts of  Ichan Fort. One of the reasons for this is that all the must see places in Khiva are within this fort.

Khiva Is Surrounded By Karakoram And Qazalkum Deserts

The place is filled with more than 60 cultural sites, medieval mosques and magnificent palaces, as well as numerous museums, souvenir shops and craft studios.

The ticket house is located near the western gate also known as Ota Darwaza of Ichhan Fort. When I entered the fort through this gate, the bazaar was open at that time. Hats made of sheepskin called chugirma are used by the local people to keep their heads warm during harsh winters. When I entered the market. A Chugira seller was decorating hats in his shop.

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A little further on a woman was selling coats. My eye fell on a black and white jacket with a traditional Ikt print.

On the other hand, an expert wood engraver was sitting in his chair busy working on a beautiful wooden chess board. The lady who was busy making the carpet smiled at me for a moment and then went back to her work.

But surprisingly the market was almost empty and I was forced to think why there are no tourists here.

Local people call this city Hiva. Uzbekistan is home to three cities on the Silk Road: Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva.

Archaeological evidence shows that Khiva has existed since the 6th century AD. Once upon a time. This city was an important center of the Silk Road trade corridor. In the 16th century AD Khiva gained further importance when the city was made the capital of the Khanate, the 'Kingdom of the Khans.

During this period, Khiva was notorious for its slave trade. However, in spite of this, it was a paradise city for the travelers who left Bukhara with their goods of trade. After crossing the Qazalkum desert, when these traders reached Khiva, they would often stay here and collect the necessary supplies for their caravans before leaving for the arduous journey to Persia.

UNESCO, in its 'Silk Road Programme', introduces Khiva as a 'centre of education, science and culture. As well as the cradle of civilizations spanning centuries'.

Uzbekistan is home to three cities on the Silk Road: Bukhara Samarkand and Khiva

Given the city's rich history, I was surprised that today fewer tourists visit Khiva than Samarkand and Bukhara. Not to complain, but I was happy that there were not many tourists, so I was able to see these beautiful places in peace.

UNESCO declared Ichhan Fort as a World Heritage Site in 1990. However, the Uzbek government had already moved the residents outside the walls of the fort to preserve this cultural heritage and restore it to its original form.

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Today this fort has become a separate thriving city within the city. It has become a living museum.

Behzad Larry is the CEO of Voyager Expeditions, which takes tourists on trips to Central Asia. Leary describes Khiva as a relic of the past in the desert' and an ancient city that takes travelers back in time.

He says that Ichhan Fort offers visitors an opportunity to see its historical sites up close as well as a chance to interact meaningfully with the local population.

But Bukhara and Samarkand are more popular among tourists due to their proximity to the capital Tashkent. The mere mention of these names is enough to reflect their glorious past. There was a time when these cities were the centers of an influential network of trade routes stretching from China to Rome and Venice.

For about 1,500 years from 130 BC to 1453 AD, this Central Asian region was famous not only for the silk and spice trade, but also for all kinds of ideas and philosophies.

He further said that Khiva is completely different from other famous cities of the Silk Road. Unlike Bukhara and Samarkand, which offer a blend of past and present, Khiva evokes an ancient city trapped in time.

After visiting Bukhara and Samarkand I could understand what they meant.

Although locals do not live inside the fort, they come daily to work in their studios, shops, restaurants and teahouses.

Walking through the narrow streets of Khiva, I got to see a lot. A tiled palace, a multi-pillared mosque, a roadside sculpture of two men happily talking a ceramic studio and a carpet workshop next door.

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