June 23, 2022 – Khiva, Uzbekistan

In the alley right below, a child sings in a language both strange and familiar to me. Strange because she sings in the Khorezmcha dialect, familiar because it is music.

A few meters away from her, women in traditional dress eclipse the child’s voice as they bargain with her mother, a scarf seller. These women are tourists from the other “Stan” nations. They flock the streets by sundown. (Western tourists tend to forego Khiva because it is out of the way. To get here from Bukhara, one has to drive for hours through an expanse of steppeland that seems to stretch to infinity, and the usual tourist would usually opt for another stamp on the passport from another Stan than come to Khiva. I am now closer to Turkmenistan than I am to Bukhara.)

But I also see Khiva changing right before my eyes. I see workers installing LED lights, replacing some crumbling bricks, and fixing the cracks of the old city, making it look new. And although they have the tourist’s best interest in mind, I feel a pinch in my heart. I know Khiva will not look the same in a few months, or weeks… and there is a bittersweetness in realizing that I came just in time — or perhaps, a few centuries late.

In the distance, the tallest minaret in Central Asia calls my attention, calls to prayer, calls time to stand still, and all falls silent.

Does this balcony right outside my bedroom explain enough why I chose to stay in Khiva longer?

© 2022 MDR
Khiva, Uzbekistan

6 thoughts on “June 23, 2022 – Khiva, Uzbekistan”

  1. That view…. Good lord! I need to find out where that is so i can stay there too. When i go. Lol. Your lines about change made me sad though as I can’t get there any time soon. I aim for 2024. I hope its not too crazy changed by then!

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    1. I would love to recommend the place to you! The places I stayed in Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva are all family-owned and I think these places give one a more authentic and personalized experience, especially that you get to interact and converse with the families. Feel free to send me a message when you start planning your detailed itinerary!

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    1. Thank you for sharing! What an informative mag! I regret not going to Karakalpakstan after seeing the photos they featured of the Zoroastrian structure, but the unrest made me think twice. Let’s hope things are better by the time you visit!

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      1. So glad you could see it! I spent hours on this cold rainy day looking through the magazine and all the past issues too! Haha. (In between house work and mother duties of course!). I was wondering if you got to Karakalpakstan. Definitely not the time to go now. But another reason for you to go back!

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