Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Khiva - most beautiful Silk road city

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM
When I woke up this morning, i pulled open the curtains in my hotel room window, and saw the tallest minerat in Khiva. A single lonely girl walked on the square right in front of my window in the morning twilight, adjusting her headscarf. It's a picture perfect for the national geographic magazine or in the discovery channel. This was my moment of introduction to Khiva. When I remember to take my camera out for a picture, she had already gone into one of the alleys. No other soul was present and I just didnt know the hotel was right there on the square, as we came in very late last night. Later, my eyes feasted on all the monuments of this most beautiful ancient silk road city. I've never imagined they could be so beautiful. Every tile painted in a different color and design, no inch left empty.

The walled city was filled with cobblestoned streets, narrow and ancient. Merchants with their stalls set up lined every street, a souvenir shopping heaven. Colorful silk scarves, fur hats, carved wooden goods, hand paintings, and beautifully painted ceramics, designs I've havent seen before, more beautiful than the greek ones. But I've abstained from buying since I still had 3 more weeks of travel.

For lunch we had the local soup again at a tea house courtyard just steps from our hotel. It was a clear broth with 2 small meatballs that were outrageously tasty, veggies and thin noodles. Although it was just lukewarm, it was very good.

Later in the day, I've walked outside of the walls for a while and noticed they werent too high but very thick. The view from the outside was just as impressive as from the inside. I've climbed the tallest minaret but was disappointed at the view from the top. i thought i was able to see the entire city enclave but the walls did not enclosed the entire city. Next I climbed to the roof of the Akshi Bobo Bastion inside the Kunya Ark citadel around 5pm when the French group had just left. there was my second moment at Khiva. The sun was setting and it was peaceful and I was there alone, admiring the full view of the entire city. That was the best way to see Khiva. I could see all major monuments from this vantage point and I'm loving this town. khiva was one of the most beautiful cities I've visited. sort of like walking the old town in Jerusalem. I lack words to describe the beauty of this place. So just see my pictures.

However the water in this desert oasis was so salty the soap didnt lather. We needed to use bottle water to blush our teeth. And the climate was so dry no amount of moisturizer could keep our skins from drying up. I didnt expect it to be so dry.

Our hotel Malika is located right in the center of the old town, right in front of the Islam Khodja Minaret. It's a small quaint hotel with only a handful of rooms, but the location couldnt be better. The rooms were good size with good furniture, the beds were comfy, the duvet thick and the pillows nice and plump. Everything in the bathroom worked except the toilets didnt flush well. The breakfast though could be better.

We had our evening meal at the outdoor restaurant of our hotel surrounded by ancient monuments. The night was cool and the ambience was fantastic. Felt like we were back in time on the Silk road. The soup again is out of this world, just like Mom makes it. We had a pasta dish with tomato sauce that was so tasty, I've stolen Karel's portion since she wasnt eating. Then we had watermelon and melons for dessert. The Uzbek melons were the sweetest I've ever had. Andrey told me about them before I left "make sure to sample the melons". Bazil surprised us with musicians playing local music. None of us really cared for it and we even found it comical, as they werent exactly singing but more like acting, talking and gesturing. I'm sure Uzbek music was a lot better than that.

After dinner, Greg went out to catch Khiva at night. I didnt know why I didnt remember to do that. Later I envied his photos of Khiva at night with all the monuments lite up.


Khiva photos



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