2012
05.08

SYNOPSIS:  THE UNESCO SITE OF KHIVA – AN UNREAL STEP BACK INTO MEDIEVAL HISTORY.

It was about 5 PM in the afternoon when I reached the medieval city of Khiva, laid eyes on the immaculately preserved ramparts, and stepped for the first time through Ota Darvoza, the West gate of this UNESCO preserved medieval town.  The sun already had that warm afternoon glow and shone onto the squat Kalta Minor, the minaret that was to be the tallest in the world at over 230 feet, but which stopped at a mere 85 feet instead.  It is massive and commands respect even in its truncated embarrassment.  It is covered top to bottom with colored tiles and thus provides the unquestionable visual focal point of the entire city.  I was at once reminded of Jerusalem.  Just as modern Jerusalem surrounds the Old City which is divided into its four quarters, so does modern Khiva surround this medieval gem.  Here, too, you have quarters.  The central East-West axis comprises most of the monuments, madrassas, caravanserais, minarets, markets, and squares whereas the North and the South holds residential neighborhoods with small, ramshackle buildings arranged in no apparent order.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY