The beautiful little town that hardly anyone visits

A historic settlement in Central Asia has been listed among the world’s most beautiful towns – yet hardly any visitors ever go there.

Itchan Kala, in Uzbekistan, is the inner town of Khiva and is filled with beautiful ancient mosques.

It has been included in a list of the 50 most beautiful small towns in the world, compiled by travel website Condé Nast.

They said: “The perfectly preserved (town) was once an important stop on the Silk Road and now functions as an open-air museum, though around 300 families still call the jewel-box village home.”

Despite being so unique, the town is also listed in the Top 5 Least-Touristy Tourist Attractions.

READ MORE: Brits will no longer need a visa to enter Uzbekistan

Itchan Kala, which has a population of just over 2,600, is home to Djuma Mosque, the Madrasah of Alla-Kulli-Khan and the Mausoleums of Pahlavon Mahmoud.

Website Lupine Travel named Itchan Kala Fortress among the world’s top destinations that few tourists ever visit.

They said: “Walking the streets of this sprawling fortress will leave you feeling like a medieval caravanner about to embark across the desert to Persia.

“Fifty-one structures … are within the fortified walls of this Uzbekistani fortress, each an outstanding example of Central Asian Islamic architecture.”

They added: “The remarkable aspect of Itchan Kala is how well preserved it is. Every renovation has used the same building methods as when the fortress was initially built.

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“Central Asia is a place of wonder. Most people never give it the chance it deserves, but if you ever voyage to this region, stop by Itchan Kala Fortress.”

Although few tourists do visit Itchan Kala, people in the town rolled out the red carpet last year when it was visited by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Those who have visited took to Tripadvisor to say how amazing the town is.

Beatriz M, from Germany, said: “Amazing place, one of my favourite places I visited in Uzbekistan.

“Highly recommend making the trip up to Khiva, as it is not visited by so many tourists. You can take the night train from Tashkent or fly to Urgench, really nice.”

Itchan Kala is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site, which said the inner town was once “the last resting-place of caravans before crossing the desert to Iran”.

The website said: “Itchan Kala has a history that spans over two millennia. The inner town has 26 hectares and was built according to the ancient traditions of Central Asian town building.

“However, the outstanding qualities of Itchan Kala derive not so much from the individual monuments but also from the incomparable urban composition of the city, and from the harmony with which the major constructions of the 19th and 20th centuries were integrated into a traditional structure.”

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