Khiva, Uzbequistan

The Silk Road Fortress the Soviets Velved

pillars of faith
Young girl among the 213 carved wooden columns of the Juma Mosque.
Central Asia "Afro"
A man dressed in traditional costumes from the Turkmen steppe, including a traditional sheep's wool cap worn by local warriors to protect themselves from the intense cold.
The inquisitive statue of a famous native mathematician and astronomer, challenged by the cheeky presence of a city child.
In Summer Clothing
Woman in traditional Uzbek dress, protected from the scorching sun that hits Central Asia from June to late August.
Kalta Minaret Minaret, planned to reach 80 meters high but was left halfway through by a deceased Khan and his successor who allegedly did not want to continue the work.
camel parking
A camel in the shadow of an inner wall of the ark of Khuna.
Supreme View
Family views Khiva's houses from the observation platform of Islam Khodja's madrassa minaret.
mini minaret
Detail of the top of a minaret, with the majolica of the minor minaret of Kalta in front.
little magic carpet
Mother and daughter shake a rug on a terrace on the northern edge of the walled fortress of Ichon Qala.
Young Uzbek settles comfortably in a street photographer's chair, next to winter bonnets typical of the Central Asian steppe.
Uzbek twilight
Silhouette of a minaret of an ancient mosque located in front of the western portal of the wall of Ichon Qala, the fortified area of ​​Khiva.
In the 80s, Soviet leaders renewed Khiva in a softened version that, in 1990, UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site. The USSR disintegrated the following year. Khiva has preserved its new luster.

The afternoon is drawing to a close. Bustle takes over from the square in front of the west portal of Ichon Qala, the old walled area of ​​Khiva.

A crowd armed with buckets and jugs vie for water supplied by a pump sunk in a pavement fault.

Tough teams of kids play ball.

Others challenge the inexhaustible patience of the statue of Al-Khwarizmi, a native mathematician, astronomer and geographer born in 780.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, Al-Khwarizmi

The inquisitive statue of a famous native mathematician and astronomer, challenged by the cheeky presence of a city child.

In the XNUMXth century, Latin translations of his work on Indian numerals introduced the positional decimal number system to the Western World. Today, the inquisitive bronze sculpture inspires the city's children in countless games and pranks.

We went back inside the walls. We added our movement to the Terra.

With sunset, imminent. we make the small ball of the sun fit between the battlements and the windows a little further down, positioned under two large domes.

The access to the top of the adarves ended at six o'clock in the afternoon, much earlier than it suited those who, like us, wanted to admire and register the interior of the city under a twilight light.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, sunset minaret

Silhouette of a minaret of an ancient mosque located in front of the western portal of the wall of Ichon Qala, the fortified area of ​​Khiva.

The Inescapable Legacy of Soviet Corruption

In a previous contact with the person responsible for entries, we asked if there was any way she could help us, because we would also be doing it to promote her city.

The bulky woman, in a uniform of obvious Soviet heritage and hair and some matching golden teeth, pulls on her best English and responds with undisguised coldness: “I can't normally do this but… be here at 8:10.000. Ah! And it will cost you 4 SUMs (a mere €XNUMX).

We took a walk around the city and met Nilufar, the young multilingual Uzbek guide – spoke Uzbek, Russian, English, French and a little German – who would help us if any last-minute problems arose and would give us a fresh history lesson. -learned, on top of the walls.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road,

View of the western façade of the wall with the minor minaret of Kalta highlighted behind the main portico.

A matriosque he appeared on the other side of the square and wasted no time: “I no longer picked up my husband at home and came by taxi. I have to ask you for 5000 more SUMs.”

The Unbelief and Disillusionment of Nilufar

Nilufar had seen her come out of an old Lada led by a man, with three dwarves also following behind. It was easy for him to conclude that this was his family.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, Uzbek woman

Woman in traditional Uzbek dress, protected from the scorching sun that hits Central Asia from June to late August.

And that the employee was just inflating the profit taken out of the alleged favor.

The guide, who had been born in the year the USSR had dissolved, did everything possible to avoid arguing with that more than accomplished woman who oppressed and intimidated her.

Unable to hide his disappointment, he began to cry that we immediately tried to understand and stop: "but, after all, what was Nilufar?" we started by asking you.

“We always learned at school that in the Soviet Union there was no such thing as bribes or that sort of thing. Now you've come this far and I'm soon caught up in a scam like this. I feel ashamed.”

We tried to demystify the doctrine imposed by the teachers of his and previous generations as gently as possible. Nilufar seems to conform to the harshness of our version. Calm down, gain the courage to face the guardian again who is not tamed by anything in this world

"Look, you have to hurry!" alert us with outstretched finger.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, Khuna's Ark

Mother and son cross an almost deserted square in front of Ichon Qala's Khuna Ark.

We paid him the required sum and crossed the ark of Khuna, the fortified inner residence of the city's secular rulers.

We proceed to the top of the western edge of the walls of Khiva. Shortly after, another couple of customers arrive after the lady's hours.

Instead of thinking about what to think, we focused on the splendid scenery.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, Islam Khodja

Islam Khodja's minaret projected from one of the city's smallest madrassas.

The Majolic Elegance of the Khiva Fortress

Forward, the walls, warheads, pediments and minarets of successive madrassas were repeated.

In a predominant tone of toasted sand only broken by the elegant blues and greens of Islamic majolica typical of those parts of Central Asia.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, Minaret

Detail of the top of a minaret, with the majolica of the minor minaret of Kalta in front.

Behind the last one stretched a single-storey house of the same dominant one, mixed with green vegetation that almost never surpassed it.

As we looked at it then, Khiva had little to do with what it was in its heyday.

