Constructed in the fifth century, the seven towers of the Ark were planned based on the position of the stars that make up the constellation Ursa Major.
Just south of the Ark is the Po-i-Kalyan complex, the site of the Kalyan Mosque, the Mir-i-Arab Madrassah, and the Kalyan Minaret, known as the Tower of Death.
For centuries, Khiva was known as an important hub for the slave trade on the Silk Road.
Khiva was the capital of an Islamic khanate, meaning an area ruled by a khan, in the 16th century and served as an important religious hub for Islam.
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Most cities and towns have bustling markets including the Chorsu Bazaar, a major trade destination located in Tashkent on the Silk Road.
As different cultures came and went through Uzbekistan, many left their mark on Uzbeki architecture—from the Soviet-era grand public buildings and apartment complexes in the cities to the hundreds of opulent Islamic mosques, madrassahs, and minarets.
Split into two parts by ten-meter crenelated walls dating back to the 17th century, the Ichon-Qala, meaning “within the wall,” houses most all of the stunning Islamic architecture constructed within the past 600 years.
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While the great Silk Road connected many Asian countries, Uzbekistan is known as a major crossroads of ancient and medieval civilizations; much of the culture of Central Asia is derived from the area which is modern-day Uzbekistan.
Traders of the ancient Sodgian civilization, which inhabited Samarkand and the surrounding area in the fourth century BC, created extensive trade networks spanning the Middle East and China.
Eventually, the city was conquered by many different rulers, including Genghis Khan, who destroyed the city in AD 1220.