The watchtower of the Khuna Ark, the fortress and residence of the rulers of Khiva, in Uzbekistan.




Khiva's Ichon-Qala is one of the great highlights of Uzbekistan. The perfectly preserved medieval walled town is home to dozens of mosques, medressas and mausolea, most of which are home to small museums. You need a whole day to see the sights, but try also to wander the streets during the cool of dawn or dusk when the town is at its most magical.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Khiva attractions

1. Mohammed Rakhim Khan Medressa

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East of the Kuhna Ark, across an open space that was once a busy palace square (and place of execution), the 19th-century Mohammed Rakhim Khan Medressa is…

2. Juma Minaret

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From inside the Juma Mosque, you can sometimes climb the 82 very dark steps up to the pigeon-poop-splattered gallery of this 47m minaret, for fine views…

3. Juma Mosque

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Almost in the centre of the Ichon-Qala, the large and atmospheric Juma Mosque is interesting for the 218 wooden columns supporting its roof – a concept…

4. Zindon

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The small, low-slung building to the left of the entrance outside the main Kuhna Ark fortress is the Zindon (Khans’ Jail), with a simple display of chains…

5. Sayid Alauddin Mausoleum

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This small mausoleum dates to 1310 when Khiva was under the Golden Horde of the Mongol empire. You might find people praying in front of the 19th-century…

6. Tosh-Hovli Palace

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This palace, which means ‘Stone House’, contains Khiva’s most sumptuous interior decoration, dense with blue ceramic tiles, carved wooden pillars and…

7. Kuhna Ark

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To your left after you enter the West Gate stands the Kuhna Ark – the Khiva rulers’ own fortress and residence, first built in the 12th century by one Ok…

8. Kutlug Murod Inoq Medressa

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This medressa (1804–12) faces the Allakuli Khan Medressa and has a nearly matching facade. It houses an art museum.