Khiva Travel Guide

  • Khiva
    by DAO
  • Khiva
    by DAO
  • View from the top
    View from the top
    by DAO

Khiva Things to Do

See all 108 Things to Do in Khiva
  • THE WHITE MOSQUE

    The Ak-Mosque or Ak-Maszhid (“White Mosque”) was built in 1647 by the ruler of the day, Anush-Khan (1663-1687). Like so many of Khiva’s architectural wonders, this was built upon an older mosque and materials used from other buildings. The present building was finished between 1838-1842. An inscription on the building explains that the builders of...

    more
  • THE CAMEL OF KHIVA

    Her name is Katya. Or maybe it isn’t. In past years the camel’s name was Misha. She is an old camel and the only one actually allowed inside the Dishon Qala (old city). You may read some articles here on VT and on other sites regarding her welfare. I have to say, she lives a better life now than she probably did in her working life. Animal welfare...

    more
  • PAHLAVON MAHMUD MAUSOLEUM

    This mausoleum, domes and courtyard are an amazing collection of tiled tombs, an engraved stone sarcophagus and a beautiful wooden terrace in the courtyard. Pahlavon Mahmud (1247-1326) was an amazing man. He is both the patron saint of Khiva and also the patron saint of wrestlers. Yes, he was the greatest wrestler in the known world in his day....

    more
  • THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL MATHEMATICIAN

    Love him or hate him (like many of his students for the last 1200 years) – he is here to stay. Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi wrote a dissertation called ‘Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala’. His name and research created the word ‘Algorithm’. His published work became Algebra. Most historians just call him Al'Khwarizmi. So if you are looking...

    more
  • CHANGING MONEY

    Changing money in Khiva is easy, relatively hassle free and very quick. Quick as long as you change money on the streets. I usually would not recommend doing this, but I do here in Khiva within the walls. Just ask almost any seller and someone will magically appear. Just agree the exchange rate. Its best practice to work this out on your phone and...

    more
  • DJUMA MOSQUE

    I have never seen a more boring building and name from the outside – and been as delighted with the magnificence as this very special place. Djuma comes from Arabic الجُمُعة (al-jumuʿah) simply meaning Friday. Inside is an actual forest of wooden columns that has no equal in Central Asia. The...

    more

Khiva Hotels

See all 2 Hotels in Khiva
  • Hotel Asia Khiva

    The reason that you would probably visit the ancient walled city of Khiva – would be to explore the...

    more
  • Hotel Islambek

    I was quite happy that the taxi driver who brought me from Urgench airport suggested this hotel. He...

    more

Khiva Restaurants

  • EAT IN A YURT

    S3This is an old ‘chaikhana’ that has been operating in the very middle of the Pahlavon Mahmud (main ‘street’) in the old city for years. Its menu is simple and written on the board at the entrance. The decoration inside the restaurant however is amazingly ornate. Its really worth a visit. You can even drink and dine inside a real Yurt. Prices are...

    more
  • AWARDED FOR WHAT?

    On the front door of this restaurant is an award from the TripAdvisor Website. For what? Obviously not lunch, as I am about to explain. It is very nice inside and is tastefully decorated. I was greeted warmly and things started ok. I wanted a cold beer and a kebab. After a while and a reminder, my beer arrived. Then some new customers came into the...

    more
  • CLOSES EARLY

    You have probably heard of ‘Early Bird Specials’. This is an early bird restaurant! I looked at this very nice looking restaurant over several days, but every night I found that they had already closed. This is a great looking chaikhana serving grilled Uzbek dishes and has a very pleasant open front terrace overlooking a large ‘hauz’. This is the...

    more

Khiva Nightlife

See all 3 Nightlife in Khiva
  • Khivan nights

    If you’d ask me, the best nightlife activities in Khiva are incomparable with what one can normally do:(1) - wandering around the empty streets to soak up its mysterious atmosphere and shades(2) - find a high spot to marvel at the stars on a clear desert night

    more
  • Khiva at night

    It may seem strange to include a “nightlife” tip here, as you certainly won’t find in Khiva anything usually described by that term – no discos or night-clubs, no lively bars, cinemas or theatres. But strolling the streets after dark in an atmosphere so redolent of past wonders is a special pleasure, and one that means that an overnight stay here...

    more
  • Well, nightlife the Khiva way

    Don't expect any discos or bars in Khiva's old city. But if you stay for a night, it is nice to sit outside and watch the night world going by.I can only judge for the plaza around Kalta Minor (in the western part), where I was having dinner in Milliy Taomlar .Kalta Minor is illuminated in the evening, which gives it even a more mystic touch. When...

    more

Khiva Transportation

  • URGENCH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

    URGENCH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTThe easiest way to get to and from Khiva is to use nearby Urgench Airport (UGC). You can find a ‘taxi’ from outside the West Gate and pay 20,000 SOM ($8 US) to get a ride. This is per journey – not per person. I negotiated this down slightly, but it was a private car going to Urgench anyway. The ‘official’ taxis wanted...

