(October 4, 2017) Khiva
This is an entire day to spend in Khiva's Old
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Our way takes us to the Eastern gate, which we cross just to
check that lively market early this morning is now languishing.
We come back to the old city and, in a
narrow street, we find the entrance to 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.
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.
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.
Then we follow the wall to reach the entrance to
Mohamed Rakhmin Khan madrasah, just in front of Kunya Ark.
Inside, we find the museum of history of Khiva.
These museums are small and can be explored quickly.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
The place itself is small, but these wonderful views are
breathtaking and you feel like could be looking at then for hours.
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.