Khiva: 6 reasons to visit the tourist capital of the Islamic world for 2024

By TravelWiseApr 3, 2024 06:30 AMNews
Khiva: 6 reasons to visit the tourist capital of the Islamic world for 2024
Hiva offers tourists incredible architecture. Source: pixabay

The Silk Road city of Khiva in Uzbekistan is often described as a living museum. Its well-preserved streets, baked mud brick mosques, and majestic fortress walls recall the spirit of the Silk Road and its caravans that once passed through in large numbers.

This year, Khiva beat out cities such as Abu Dhabi, Lagos in Nigeria, and Urfa in Turkey to be named the Islamic World Tourism Capital of the Year 2024. The decision was made by 57 countries that are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This was reported by

UNESCO-listed architecture

The walled city of Itchan Kala in Khiva is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved sites on the Silk Road. This open-air museum, founded about 2500 years ago, is a maze of streets lined with dozens of intricately decorated monuments, most of which date back to the 14th-19th centuries. The architectural landmarks of Hiva include the 185-foot-tall Islam Hoja Minaret with its alternating rings of glazed blue tiles and sand-colored bricks. The 160-room Tash Khauli Palace, built for the 18th-century ruler Allah Quli Khan, and the simple but elegant Juma Mosque, whose roof is supported by 213 elm columns, each carved by a different craftsman.

Links with historical figures

Legend has it that Shem, one of the sons of Noah, the Old Testament prophet best known for his ark, founded Hebrews. However, it is easier for historians to verify the city's connection with important characters of the medieval world. The ninth-century polymath Al-Khwarizmi, often called the father of algebra and who gave his name to the scientific term "algorithm," was born here, as well as Pahlavon Mahmud, a poet and wrestler whose superhuman strength is still known in Turkey.

Diverse cultural programmes

With a dramatic and historical backdrop like Itchan-Kala, it's no surprise that Khiwa hosts festivals and other cultural events throughout the year. Highlights of the annual program include Nowruz, the traditional Persian-Turkish New Year, which is celebrated on March 21, the vernal equinox. The International Lazghi Dance Festival, a celebration of an elegant traditional dance form listed by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage and appropriately named Pahlavon Mahmud Strongmen Games, where athletes from around the world compete in extreme strength events such as lifting atlas stones and dragging huge anchors.

Khiva: 6 reasons to visit the tourist capital of the Islamic world for 2024
Khiwa impresses tourists with a variety of cultural events. Source: Pixabay

Preservation of cultural heritage

Khiva was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Asia, and great efforts have been made to preserve the historic city center. Balancing the residents' demands for modern amenities with UNESCO's requirements for nature conservation is no easy task. The entirety of Itchan-Kala is now car-free, and during the pandemic, local authorities took advantage of the lull in tourism to bury all electrical cables, and water and gas pipes underground and pave the previously uneven streets with attractive tiles. Many small monuments have been neatly converted into artisan workshops and bazaars, as well as cafes, restaurants, and hotels, and rental income from these businesses pays for the upkeep of this precious historic area.

Unique places to stay

Visitors to Khiva are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation options, which range from family-run guest houses to the four-star Farovon Khiva Hotel. But if you're looking for cultural authenticity and charm, the best place to stay is in the boutique lodges in and around the Ichan Kala area. The Orient Star Khiva Hotel set the trend of turning madrasas (Islamic universities) into simple heritage hotels, and the still subtle monastic atmosphere of hotels like the Muso To'ra and Feruzkhan is the real deal. However, if you prefer a little more luxury, Singaporean media personality Timothy W. Go opened his first hotel here, Hotel Bankir Khiva, in 2023. Timothy has a flair for interior design, and the rooftop terrace offers panoramic views of Ichan Kala.

Ease of access

In recent years, Uzbekistan has stripped itself of bureaucracy, and citizens of over 90 nationalities, including all UK and EU passport holders, can now enter the country without visas for up to 30 days. You can fly directly from London to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, three times a week on the national carrier Uzbekistan Airways, or you can travel via Istanbul and land in Urgench in western Uzbekistan. British tour operators such as Wild Frontiers and Trotting Soles offer small group and customized tours.

