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(khē`və, khēvä`), city (1989 pop. 40,001), S Uzbekistan, in the Khiva oasis and on the Amu Darya River. Industries include metalworking, cotton and silk spinning, wood carving, and carpetmaking. The city, in existence by the 6th cent., was the capital of the KhwarazmKhwarazm
or Khorezm
, ancient and medieval state of central Asia, situated in and around the basin of the lower Amu Darya River; now a region, NW Uzbekistan. Khwarazm is one of the oldest centers of civilization in central Asia.
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 (Khorezm) kingdom in the 7th and 8th cent. From the late 16th until the early 20th cent., Khiva was the capital of the khanate of the same name (see Khiva, khanate ofKhiva, khanate of,
former state of central Asia, based on the Khiva (Khwarazm or Khorezm) oasis along the Amu Darya River. The khanate lay S of the Aral Sea and included large areas of the Kyzyl Kum and Kara Kum deserts. Founded c.
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. The city was a significant trade and handicraft center in the late 18th and early 19th cent. It passed to Russia in 1873. It served as the capital of the Khorezm Soviet People's Republic from 1920 to 1923 and of the Khorezm SSR in 1923 and 1924. The ancient quarter of the city has been set aside to preserve such landmarks as an 18th-century fort, the khan's palace (now a museum), and a 19th-century mausoleum and minaret.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city under oblast jurisdiction and the administrative center of Khiva Raion, Khorezm Oblast, Uzbek SSR. Located in the Khorezm oasis, on the Palvan Canal, 30 km southwest of the Urgench railroad station on the Chardzhou-Beineu line. Population, 26,000 (1974).

According to archaeological data, Khiva was founded at the beginning of the Common Era. It was named for the ancient well of Kheivak and was called Khivak until the 18th century. In the early fourth century A.D., the city became part of Khwarazm. It was conquered by the Arabs in 712, by the Mongols in 1221, and by Tamerlane (Timur) in 1388. From the 16th century until 1921 it was the capital of the Khiva Khanate. In 1740, Khiva was destroyed by the ruler of Iran, Nadir Shah. In 1873 it was captured by Russian troops, and the Khiva Khanate, including the city, became a protectorate of the Russian Empire. In 1920 the city became the capital of the Khorezm People’s Soviet Republic. It has been a raion center in the Uzbek SSR since 1924 and has been part of Khorezm Oblast since 1938.

Khiva’s industries include cotton ginning and the production of ceramic ware, clothing, souvenirs, and rugs. The city has an agricultural technicum, a medical school, a pedagogical school, and a people’s amateur theater.

Khiva is a city-museum of the architecture of Khwarazm (mainly of the 19th and early 20th centuries). Its shahristan (urban center) of Ichan-Kala was declared an architectural preserve in 1968. In Ichan-Kala and the rabad (suburb) of Dishan-Kala are many noteworthy examples of architecture, including the citadel Kunia-Ark, which has 19th century structures, and the Djuma Mosque, which features carved wooden columns dating from the 11th through 19th centuries. Also worthy of note are the mausoleum of Seiyd-Allah-ud-Din (1303, with a majolica gravestone), the fortress gates, and ensembles of religious and secular buildings.

Of particular interest in these ensembles are the Tash-Khauli Palace (1830–38); the Nurullabai Palace (1904–12); the Allakuli Khan complex, which includes a madrasa (1834) and a market and caravansary (1830’s); and the Muhammad Amin Khan complex (1851–52) which includes a madrasa and the Kelte Minaret. Also noteworthy is the Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, which is the resting place of the Kungrad khans and is located at the grave of Pahlavan Mahmud. The ensembles also contain numerous caravansaries, markets, and traditional dwellings (with carved wooden columns and doors and majolica facings).

Rugs are made in the city, and traditional crafts are practiced—including wood carving, copper relief work, and the making of pottery.


Khiva is one of the tourist centers of the Uzbek SSR. Two tourist routes of nationwide importance run through it. The city has a tourist center.


Khorezm: Kratkii spravochnik-putevoditel’, 2nd ed. Tashkent, 1967.
Bulatova, V. A., and I. I. Notkin. Arkhitekturnye pamialniki Khivy. Tashkent, 1972. (Guidebook.)
Khiva. Leningrad, 1973. (Architectural photograph album.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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