"City walls" Top 5 Page for this destination Khiva Things to Do Tip by toonsarah

Khiva Things to Do: 116 reviews and 392 photos

  Khiva's walls seen from the Ark
by toonsarah
  • Khiva's walls seen from the Ark - Khiva
      Khiva's walls seen from the Ark
    by toonsarah
  • Outside the city walls, Khiva - Khiva
      Outside the city walls, Khiva
    by toonsarah

As I have said in my introduction, the old city of Khiva, Ichan Kala, is surrounded by ochre-coloured walls of sun-baked clay which form an effective barrier between the present-day world outside and the magical recreation of the past within. These walls change in appearance with the light at different times of day, and look at their best in the early morning or evening, when the clay glows warmly. At times they reminded me of the classic seaside sand-castle!

Some facts:
The walls are 2.2 kilometres in length (so you can see that this old city is not very large), strengthened along that length by forty bastions. They are truly ancient, dating in places from the 5th century. There are four gates, one in the centre of each side; the western gate, Ota Darvoza (meaning Father Gate); the northern, Bakcha Darvoza; the eastern, Palvan Darvoza; and the southern Tash Darvoza (Stone Gate). The first of these, the Ota Darvoza, is where most tourists enter the city, and is the most heavily restored, having been more or less completely rebuilt forty years ago (after having previous been pulled down to allow motor traffic to enter the city, something not now permitted except in a small area to the south of the Mohammed Amin Khan Madrassah).

However entranced you are by the old city, do take a few minutes to go outside one of the gates to experience the jolt of suddenly finding yourself back in the modern world, and to remind yourself what real life looks like! Outside the walls is also the best place from which to get a sense of their solidity and structure.

Directions: All round the city ;)

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 4, 2007
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