As many Eastern cities, Khiva was born "on the water" - in the lower reaches of the Amudarya river and grew up on the irrigated lands of Khorezm oasis. The written sources confirm the considerable age of Khiva.
The historical information on Khorezm is given in "Avesta". The "father of history" Herodot made a mention of Khorezm and the Khorezmian people. Beruni wrote about the ancient agriculture of Khorezm.
Archaeological excavations also prove the age of Khiva to be 2500 years old. All these facts have enabled UNESCO to proclaim Khiva a city-reserve, and its inner part Ichan-Kala has been recognized as a historical monument of the world significance.
Khiva is one of the few cities in the world, where the historical building up has actually been preserved; as a matter of fact it is a whole city in the open air. Monumental architecture of Khiva of the end of the 18th - mid-19th centuries formed this newly built city and the energy with which the city grew up in the course of only two - three generations of masters fascinates us until now.
What could be ruinous for the urban settlement in different circumstances, namely casual constructions on little spots of land alongside with rather high congestion of population, became a source of unusual diversity of architectural forms. Ichan-Kala in particular, this most densely populated part of Khiva, became as the fate willed an architectural museum whose buildings represent the best masterpieces of ancient architects.
At the times of its prosperity Khorezm was the biggest center of international trade, the key point on the Great Silk Road. The merchants from Volga region, India, Iran came here; from here the trading caravans started their way to Middle East, Eastern Turkestan and China.
From Khiva, the roads led to Mongolia and via the Polovetscky steppes to Saksin, a trade place in the mouth of the Volga and further to Russia and Europe.
Archaeologists found new routes of the ancient caravan roads and in particular from Khorezm to Mangishlak and from there by sea to Nizhni Povolzhe proving that Khiva merchants controlled considerable part of trade of Central Asian states with Eastern Europe.