Khiva is a city of approximately 50,000 people located in Xorazm Region, Uzbekistan. According to archaeological data, the city was established in the beginning of the Christian era. It is the former capital of Khwarezmia and the Khanate of Khiva.
The origin of the name Khiva is unknown, but many contradictory stories have been told to explain it.
A traditional story attributes the name to one of the sons of Noah: “It is said that Shem [from whence the word Semitic is derived], after the flood, he found himself wandering in the desert alone. Having fallen asleep, he dreamt of 300 burning torches. On waking up, he was pleased with this omen, he founded the city with outlines in the form of a ship mapped out according to the placement of the torches, about which he had dreamt. Then Sim dug the ‘Kheyvak’ well, the water from which had a surprising taste. It is possible to see this well in Ichan-Kala (an internal town of Khiva City) even today
Another story relates that travellers passing through the city, upon drinking the excellent water, would exclaim “Khey vakh!” (“What a pleasure!”) and hence the city became known as Kheyvakh, whence Khiva.