Khiva, open-air museum • Uzbekistan

Explore the captivating heritage of Khiva, Uzbekistan in less than 11 minutes. Traverse the corridors of time with ancient minarets and madrassas, marvel at the regal Kunya-Ark citadel, step inside the serene Juma mosque, and pay homage at the historical Pakhlavan Makhmoud Mausoleum. Delve deep into a city more than 2,500 years old, birthplace of great scholars and home to wonders restored to their prime. Join the journey through Khiva's history, where every monument tells a tale, and every corner echoes with the voices of the past.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.


00:56 • The Kalta Minar minaret and the Amin Khan madrasa

01:38 • Kunya-Ark Citadel

03:15 • Madrassa Abdullah Khan

04:13 • Juma Mosque

04:57 • Pakhlavan Makhmoud Mausoleum

06:50 • the city walls

07:20 • daily life



Legend has it that Khiva was built at the place where Shem, son of Noah dug the well of Keivah. If this legend is unverifiable, it seems however that Khiva, whose old name was Kharezm, was the capital of ancient Chorasmia whose name is cited by Herodotus, in the 5th century BC. Which would tend to prove that this city is more than 2,500 years old.

If we are far from knowing everything about the ancient history of Khiva, we know for sure that it was the birthplace of some of the greatest ancient scholars, mathematicians, atrrologists or geographers. One of the fathers of modern medicine, Avicenna, stayed there for nearly ten years, at the court of the prince of Khiva around the year one thousand, in the midst of an era of turmoil because of the incessant wars between Turks and Persians. .

A city located in an oasis in the middle of the desert, the inhabitants of Khiva have been forced to develop an ingenious irrigation system since time immemorial.

Nowadays, Khiva is a huge open-air museum, remarkably restored. The restoration of these old stones is such that one would swear that the monuments are new. Sometimes we would like to find a little authenticity in these ancient buildings for some. On the other hand, restored buildings perhaps give a better idea of ​​what they looked like in their prime.

Kunya ark

Kunya Ark (Old Fortress) was built towards the end of the 17th century and served as the residence of the rulers of Khiva until 1919.

This fortress includes, in addition to the king's residence, a summer mosque built in 1838. This mosque is dedicated to Abu Bakr, companion of Muhammad. Curiously, this mosque is not directed towards Mecca, this because of the heat having inspired in the architect another orientation in order to be able to benefit from a little freshness.

A prison is also part of the buildings of this fortress.

A bastion is the oldest building in the complex and was used as a guard room and an arsenal.

Finally, the most prestigious building, the throne room, was built at the beginning of the 19th century.

the Kalta Minor minaret

It was customary for the rulers of Khiva to build a minaret to perpetuate their name. The Kalta Minor minaret erected between 1852 and 1855 means 'the short minaret'. In fact it was not completed since its sponsor died before the construction was completed. And there could be no question that his successor would take him away. honor of the construction by completing the monument.

the Pakhlavan Mahmoud mausoleum

This funeral complex brings together various tombs, the first of which is that of a great 13th century poet and warrior, Pakhlavan Mahmoud.

Juma mosque

Also known as the Friday mosque, the Juma (or Djouma) mosque is a remarkable building built in 1789 consisting of a large hall with a flat roof, supported by 13 rows of 17 wooden columns. The columns have been recovered from earlier monuments, since some date from the 10th century. Others date from the 11th century until the 15th. And the missing columns were carved in the 18th century, when this remarkable mosque was built.


Khiva has many madrassas, Koranic schools often backed by large mosques.

minaret et madrasa, Khiva • Ouzbékistan

What's the weather like in Khiva?

about the place, Khiva:

The city of Khiva in Uzbekistan, about 1,500 years old, has about 90,000 inhabitants. It was the first Uzbek site to be included on the World Heritage List in 1991.

Although the city was partially destroyed, among others during the invasions of Czarist Russia at the end of the 19th century, all the monuments are perfectly restored and appear new.


Spoken comments in the film: 

The Koranic school (madrasa) Mohammed Amin Khan was built in 1851 and is currently transformed into a hotel to the chagrin of Unesco.

Next to the madrassa rises the Kalta Minar minaret, which means the unfinished minaret. The minarets were built to perpetuate the name of the ruler. Death swept away Amin Khan before construction of the minaret was completed, and his successor refused to complete the construction of a minaret that bore his predecessor's name.

The minaret was to become the largest in Central Asia with its planned height of 70 meters.



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Kunya Ark Citadel, Khiva • Uzbekistan

Kunya Ark Citadel

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Juma Mosque

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Nurullaboy Saroyi Palace

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