Khiva was just amazing! My hotel was surprisingly lovely. Hand painted ceilings every where! My room was delightful, full of art, colour and wonderfully comfortable.
Khiva was thought of as the Center of the earth. It was definitely the centre of the Silk Road!
The old centre, in which I stayed, was surrounded by large mud walls. When I first arrived I thought I would never be able to find my way in this rabbit warren of little roads. My first exploring was to find the super market, which was outside the gates. There ware four main gates, and I found my way around much faster than anticipated. My hotel was literally right next to the main attraction.
First one must by a ticket, which is valid for two days at a 100.000 sum (A$ 15 ) an absolute bargain! I managed to convince the woman I needed a ticket for four days, which she gave to me without any questions!
The main attraction was the minaret, Kalta Minor Minaret build by Mohammed Amin Khan, in 1851. Due to his unforeseen early death, never finished. It was my favourite spot to go to. The big buildings are all surrounded by stalls, which sell goods to the visitors. Of course there is a lot of silk, and to be honest I am angry I didn’t buy enough silk scarves! I could have gone berserk, shopping wise. I did spend quite a lot of money, but everything is so cheap. Even so, it all adds up. Prices were much higher than in any other place, due to the high amount of tourists that come here.
People were delighted to hear that I was travelling alone and not I a group. This way I actually get to talk to the local people, rather than to others in a group. The first day I got up really early to excellent morning light. It was amazing, no people wandering the streets, just the occasional cleaners sweeping the streets in preparation for the new day. A few stray tourist, who like me wanted to catch the early light. I wandered through the narrow streets, delighted in each and every discovery. I found tombs, decorated with flags! (Which I want now at my church!) the streets are full of mulberry trees. I had my fill of ripe, juicy mulberries, with the help of a local man, who saw me trying to reach the ripe ones!
I made friends with a gorgeous young woman who spoke excellent English. Sunshine, which is her name in English, lived up to her name, with her permanent smile. Most of the time I just wandered, aimlessly through the streets. On my ticket, I had fifteen “must see” buildings, I managed to see twelve of them, but saw plenty of things that were not on the list!
I ventured out on the last day to find the palace, which was NOT included in the ticket. An extra fifty thousand was paid, steep price, but the tourist money is used to upgrade the place and that in itself was worth it to me. The throne room, without the throne, was amazing. The throne went to Russia for en exhibition, and the Russians never bothered to return the exhibit. A bit too greedy, if you ask me. The top floor was still empty, but beautifully rebuild. An exhibition space so perfect, I wanted to paint and hang the walls full of contemporary art! Art was plenty as well. I spend over three hours there. Mandalas galore, and so much small and exquisite delights.
My last evening I spend on the roof top restaurant, full of loud and noisy tourists. But worth it just for the spectacular views of the town. There was a rickety ladder near the old wall, but I was too frightened to climb it. I could have gone up, but the going down would have been too scary for me. So the rooftop restaurant was the next best thing. Khiva was an amazing place, however, it lacked the nice centre that Bukhara offered. Next stop is Urgench, just to catch a train to Nukus. Another week and my visit to Uzbekistan will come to an end. Shame that he visa is only for thirty days, I could stay here much, much longer!