Khiva is a must see city when you travel to Uzbekistan. It was quite different from what I had expected in the first place. I thought it would be a proper city like Bukhara and Samarkand where there were some old buildings scattered around, but the old city of Khiva was actually quite small and felt more like a open air museum than walking through a city-people still live there, but all the posters aimed at tourists, souvenir shops and cafés ruined a bit of the charm of this city which has been inhabited for more than 2500 years.
A camel ready for tourists who want to pay to take a picture
There is no agreement of how Khiva got its name, but I was told a story of travelers who would stop in this Oasis in the middle of the desert to have a rest, food and water. Apparently the water here was extremely good and people would say “Khey Vakh! ” when drinking it, which litterally translates to “What a pleasure!”. I liked to believe that this story was true.
To get to Khiva you first need to take a train to Urgench, which is also a pleasant city to visit. From there you catch a shared taxi for less than a dollar (20min) to the Khiva Old City Gates. Its free to get inside the city walls and walk around, but you pay to visit the museums inside.
The center of Urgench was very clean and pleasant