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Khiva - Itchan Kala


Wedged between deserts, a strip of green land emerges along the banks of the Amu Darya River. Khiva, the great walled city of the Khans, lies here, still echoing the glories of the Silk Roads.

Large, intact walls form an impenetrable barrier with four ornate gates at each direction. Inside, splendid madrassas, minarets and monuments dedicated to the Khans adorn the alleyways filled with bazaars of silk, jewelry, trinkets and treasures. The aroma of freshly brewed tea cultivated from distant mountains mingles with the smell of kebabs. Every where you look, it is a feast for the senses. A transportation to a time lost among the modern world, only those from whispers of explorers of the past. Remarkably, this scene likely plays out the same in the 13th century as it does when wandering the streets of Khiva today. Along the thousands of miles along the Silk Roads, perhaps no other place echoes the glories of the past as much as this walled city exudes. It is a slice into a remarkable period of history.

Pondering memories along the Silk Road makes it easy to forget what actually happened though. Khiva, first recorded as a city in the 10th century really grew in importance a few hundred years later as the seat of the Khanate of Khiva. The grand constructions, though initiated by the Khan, were built by Khiva’s numerous slaves. In fact, Khiva became a leading slave trade center in Central Asia, where by the 19th century, over a million Persians and high numbers of Russians were transported and sold through Khiva’s walled city. While wandering the streets of Khiva, reflect also on its dark past - the horrors of losing freedom and the torture endured by thousands. Traveling along the ancient routes was a brutal game of life vs death. You may pass out through the harsh desert barely scraping on, only to find yourself captured and sold into slavery. Those who do make it through though, have stories and riches to last a lifetime.

Bursa Map.jpg
Silk Road Base Map.jpg


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