At this former Silk Road slave trading hub, you gotta use your imagination

Khiva

Khiva is an ancient city, though no one is sure when it was founded. Arab merchants first mention it in writing in the 10th century as a trading centre on the Silk Road, and in the 1600s it became the capital of a tribal state known as the Khanate of Khiva. For centuries it was renowned as the largest slave trading post in Central Asia, functioning well up until Russia conquered the city in the 1870s. Today all that remains of the khans’ legacy is a maze of elaborate old inns, mosques, shops, and other buildings.

Khiva is tucked away near the border of Turkmenistan, and is one of those must-see destinations that not everyone gets around to visiting. The old inner town isn’t very big, and was absolutely crammed with people and animals during the height of its popularity. Apparently the Soviets cleaned it up a lot, scrubbing every corner squeaky clean, and now it resembles more of a movie set than historical site. It’s beautiful to look at, but a bit soulless, and you really have to squint your brain to imagine how it must have been the place to pick up slaves back in the day.

Pontoon bridge

Crossing an old pontoon bridge on the way to Khiva

Khiva

The entrance to the old city, all squeaky clean

Khiva

Juma minaret. Minarets in Uzbekistan are pretty neat looking

Khiva

The only traders left nowadays sell only kitschy, overpriced souvenirs. Definitely no slaves here

Khiva-10

Khiva

Walls of the old city, known as Ichan-Kala

Khiva

Away from the touristy bits there are actually still people living inside the old city. The streets here are quiet, and people are friendly

Khiva

Cotton is Uzbekistan’s biggest export

Khiva

The unfinished Kalta-Minor minaret. The guy who commissioned it died in battle, and, according to legend, his successor ordered the project scrapped when he realised that, if it was completed, the emam could see right into his harem

Khiva

Khiva

Another mosque and cool minaret.. Khiva has loads of them

Khiva

Old city walls

Khiva

Khiva

Khiva



There are no comments

Add yours