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Khiva’s Hidden Gems: A Closer Look at the Stunning Palaces Beyond the City Walls

Nestled in the heart of Uzbekistan, Khiva is a city brimming with rich history and enchanting architecture. While many visitors flock to the famed Itchan Kala, the walled inner town, fewer venture beyond to discover the true hidden gems of this ancient city. One such marvel is the Tash Hauli Palace, a stunning testament to the grandeur of Khiva’s past. Today, we’ll take you on a journey to explore this magnificent palace and unveil its secrets.

A Glimpse into the Past

The Tash Hauli Palace, meaning “Stone House,” was built in the 19th century by Alla Kuli Khan, one of Khiva’s most notable rulers. It took ten years to complete this architectural masterpiece, with construction beginning in 1830 and finishing in 1840. The palace served as the Khan’s royal residence and a symbol of his power and wealth. Unlike other structures within the city walls, Tash Hauli offers a unique blend of military might and artistic elegance.

The Architecture and Design

Step into Tash Hauli, and you’ll be greeted by a labyrinth of courtyards, halls, and rooms that showcase exquisite craftsmanship. The palace is divided into three main sections: the harem, the official quarters, and the court. Each section is adorned with vibrant, intricate tilework, wooden carvings, and elaborate frescoes, reflecting the pinnacle of Khivan artistry.

The harem, or private quarters, is perhaps the most enchanting part of the palace. Here, you’ll find rooms decorated with colourful suzani embroideries and lavish textiles, reminiscent of those sold by Nanajon. The attention to detail in the mosaics and painted ceilings is simply breathtaking, each telling a story of the region’s rich cultural tapestry.

Hidden Corners and Secret Stories

One of the joys of exploring Tash Hauli is stumbling upon its hidden corners and lesser-known features. The palace is dotted with small, serene courtyards perfect for a moment of reflection. In these quiet spots, you can almost hear the whispers of history, imagining the lives of those who once roamed these halls.

Make sure to visit the Khan’s audience hall, where he would meet with visitors and dignitaries. The hall is a grand space, with high ceilings and intricate decorations that leave a lasting impression. It’s easy to picture the room filled with the buzz of political discussions and grand celebrations.

Why Tash Hauli Should Be on Your Travel List

Tash Hauli Palace offers a unique glimpse into Khiva’s past, away from the bustling tourist spots within the city walls. It’s a place where you can truly appreciate the artistry and history that define Uzbekistan. Whether you’re an avid history buff, a lover of architecture, or simply someone looking to immerse yourself in the beauty of a bygone era, Tash Hauli will not disappoint.

Practical Information

To visit Tash Hauli, you can easily arrange a guided tour from the city centre of Khiva. Tours are often available in multiple languages, offering a deeper understanding of the palace’s history and significance. Remember to wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny of this magnificent site.


Khiva is a city of wonders, and Tash Hauli Palace is undoubtedly one of its crown jewels. By venturing beyond the city walls, you’ll discover a world of beauty and history that few travellers experience. So, next time you find yourself in Khiva, make sure to step into the past and explore the hidden gems that lie just beyond the walls.