    more
  • A long way west

    Khiva is some 1200 km north-west of Tashkent, and if your time in Uzbekistan is limited, flying there is an option you should consider. Most tours that take in Khiva make the flight one way, and then travel by road between Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent. Flights are operated by Uzbekistan Airways, flying a variety of Russian-built aircraft....

    more
  • Bukhara - Khiva - Tashkent

    Historic Khiva is located in the middle of the dessert, near the Uzbek town of Urgench, reasonably far from the main populated areas of Uzbekistan. Khiva – Urgench means 20 minutes ride by taxi, for about 5 euros, or 40 minutes by public bus. From Bukhara, there were no organised buses to Urgench when we wanted to reach it, i.e. November 2007....

    more

Khiva Shopping

See all 6 Shopping in Khiva
  • THE KHIVA BREAD DECORATOR

    If you need a really good souvenir – an interesting one – look no farther. I started noticing a lot of the stalls and shops sold the same souvenir and finally bought one from this nice lady. Across Uzbekistan you will bread shaped like, and often decorated like, a pastry. They make unleavened flat bread with a thin center and a thick outer ring....

    more
  • LIVING UP TO HIS NAME

    It is never a good idea to advertise that you are willing to rip off tourists. Mr Alibaba is the highest priced shop in Khiva. Yes, ALL prices in every ‘shop’ or stall are negotiable and you must haggle. Alibaba, or whatever his name is, starts his price at double any other seller I ran into. His shop is in a prime location right under the Kalta...

    more
  • To buy or not to buy ...

    I was all shopped out by the time I got to Khiva, my bags were full and I had firmly resolved not to be tempted - at all! by anything!! And then I saw the suzani in the photo here - it was so, so beautiful, quite THE most stunning piece I had seen outside a museum in the whole trip. No - I didn't buy it - my bags really were full to bursting and it...

    more

Khiva Local Customs

  • SAKSAUL FIREWOOD

    If you eat at just about and good restaurant in Khiva, you will see part of your meal grilled over a small piece of firewood. This is actually a pretty amazing piece of wood. The Saksaul tree can grow in desert conditions fairly well. It is resistant to both draught and salty soil. The wood is amazingly hard. What makes it probably the best...

    more
  • THE WEDDING LEADER

    Modern weddings across Central Asia follow the very distinctive Soviet-style way of spending the wedding day out and about. The wedding party is lead, herded, shouted at, prodded and directed by a Wedding Leader. More commonly it’s the bride’s best friend, but sometimes it’s the Best Man. Our intrepid wedding leader here was a very pretty lady who...

    more
  • The old religion

    Long before the arrival of Islam, Central Asia was a world where Zoroastrianism held sway. Centuries later, there are still vestiges of this, the world's first monotheistic belief, to be found throughout the region. Noruz, the celebration of the New Year according to the Zoroastrian calendar, is the most important and beloved celebration of the...

    more

Khiva Warnings and Dangers

  • Desert city: desert heat

    I prefer most of the time not to repeat tips that I’ve included on other pages, but not everyone will want to read my Uzbekistan page as well as this one and the heat in Khiva in July is so exceptional that I make no apologies for repeating my advice about coping with the extreme temperatures here.There are a number of things you can and should do...

    more
  • No warnings or dangers in Khiva !

    I cannot think of a real warning or danger in Khiva. Maybe I should mention that any building or minaret, you will visit, does not have any sign to warn you climbing up or entering (I come from a country where people use their common sense to know that they might fall off from towers when leaning over too far, so I am not used to look for warning...

    more
  • Khiva Hotels

    2 Hotels in Khiva

    1 Reviews

Khiva Tourist Traps

  • THE OFFICIAL EXCHANGE OFFICE

    Khiva actually has an OFFICIAL Currency Exchange Office. IT is a complete waste of actual time. I needed a small amount of money. I ended up having to argue with the lady behind the counter because she stated that they did not accept British Pounds Sterling. That would be the third rate down on the board in my first photo. After not taking No for...

    more
  • PAYING A LOT FOR NOTHING

    Be very careful. There is a sign just inside the entrance of the West Gate that seems to be saying you must pay to enter the Ichon-Qala. This is the name of the whole of the walled city. This is not strictly true, but please keep reading. It gets complicated!In past years there was an overall 2-day pass for ALL the historical sites within the...

    more
  • Photo opportunities

    In several spots in the old town we saw these “photo opportunities”, where tourists could dress up in traditional costume and pose in elaborate settings. It was far too hot though for us to want to put on layers of heavy clothing or thick furry hats, even if we’d wanted to pay for the privilege of looking a bit silly! There’s also a place where you...

    more

Khiva What to Pack

  • SOME PRACTICAL ITEMS

    Inside your hand luggage you should have a good guidebook - in your language - on Uzbekistan. Khiva is an absolutely perfect city to explore on your own with just a guidebook. Also the Tourst Information Offices (2) only seemed to speak Russian and Uzbek. They also did not have any maps.US Dollars are king here. Make sure they are the newest series...

    more
  • Travel light !

