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29th April Khiva

May 9, 2013

29th April. Khiva
The old city or Ichon-Qala, is the best preserved of the three cities, Samarkand, Buchara and Khiva. Restoration has been necessary over the years but the mud walls that surround the Ichon-Qala stand as they were centuries ago. Our hotel makes up for the lack of facilities, with a magnificent view of the walls and west gate from the verandah. Yesterday we took it easy with both of us suffering a little from our colds. Today, with the 2 day pass in our possession, we headed into the many mosques and Madrassas. It’s possible to walk through the old city without a pass but has to be purchased to enter the buildings.
Yesterday, Sunday, would not have been the day to venture forth too much as the morning saw over 70 buses roll up setting loose a couple of thousand school children take over the city. Talk about the advancing Asian horde. They were everywhere.
The madrassas often hold interesting museums with signs in English meaning you can get an idea of what life was like in the past. Pretty rough justice was handed out for wrong doers, horrific by our standards but quite the every day occurrence then. The ceramic tiling and mosaics in many of the buildings are so intricate the number of crafsmen involved must have been immense.
On arrival at our hotel on Saturday we noticed a Landcruiser parked outside with French registration. Later we met Ivan and Katyia, a couple who left France 8 months ago and are heading for Vladivostok, then on to Alaska and Canada before heading south. They had travelled the route we were looking at if we had’ve driven over from UK. That is through Turkey, Iran and Turkmenistan. They spent almost 3 years in NZ and AU and loved it. Would return if they had the right occupations to immigrate. They do underwater photography.
The owner of the hotel took us in his car just before to see the emir’s summer palace and the Isfandiyar Palace. A small building with intricate carvings on the walls and a 50kg chandelier.

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