Inner Mosque in Tosh Hovli palace.

© Kadagan/Shutterstock

Tosh-Hovli Palace

Top choice in Khiva

This palace, which means ‘Stone House’, contains Khiva’s most sumptuous interior decoration, dense with blue ceramic tiles, carved wooden pillars and elaborate ghanch. Built by Allakuli Khan between 1832 and 1841 as a more splendid alternative to the Kuhna Ark, it’s said to have more than 150 rooms off nine courtyards, with high ceilings designed to catch the slightest desert breeze. Allakuli was a man in a hurry – the Tosh-Hovli’s first architect was executed for failing to complete the job in two years.

Two separate entrances take you into two separate wings of the palace. The northern harem wing has some handicrafts exhibitions. Don’t miss the harder-to-spot and labyrinthine south wing, where the throne room, two brick yurt bases and a sumptuous aivan (covered portico) are located, along with a wonderful carriage dating from 1872. You'll have to avoid the young Uzbek couples canoodling in the dark corners.

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