For Mohammed Rakhim Khan II (Feruz Khan), the hottest months of Khiva were unbearable at the best of times and the heat was even more oppressive behind the simmering walls of the Ichan Kala. As a result he decided to build himself a cool summer residence resplendent with large windows and doors following the style in St Petersburg, constructed by the German craftsmen of Khorezm's Mennonite community.
The palace, begun in 1893 and completed after Feruz Khan's death in 1913, was built in the middle of the Khan's orchards, hence its name 'Kibla Toza Borg' which means 'new or clean garden'. Surrounded by walled gardens, fountains and aywans, the palace boasts three courtyards and two magnificent dining rooms; one for men and one for women. The decor is overwhelmingly rich with breathtaking ceilings together with ganch and plaster walls designed, surprisingly, by the austere Mennonites. Today the palace's interior looks fabulous, having been restored in 1992 for the jubilee celebrations of Feruz Khan's birth.
The palace is now a hotel and is situated around twenty minutes walk from the Ichan Kala. Rooms cost $15 per person with $20 for more deluxe surroundings. Although the setting is lavish and the hotel includes a sauna and indoor pool (usually dry) the toilets and showers are not en suite but communal. There is also a yurt for those wanting a traditional Central Asian dining experience.
For bookings call the Uzbek and Russian speaking Rustam on (8 362) 375 4807 or 375 4748. Make sure you settle on definite prices as the wily Rustam often 'forgets' the original price agreed.