One of Khiva’s legendary attractions is Anush Khan Baths. The history of baths is amazing, as well as most oriental stories.
Abulkazi Khan, who initiated the construction of baths, had 9 sons. Strong men delighted their father with their successes, and they were predicted a great future. But, he did not have a daughter, and this upset the Khan. When the tenth child was another boy, the Khan’s close relatives, afraid of his anger, concealed this fact and reported a daughter’s birth. Khan was happy to hear this news and named the girl Anusha. This was the name of Armenian Khan’s concubine, for whom he felt warm feelings.
Abulkazi Khan was a competent warlord and an excellent warrior; most of his battles were successful. But it so happened that he was captured by the Emir of Bukhara in one of the battles. The sons did not dare to go against the Emir’s strong army and did not rescue their father. Only Anusha, having gathered an army, moved to save her father. Emir of Bukhara was waiting for nine sons of Abulkazi Khan and got confused when he saw his daughter. Anusha offered a deal: if she could surprise the Emir, he would let her go home with her father. The Emir of Bukhara, who had seen miracles, agreed to the deal, realizing that it was very challenging to surprise him with anything. Then Anusha threw off her clothes, and a well-built body of a young man appeared in the eyes of the emir. He did not expect such a turn of events and had to keep his word, releasing the prisoner and his son home.
After his return to Khiva, Abulkazi Khan stated that from now on, he has 9 daughters and only one son, Anusha. The Khan built a mosque and medicinal baths in honor of his son.
In reality, these baths are amazing not only because of the legend. Already in 1664, these baths had a water supply system, sewage system, and even special heating. There was a special room under the baths, which warmed the floors and allowed to maintain warmth inside even in the coldest winter.
Structurally, the baths consisted of several rooms: an entrance hall, changing rooms, and the bathrooms themselves. It was believed that taking a bath there could heal. Considering that the baths were located near the main trading gate, among the caravaners, tired of a long journey, they became a popular place for recreation and brought a good income.
Visits to the baths were fee-based, and all the proceeds went not to the treasury, but to charity and maintenance of the Ak Mosque. This is one of the examples of Khan’s generosity and virtue.
Canaan Travel strongly recommends visiting Anush Khan bathhouses during the trip to Uzbekistan.