"Khiva's name, redolent of slave caravans,
barbaric cruelty and terrible journeys across deserts
and steppes infested with wild tribesmen, struck
fear into all but the boldest 19th century hearts."
Shortly after the great flood; Shem the son of Noah was
wandering through Central Asia with his tribes. One night
when he was in the area near the Aral sea in the region
of the Kyzylkum and Karakum deserts he had a dream. In
the dream he saw men marching across the dunes with blazing
torches. The dream moved him greatly.
When he woke up he told his men to build a mound to commemorate
the place where the dream had come to him, the region
even then was dry, and as the day drew on they became
thirsty. As the nearest water source was a days travel
away they decided to dig for water. After much digging
they found water and exclaimed, "KHEI' VAKH" - "What wonderful
water is in the well".
In these regions water is essential to life, and the absence
of water can quickly bring death to those who are unprepared.
So the well quickly drew settlers to the area and the
town which arose around it became known as Khiva. The
town is still there today and has been through many incarnations
since the time of Shem. In the region of modern day Uzbekistan
it is known as Khorezm.