Day 11 (October 4, 2017)   Khiva


   This is an entire day to spend in Khiva's Old city. Hotel Kala, marked at map by a 0, is within the walled city, from which we don't need to leave as all the attractions are at hand inside.

Map of Khiva


   The first we need to do after breakfast is exchanging money. We get indications from the hotel staff about how to go to the bank, out of the old city. We leave it by the Eastern gate, where we find a big market full of live, but we need to skip it because of our priorities now. Once in the bank, we’re told they don’t exchange foreigner currency. There is only one bank doing that and we’re getting indications to that bank.

Views of Khiva our of Old City
Views of Khiva our of Old CityViews of Khiva our of Old City   With enough soms for these two next days in this country we’re back in the city-museum, where we plan to spend the rest of the day exploring every corner. We’re getting into it by the Northern gate, which we could already see yesterday but, from outside is more beautiful and the walls are looking spectacular.
Northern gate of KhivaNorthern walls of Khiva
   The next is purchasing the ticket for the historical sites here. I leave Eva taking a cup of coffee in a terrace in front of Kunya Ark (the citadel in the map marked with the word “Zindan”, meaning “prison”) and go for the Western gate, the one at the top of the map above. I pay 51000 soms by person. It’s a paper with the list of the sites that will be marked in the entrance as we’re visiting them. It’s only valid for today.
Walls of Kunya Ark
   When I meet with Eva again I’m surprised by the price of the coffee: 10000 soms. Actually, it’s just 1 euro, but now we’re used to local prices that’s an abuse. It is probably coming from the location and the views from their terrace, even when we haven’t gone to the top.

   It’s almost 11 AM when we’re ready to start our visits and make our way to Islam Khodja complex, with the guide of its minaret.

Minaret of Islam KhodjaMinaret of Islam KhodjaIslam Khodja madrasah
   The streets we’re walking through introduce us into an environment that looks like from another time, like living in a tail from One thousand and one nights. Stands appear, one after the other, with their offer of gifts, souvenirs or local craft.

   Our first visit is for Islam Khodja madrasah, besides the minaret, which contains the Museum of Applied Arts.
Museum od Applied Arts in Islam KhodjaMuseum od Applied Arts in Islam Khodja
   Going on with our plan we enjoy our walk through these streets to Djuma Mosque. In our way, we keep finding corners that are making their call to our camera.
Corners in Khiva's Old CityCorners in Khiva's Old City
   The Mosque itself is a sort of courtyard full of carved wooden columns, but this simple and short description cannot be fair with something so spectacular, like you can see in the pictures.
Djuma MosqueDjuma Mosque
   Our way takes us to the Eastern gate, which we cross just to check that lively market early this morning is now languishing.
Eastern gate of KhivaEastern gate of Khiva
     We come back to the old city and, in a narrow street, we find the entrance to Tash Havli Palace.
Street with entrance to Palacio Tash Havli PalaceStreet with entrance to Palacio Tash Havli Palace
   We explore all rooms in our own itinerary through the palace where the highlights are the two courtyards, with bluish tiling and wonderful works in wood.

Tash Havli PalaceTash Havli PalaceTash Havli PalaceTash Havli Palace
   The palace is in front of Allakuli Khan complex, where we’re visiting the two madrasahs, one in front of the other. We can see a small currency exchange office here, and is not the only one in this old city. If we knew this we could save our odyssey through the streets out of this old city early this morning.
Allakuli Khan complexAllakuli Khan complex
   We walk back to the West through a different street for the following visits. First, we stop by Qozy Kalon madrasah, where the museum of music is.
Qozy Kalon madrasahQozy Kalon madrasah
   Then we follow the wall to reach the entrance to Mohamed Rakhmin Khan madrasah, just in front of Kunya Ark.
Mohamed Rakhmin Khan madrasahMohamed Rakhmin Khan madrasah
   Inside, we find the museum of history of Khiva. These museums are small and can be explored quickly.
Mohamed Rakhmin Khan madrasahMohamed Rakhmin Khan madrasah
   We go on our way to the West as our target now is going outside through that gate and getting a good view of the city walls.
Kalta Minor and Western gateWalls of Khiva
 Western gate and wall of Khiva 
   There is a small park just in front of the gate where we can get the best views of them. The walls are looking in an excellent condition and we don’t need to use the imagination to know how this city was looking like on its best times. At the right side, we can find a statue of Al-Juarismi, an eminent mathematician, and a mural showing the silk road and where Uzbek cities were on it.

Mural about Silk Road
Statue of Al-JuarismiWall in Western gate
   At the left of the gate, the wall extends marking the limits of the old city. At the entrance there is a mosaic with a map of the old city and its monuments.
Western gate of KhivaMosaic with map of Khiva
   It’s 1:30 PM and we plan to lunch in the same place than yesterday, which is just in front of us now. Their plov costs just 8000 soms and is delicious. The best I’ve tasted. We order soup, stuffed eggplants and carrot salad too and pay a bit more of 40000 soms in total.
Kalta MinorPlov in Tea House Bir Gumbaz
   When lunching I’ve been looking the list of places in the ticket and I’ve found out we missed two mausoleums we wanted to visit in our way this morning, so the first thing we’re going to do now is looking for them.

   In the middle of the first street, where we were amazed by the atmosphere, is where the Mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud is. We pay 10000 soms for the admission because this place is not included in the general ticket we’re bringing. Inside it is very beautiful, completely covered by tiles with blue patterns.

Mausoleum of Pahlavan MahmudMausoleum of Pahlavan MahmudMausoleum of Pahlavan MahmudMausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud
   Then we go for the other mausoleum and take a shortcut through a nice alley to reach Mausoleum of Said Alauddin. We need to ask to some people to find it, though. This is very small.
Mausoleum of Said AlauddinMausoleum of Said Alauddin
   It’s not 4 PM yet and there is only one more visit in our to-do list: the citadel Kunya Ark. We’re leaving this for the end because we want to get up to the lookout terrace by the sunset as we plan yesterday. So, as there are still a few hours more for that, we go for a walk to the market to see what’s left from what we could see this morning there.
Local marketLocal market
   After that, we walk all around Kalta Minor to get all the details from it and take tea in our usual restaurant. We take some samosas there too for our dinner, which we’re bringing to the hotel, where we rest for a while.
Kalta MinorWalking through Khiva
   We’re out again by 6 PM for our visit to Kunya Ark, where we explore every room of this citadel, which was the residence of Khiva’s rulers.

Coutyard in Kunya Ark
Kunya Ark's interiorKunya Ark's interior   When we’re done with all the places we can feel the sunset coming and go to the only door to climb to the top, which must be paid a part: 7000 soms per person.
Kunya Ark's interiorDoor to Kunya Ark's terrace
   Up in the terrace we’re getting the best views of this city. There are two levels here, the upper one is a sort of roofed balcony. At our feet, Khiva’s old city, Itchan Khala, at left the amazing view of the top of the wall, with the incredible turns.

Views of Khiva from Kunya ArkViews of Khiva from Kunya ArkViews of Khiva from Kunya ArkViews of Khiva from Kunya Ark
   The place itself is small, but these wonderful views are breathtaking and you feel like could be looking at then for hours.
Views of Khiva from Kunya Ark
   Once back in the hotel we eat the samosas we brought before as dinner and we’ll go for a walk later on to enjoy Khiva by night and empty as the best good bye for this amazing city.

Khiva de nocheKhiva by nightKhiva by nightKhiva by night