Khiva is a walker's town, with most of the monuments within a short distance of each other.
The Ichon Qala citadel, its giant defensive wall dominating the skyline, marks out the old town from the new town, which sprawls out toward the desert on all sides. For most visitors the citadel walls are a place of fascination in their own right.
Starting at the West Gate your guide takes you to the chief points of interest. First up are the Kalta Minor minaret and the Muhammad Amin Khan Medressa. The former is a stunning example of majolica techniques and looks slightly eccentric due to being left unfinished.
Also nearby is The Ark — with a charming display on dungeons in a side room — and the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Medressa, a lovely building often overlooked by large tour groups.
A look inside the Juma mosque is worthwhile — the pillars here support the huge ceiling without artificial assistance.
An interesting building to the north is the Tosh-Hovli Palace — the former royal harem — with stunning tilework and some interesting design motifs.
The highlights to either side of the central street include the Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum and the Islom-Huja mosque and minaret. The latter is Khiva's highest point and, if you can climb all 118 steps, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the town and the desert beyond.
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