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Khiva was founded 2500 years ago in Khorezm oasis, where the first ever kingdom in the territory of today's Uzbekistan developed. It was Khorezm where the holy Zoroastrian book “Avesta” was created; the 2700 th anniversary of Avesta is to be celebrated in 2008. ne thousand years ago here was founded the first Central Asian academy – the Academy of Mamun.

Khive consists of two parts, one of which is a complete medieval town surrounded by a wall. Called “Ichan Kala”, it is a museum town with all the buildings and streets being well-preserved monuments. Nobody seems to know exactly how old this ancient city is, though the story goes that Khiva was founded by none other than Shem, the son of Noah (of "and the Ark" fame); at the very least, the city dates back to the 7th century, and probably much earlier. Despite its seemingly romantic history as a Silk Road oasis, the city became most notable as Central Asia's biggest slave trade center. Intent on transforming the traditionally teeming city into a living museum, Khiva was purged of much of its ancient bustle, and its buildings were scrubbed down (or, in the case of some landmarks, such as the 9th century Juma Mosque, rebuilt) and turned into public exhibits.