The history of Khiva
The history of Khiva goes back centuries. Nobody knows exactly when this city sprang up, but the legends have it that once a son of the biblical hero Noah, Shem ordered to dig a well. By the way, this ancient well still exists in Ichan-Kala (the inner city) these days. But throughout its history up to 1598 Khiva was a small town in the desert, which was found on the way of caravans passing through Khorezm. At that time, it was often destroyed by various invaders: Alexander the Great, the Arabs, led by Qutayba ibn Muslim, Genghis Khan, Amir Timur, and many others intruded into this land.
But in 1598 Khiva became the capital of the Khanate of Khiva, because the Amu Darya River had changed its course, and destroyed the former capital Kunya-Urgench. Khiva gradually developed into a small but well-fortified city, which at the same time became a spiritual center of the Islamic world. Nevertheless, slave trade was flourishing in Khiva long enough - Khiva raiders drove people from the southern regions of Russia and Persia into slavery. This caused the Russian Empire in 1873, to organize a military campaign to do away with a flesh-traffic in Central Asia. And as a consequence of it, the Khanate of Khiva was annexed to the Government-General of Turkestan.
In 1919, the Red Army of the newly formed Soviet Union overthrew the last khan, and in 1920 Khiva became the capital of Khorezm People's Soviet Republic. In 1924, the city became the administrative center of the Khorezm region in Uzbekistan. In 1991 Uzbekistan gained independence, and Khiva became one of the country’s major tourist centers. Indeed, today, in Uzbekistan, there is hardly a place, that would have such a concentration of different landmarks.