    As Khiva will be part of a tour within Central Asia, all what I suggested on my Uzbek packing list applies the same for here.In addition, you definitely need a daypack, just to carry your water bottles around. In addition for your Uzbek packing list, you need GOOD shoes, as you will be walking and climbing up and down all the time. Maybe it would...

    more
  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Khiva Off The Beaten Path

  • Watch out for all the smaller minaretts

    What I found most fascinating in Khiva's old city were the smaller minarets, which have not been mentioned in the city guidebooks. But you find them only when walking off the main streets and the crowd.My most favourite was Tura-Murad Tura minaret, which is in the street parallel to the east-west main street; more or less north of Rahim Khan...

    more
  • Crossing the Oxus

    This river flows to the north and east of Khiva, and cuts off this corner of Khorezm province from the rest of Uzbekistan. It is properly known by the name of Amu Darya, but in ancient times it was the Oxus, one of those places you’ve heard of in old history lessons but never dreamed you would see (another was the Euphrates which we saw some years...

    more
  • Statue of Al-Khorezmi

    If you’ve always hated algebra, here’s the man to blame! Mukhammad ibn Musa Al-Khorezmi lived about 780-850 and was the chief mathematician in an academy of sciences in Baghdad, though he came originally from Khorezm province. He is credited with introducing a decimal-based numbering system in the Arab world, and his name, corrupted by western...

    more

Khiva Favorites

See all 9 Favorites in Khiva
  • Beautiful ceramics

    Khivan tilework is an interesting contrast to that of Samarkand and Bukhara. Is it something to do with the heat and dust of the desert that impelled the ceramic artists here to work in such a cool palette and to such precise patterns that are quite different from the warmer colours and freer patterns of so much of the work seen in the cities set...

    more
  • Photographing Khiva

    As you wander through the sun-baked streets and lanes of Khiva do take time to notice not just the architecture but also the details which will provide variety and add atmosphere to your photos. A carved door, an especially beautiful piece of tile work, a small window letting in a shaft of light – all these will contribute to the overall picture...

    more
  • Misha has retired

    Guidebooks and tour companies all mention Misha (photo 4) - Khiva's lone camel - who spent years standing in the city's main square and who probably ended up featuring in every tourist's photo album. He was there on our first visit in 2005, looking as bored and as grumpy as only a camel can. Well, after 20 years of that, he's been retired and a...

    more

Instant Answers: Khiva

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

23 travelers online now

Comments

 
Explore Deeper into Khiva
TOURIST INFORMATION(?)
Things to Do
HOW TO CLIMB THE WALLS
Things to Do
WASHING CLOTHES
Things to Do
KALTA MINOR MINARET
Things to Do
BIG BEERS (TO GO!)
Restaurants
IF YOU ONLY HAVE 1 NIGHT
Restaurants
THE HIGHEST VIEW - ISLAM KHOJA MINARET
Things to Do
THE WORST IN KHIVA
Restaurants
Medressa 2: Artifacts and aerialists
Things to Do
Look up
Favorites
The best woodcarving
Favorites
Everywhere you turn in Khiva....
Things to Do
The Stone Palace 1
Things to Do
The Stone Palace 2
Things to Do
With a little help from our friends
Things to Do
Fair pay for their work
Things to Do
Nightime nosh
Restaurants
The lightest touch
Restaurants
A memorial for a mathematician
Things to Do
The unfinished minaret
Things to Do
A mausoleum for a muscular saint
Things to Do
Medressa 3: A plethora of medressahs
Things to Do
Medressa 4: Look through the layers
Things to Do
Unforgettable
Things to Do
An excellent website
Favorites
Seat of all power
Things to Do
Medressa 1: Where scholars once studied
Things to Do
In and out of the walls
Things to Do
Newest and tallest
Things to Do
As old as it gets
Things to Do
The Old Fortress
Things to Do
Within these walls
Things to Do
Weddings.....
Local Customs
Long suffering tourist camel Misha
Local Customs
Stone Palace (Tash Hauli) - Court of Law
Things to Do
Stone Palace (Tash Hauli) - reception courtyard
Things to Do
Stone Palace (Tash Hauli) - the Harem
Things to Do
Allah Kuli Kahn Madrassah (1834)
Things to Do
Kutluq Murad Inaq Madrassah
Things to Do
Juma (Friday) Mosque (1788)
Things to Do
Map of Khiva

View all Khiva hotels