Top Articles
Top 10 most affordable airlines in Europe: which carriers offer budget flights and convenient ways to find cheap flights

Top 10 most affordable airlines in Europe: which carriers offer budget flights and convenient ways to find cheap flights

May 27, 2024 09:05 AM
The coziest places for senior vacationers in America

Golden vacations: ideal U.S. destinations for older travelers

May 26, 2024 10:46 AM

Top 10 safest airlines in the U.S.: statistics, causes of accidents and the world leader in flight reliability

May 25, 2024 09:13 AM

Oceanfront vacations: Top 9 Miami resorts with golf courses, tennis courts and glamorous parties

May 24, 2024 09:10 AM
More News
High-speed train passing through a cityscape with tall buildings

Hitachi Rail Begins Testing UK's First Intercity Battery Train

May 28, 2024 00:05 AM
Restored historic house converted into a luxury hotel

Spanish Family Restores 18th-Century Historic Homes and Transforms Them into Hotels

May 27, 2024 23:30 PM

Tanzania Promotes Tourism to Attract Chinese Visitors

May 27, 2024 22:32 PM

Exploring Sicily's Top Photo Spots

May 27, 2024 22:00 PM
Bell aboard Sea Cloud II during the cruise

Sea Cloud Cruises Announces Special Barbados Sailing in 2025

May 27, 2024 21:30 PM
Details of the Disney cruise liner

Disney Treasure Cruise: A €20 000 Magical Voyage

May 27, 2024 21:00 PM
Scenic view of Andalusia

Emage Fest 2024: The Premier Afro Urban Music Festival in Southern Spain

May 27, 2024 20:36 PM
Glass jar for tips in the bar

Should Tourists Tip at European Hotels? Insights from Rick Steves

May 27, 2024 20:00 PM
Protest Against Mass Tourism A crowd with placards at a rally in Ibiza

Ibiza Residents Protest Against Overtourism

May 27, 2024 19:30 PM

Exploring the Azores: Walking the Historic Trails

May 27, 2024 19:00 PM

Hospitality Industry Titans Converge in Athens for HSMAI Europe’s Groundbreaking Event

May 27, 2024 18:34 PM
Travel with the night train

Guide to Riding Sleeper Trains in Europe

May 27, 2024 18:00 PM
icebergs and alp mountains facing calm body of water

The Arctic Emerges as Winter’s Hottest New Market for European Airlines

May 27, 2024 17:30 PM
Man playing with the dogs on the beach

Pet-Friendly Beaches in Portugal

May 27, 2024 17:00 PM
Hand pointing to a toy airplane on a world map drawn on a chalkboard Unveils Extensive Winter Sun Flight Program from London Stansted

May 27, 2024 16:33 PM

Bark Air's First Flight for Dogs Takes Off Successfully

May 27, 2024 16:00 PM

Millennials and Gen Z Seek Human Connection Through Small-Group Travel

May 27, 2024 15:30 PM
Group of people traveling mountains together

Tours and Packages Market Ups the Ante on Experiential Vacations

May 27, 2024 15:00 PM
Dark storm clouds over a rural road and wind turbines

Midwest on High Alert: Tornado Threat and Texas Heatwave Spell Trouble for Travelers

May 27, 2024 14:32 PM
round silver colored pendant necklace

The Bizarre Cultural Differences That Can Make Vacation Travel a Challenge

May 27, 2024 13:30 PM
Handgun with bullets on a white background

TSA Intercepts Fifth Gun This Month at Pittsburgh International Airport

May 27, 2024 12:36 PM
houses near body of water during daytime in Albania

Albania's Wild, Blue Heart: A Triumph in Habitat Protection

May 27, 2024 11:30 AM

Taylor Swift Fans Get Relief as Network Rail Pauses Engineering Works for Cardiff Concert

May 27, 2024 10:34 AM

Boeing 777 Returns to Singapore After Fatal Turbulence Incident

May 27, 2024 09:30 AM
Niagara Falls at dawn with mist rising

Canada's Travel Boom: Your Guide to Exploring the Great White North

May 27, 2024 08:35 AM
white and red Qatar Airways air plane in the sky during daytime

Breaking: 12 Injured on Qatar Airways Flight to Dublin Following Severe Turbulence

May 27, 2024 07:30 AM