Kibla Tozabog.

For our evening meal we were driven 2 or 3 kms from Khiva to Kibla Tozabog, the summer residence of the Khiva khans of the Kungrat dynasty. The complex is surrounded by gardens in which there are lots of grape vines. The residence has many of the characteristics of the Isfandiyar Palace, although the decoration is not quite so over-the-top and more in the Uzbek than the Russian style. Here is a good description of the complex:

The summer residence was built by order of the Khiva Khan Muhammad Rahimhan II. Muhammad Rahimhan II was the eleventh ruler of Khiva from the Kungrat dynasty. He was born in 1845 and came to power in 1864. His rule is distinguished by the construction of many mosques, medressas, hamams and other public buildings in Khiva. The most famous monument that he built was the Muhammad Rahimhan II Medressa, the largest medressa in Central Asia.

Kibla Tozabog

 Muhammad Rahimhan II began construction of his summer residence in 1897. The summer residence is a palace complex consisting of three courtyards of different sizes. Overlooking each courtyard is a large, two-storey palace enhanced externally by carved wooden columns supporting the part of the roof that extends to make a porch or veranda. In each courtyard are large eyvans with carved handrails and legs where the khan and his closest friends and colleagues used to rest during the hottest summer days. The palace complex is surrounded by outbuildings constructed along its perimeter.

Kibla Tozabog

 Each of the palaces in the complex is famous for its architectural features. In the centre of the first palace is a basin in the form of a fountain surrounded by flowerbeds. In addition, there is an audience hall decorated in the European or Russian style. An unusual feature of the audience hall is the large windows, which are rarely encountered in oriental architecture.

Kibla Tozabog


Two other courtyards lead to the khan’s personal chamber and his harem, as well as the winter and the summer mosques, a medressa, stabling and various buildings once used to ensure the whole complex functioned efficiently. All the buildings are designed in a style that combines traditional Uzbek features with those deriving from Europe or Russia. European and Russian architectural and design elements were often incorporated into buildings in Khiva and Bukhara at the end of the 19th century (because the khanates of Khiva and Bukhara had been absorbed into the Russian Empire). At the same time, the architecture of Kibla Tozabog preserves the best traditions of Central Asia’s built environment and the buildings themselves are surrounded by beautiful gardens, which ensure shade and coolness when the days are at their hottest.

Kibla Tozabog

Kibla Tozabog was built with fired brick. The internal walls and ceilings have been lavishly decorated with tiles, wood and bright paint. The doors for the halls and chambers were made to order by Russian craftsmen. Kibla Tozabog, the summer residence of Khiva’s last emirs, is one of the most beautiful of Khiva’s 19th century monuments.

Kibla Tozabog

The food in the summer residence was very good. As we were finishing our meal, a short show involving music, song and dance (provided by three men, two women and two boys dressed in costume dating from the end of the 19th century) provided about 30 minutes of entertainment. During conversations with Davron and the manager of the residence after the show, it was confirmed that the local dialect is very similar to Turkish and a majority of Uzbekistan’s Muslims are Hanafi Sunnis.

Kibla Tozabog

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