- Silk Road 26: Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Oct 2019
- Silk Road 27: More Samarkand, Oct 2019
- Silk Road 28: Bukhara, Uzbekistan Oct 2019
- Silk Road 29: Khiva, Uzbekistan, Oct 2019
- Silk Road 30: Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Oct 2019
Khiva, Oct 2019
Oct 22, 2019
We left Bukhara by train once again, this time to Khiva, another ancient city on the Silk Road. There were no high-speed trains on this route, so it took us 5.5 hrs. on this slower train in business class; at a cost of 131,490 Uzbek Som or US$12.50 each. Route was not scenic, only farmlands and towards the end, a lot of desert/scrub landscape.
We sat opposite an Australian couple on the train, and got talking; Lars & Shelly were a middle-aged couple that got married, sold everything they owned, and started traveling the world with the intention of continuing to do so the rest of their lives. Amazingly, they have traveled for 4 years and visited 38 countries to date; their travels can be seen at Lifejourney4two
We arrived at Urgench, which was the train station for Khiva, about 25kms away, and the Bibimaryam B&B, where we had booked the previous night, had sent a taxi (included) to pick us up from the train station.
The Bibimaryam B&B was located inside the old walled city, called Ichan Kala, which is where we had wanted to stay. This was a nice, clean, recently renovated hotel, and staff spoke some broken English. After settling in, we were treated to some refreshments after our journey. Very nice. Cost here was $35 per night including breakfast.
Khiva is located in northwest Uzbekistan, and about 5 miles as the crow flies from the Turkmenistan border. The earliest records of the city of Khiva appear in Muslim travel accounts from the 10th century, although archaeological evidence indicates habitation in the 6th century. The presence of fresh water from wells & farming from irrigation using the nearby Amudarya river allowed it to develop and it became a trading post along the Silk Road. By the early 17th century, Khiva had become the capital of the Khanate of Khiva, ruled by a branch of the Astrakhans, a Genghisid dynasty. In the 17th century Khiva began to develop as a slave market. During the first half of the 19th century, around one million Persians and an unknown number of Russians, were enslaved there before being sold. A large part of them were involved in the construction of buildings in the walled Ichan-Kala, the inner city which was completely walled and where the high officials, clergy and rich lived; and the Dichan Kala, the outer city, where the ordinary people lived. The city was ruled and destroyed at various times by Persians, Turkmen, & Genghis Khan; until Russia invaded in 1873. Since 1990, the inner city of Ichan Kala has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After the refreshments, we went to check out Khiva Ichan Kala by dusk. Khiva had many tour groups just like Bukhara; and was more recently reconstructed to original structures and looked newer than Bukhara. There were lots of old mosques, Madrassah’s, Mausoleums, Caravanserais’ here just like in Bukhara. Many of the Madrassah’s and Caravansarai’s had been converted into hotels for tourists. The Ichan Kala was small, so easily walkable. We spent a couple of days here and below are some views
We had dinner at the Bir Gumbaz Tea house, a small converted madrassha. Bill came to $13 for 2 of us for drinks, Uzbek soup and kebabs; not bad at all. We called it a night and went to sleep.
Next morning, after breakfast at Bibimaryam, we continued to explore Ichan Kala Khiva. We first stopped at the Tourist Info center just outside the Ichan kala to get tickets to the places we wanted to visit (you can only get entrance tickets at select places in Khiva). Many structures as you can see from the pics were built with mud & straw; and rebuilt in the same way. Others were mud brick construction. Some scenes of Ichan Kala Khiva below
We decided to check out the Kunha Ark citadel, and came upon a play being enacted inside, of the good old times. Some scenes from the play and from inside the citadel.
Musicians entertaining the king
Traditional Uzbek dancing entertainment for the Khan
The Tosh-Hovli Palace of the Khan of Khiva
After a nice couple of days in Khiva, it was time to leave for Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, for our last stop of the Central Asian Silk Road adventure. We had a choice of a 16hr slow train ride which I wanted to take (overnight sleeper) but Dilshad did not want to do that. So, I checked for flights and there was one Uzbek Air flight a day available, but all the $55 economy seats were taken, not available. Only $125 Business Class seats were available, so I booked those.
In the morning, Dinara, our host, got us a taxi to take us from the B&B to Urgench, where the airport for Khiva was located. Cost was $6 for this 28km journey. Some scenes along the way.
We finally arrived at the airport and went through a security/passport check outside the airport in the parking lot. We then went inside the airport, which appeared empty and went to the check-in counter, and got checked in. Curiously, there were no other passengers around. We sat down to wait to get called, but the check-in person guided us to a side door, where he ushered us into a lounge, the perks of business class tickets. There was an attendant there who took good care of us and brought us coffee, tea and refreshments. Very nice except that there were no other passengers here either. I was getting worried now as it was getting close to departure time, and we could not see any other passengers anywhere.
I asked the lounge attendant (no English) if it was time to go board the plane, and in sign language; she indicated for us to relax. OK. A short while later, about 10mins before flight departure time, she motioned us to follow her, and took us to a door in the back, which opened onto the tarmac, and there was a van waiting for us, with a driver. This is getting interesting. The lounge attendant got into the front seat and the driver drove us to the plane on the tarmac, where the lounge attendant escorted us to the stairs to the plane. This was the first time we got “escorted” to the plane on the tarmac, in a vehicle. 🙂 Only seen this in movies. Has anyone else experienced this?
We still could not see any other passengers. Curiosity grew. We said goodbye to our lounge attendant and boarded the plane and we found the plane to be totally full; just waiting for us. Surprise. But we never saw any other passengers in the terminal or the lounge. I can only guess that the plane must have flown in from somewhere else, stopped in Khiva to pick us up and then took off to Tashkent. 🙂
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, next.This entry was posted in Asia, Silk Road Uzbekistan Sept-Oct 2019, Uzbekistan
40 thoughts on “Silk Road 29: Khiva, Uzbekistan, Oct 2019”
Just wonderful pictures and amazing explanation. Love it
Thanks Nick; glad you enjoyed 🙂
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Thank you very much for sharing your experience and beautiful pictures. Keep up the good work.
Prayers for your safe journeys. Please keep safe and healthy.
THanks Shamim; for the kind words and good wishes.
I toured so many areas in Uzbekistan with you virtually👍Brilliantly expressed and excellent photography..
you two make a team indeed. Keep up the good work, your passion of Travel and allow us to visit virtually these remote parts with you..
Thanks so much Zubeda; so glad you are enjoying traveling with us 🙂
Hi Ali – as usual a very interesting account of the trip and pictures. Your references to BibiMariyam, remined me of my late mother, whose name was Mariyam as you spelt it!!
Looking forward to read your account of Tashkent. Something happened there in the 1960’s. You might have picked it up on your visit. Otherwise I will let you know after I read your write up.
Thanks Zahir; nice coincidence on the Mariyam name 🙂
I know about the Tashkent Files/Lal Bahadur Shastri if that is what you are talking about?
Love reading all your blogs! You are very talented… Your descriptions and pictures make me feel I’m traveling along with you.
Thank you for taking me virtually on your trips and inspiring me to take such trips in person in the future.
Thanks Shermin; so happy you are enjoying the blogs & traveling with us.
Our hope has been that our blogs inspire our readers to travel and see the world and its beauty themselves
You are one great example of that 🙂
Thanks for sharing. You guys know how to travel and visit these historical places. Please share more of your blogs , really enjoyed. Regard Sultan and Mubina.
Thanks Mubina and Sultan,for the kind words.
So glad to hear that you are enjoying the blogs
Many thanks for the history lesson and beautiful pictures of a place people like me have often dreamed about but never had the opportunity to visit.
Many thanks again for sharing.
Thanks Ismail; I hope this inspires you to travel and see for yourself.
Let me know if I can help in any way
Wish we had visited a while ago
Thanks Sadru; glad you liked it.
These photo and memories are wonderful. You guys really know how the enjoy the authentic life all the places you visit. Lovely to get these email.
Hope you are both keeping well.
Best regards from
Sultan and Mubina
Thanks Mubina, so glad you hare having fun reading my blogs
I am amazed by the Australian couple you met who sold everything and are travelling.
Khiva looks so beautiful-such beautiful architecture.
The airport experience was quite unique.
Love your blogs.
THanks Mahamud; glad you are enjoying the blogs
Thank you so much for sharing! Beautiful Images…Asante.
Love, Light & Cheers
Thanks for sharing this beautiful country.
You are very lucky to see all this.
Yes indeed, we are very blessed and thank Allah every day.
Both of you will go down in history books !!!!!! Be safe. My 🤲 for safe journey
Thanks Aziz; for the very kind words 🙂
As always; Amazing, beautiful and very interesting.
Thanks so much
lovely pics as usual
Wonderful memories from our time in Uzbekistan. Love all of your photos Ali – and it was lovely to chat to you guys on the train 🙂 Thank you so much for the mention.
Yes indeed Shelly; very nice to have met you on the train; stay in touch.
Wow! Excellent post and Amazing photos, Ali. In awe of your explorer spirit and your willingness to take the time and effort to share your experiences. Hats off to you and Dilshad!
Thanks so much Vineeta; for the kind words.
wonderful trip,would love to join ,Sir
Thanks Lin; glad you enjoyed
Ali, God bless you for all your efforts in sharing your travel blog to date. Thoroughly enjoyed catching up on my reading of your blogs.
Please convey our regards to Dilshad.
Thanks Amir, for the kind words
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