The Grand History of Khiva on the Silk Road

According to archaeologists, it was founded in the XNUMXth or XNUMXth centuries BC

Shortly thereafter, it was already known as one of the outposts on the Silk Road that linked Rome to China, in line with other renowned emporiums cases of Samarkand and Bukhara.

In the XNUMXth century, the Arab explorer and geographer Ibn Batuta visited it, probably arriving in a camel caravan.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, camel

A camel in the shadow of an inner wall of the ark of Khuna.

He praised the tireless care with which his ruler maintained law and order despite, as he recounted: "the city was so full of people that it was practically impossible to find your way in the crowd."

In the image of what would happen to most of the area, Genghis Khan has swept away the past. In the late XNUMXth century, descendants of the Mongol emperor formed a khanato.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, elder

Muslim elder at the entrance to the east portal of the fortress of Ichon Qala.

They chose Khiva for their capital.

Khiva became a slave market that lasted more than three centuries in reality and in the tormented imagination of the peoples of the region.

Most of the slaves were brought by Turkmen tribal warriors from the karakum desert or by counterparts from the steppes of present-day Kazakhstan.

Some kidnapped anyone unlucky enough to live or travel in the vicinity.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, carpet

Mother and daughter shake a rug on a terrace on the northern edge of the walled fortress of Ichon Qala.

The Walled Khiva of Present-day Uzbekistan

Today, Khiva is home to more than 50 free inhabitants. Of these, only 3000 live within the walls.

Some thrive on charging outsiders the privilege of photographing themselves in war clothes from that era.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, photo Cussak

Man in costume from the turkish steppe, including a sheep's wool cap worn by warriors to protect themselves from the intense cold.

The business is based on wooden armchairs and khan coats, historic sabers and, the most stunning adornment, the large-volume bonnets made of sheep's wool that protected the warriors from the excruciating cold of the steppe.

Some opted for rubber or plush tigers, placed in flashy plastic rose frames with the purpose of capturing the female sector of passersby.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, photo with tiger

Friends pose in a set improvised by a street photographer for visitors to Khiva.

After adhering to the traditional modality, we patiently ascend the 118 spiral steps.

We reach the 45 meter high observation platform, on top of the highest minaret in the city, which projects from one of its smallest madrassas, that of Islam Khodja.

We share this tight summit with a traditional Uzbek family.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, Islam Khodja

Family views Khiva's houses from the observation platform of Islam Khodja's madrassa minaret.

The City of Islamic Genesis on the Path to Recover Islam

In the process of the formation of the USSR, shortly after the October Revolution, the integration of Khiva into the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic represented an annihilation of any and all forms of religious expression.

Mainly from the predominant Islam

As we walked through the streets of the fortress, almost stripped of any ordinary form of life, it would have been unthinkable not to notice.

Missing are masses of young apprentices of the faith in Allah, such as those in Pakistan or neighboring Afghanistan. Of the sixteen madrassas and many mosques, only one or the other functioned as such.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, Juma Mosque

Young girl among the 213 carved wooden columns of the Juma Mosque.

The rest, the palaces, mausoleums and other historic buildings formed an open-air museum to which the few inhabitants and visitors and merchants from Uzbek and other parts of Central Asia lend as genuineness as possible.

Even so, we were housed in a “East Star” which is neither more nor less than a big madrassa adapted to a hotel.

Tired of walking the streets and alleys under the intense heat of the early summer of this continental Asia, we retire to our rooms with the stars already in the firmament.

We went out to the courtyard in the center of the madrassa. There, we are left to contemplate the starry sky with the spatial alienation of an Al-Khwarizmi in full study.

Until we got tired of the inaction and went out to investigate a beam of bluish light that towered over the structure of the building.

On the main façade, we see a blue semi-tower that received the base of the lighting. We asked an employee on duty at the hotel entrance what this strange work was all about.

To which he replies: “Ah, that lights up Kalta's minaret.

Khiva, Uzbekistan, Fortress, Silk Road, Kalta Minor

Kalta Minaret Minaret, planned to reach 80 meters high but was left halfway through by a deceased Khan and his successor who allegedly did not want to continue the work.

It was supposed to be the biggest in Khiva at about 80 meters but the Khan died and what followed didn't want to complete it.

It is said that he realized that the muezzins would be able to see the women of his harem from the top and that, therefore, he did not proceed with the construction. Believe it or not.”


Journey through the Uzbekistan Pseudo-Roads

Centuries passed. Old and run-down Soviet roads ply deserts and oases once traversed by caravans from the Silk RoadSubject to their yoke for a week, we experience every stop and incursion into Uzbek places, into scenic and historic road rewards.
Castles and Fortresses

The World to Defense - Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia still Perfumed by the Rose Revolution

In 2003, a popular political uprising made the sphere of power in Georgia tilt from East to West. Since then, the capital Tbilisi has not renounced its centuries of Soviet history, nor the revolutionary assumption of integrating into Europe. When we visit, we are dazzled by the fascinating mix of their past lives.
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

The Capital Fortress of a Parricide King

Kashyapa I came to power after walling up his father's monarch. Afraid of a probable attack by his brother heir to the throne, he moved the main city of the kingdom to the top of a granite peak. Today, his eccentric haven is more accessible than ever and has allowed us to explore the Machiavellian plot of this Sri Lankan drama.
Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Astronomer Sultan

The grandson of one of the great conquerors of Central Asia, Ulugh Beg, preferred the sciences. In 1428, he built a space observatory in Samarkand. His studies of the stars led him to name a crater on the Moon.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Samarkand, Uzbequistan

A Monumental Legacy of the Silk Road

In Samarkand, cotton is the most traded commodity and Ladas and Chevrolets have replaced camels. Today, instead of caravans, Marco Polo would find Uzbekistan's worst drivers.
Aral Sea, Uzbequistan

The Lake that Cotton Absorbed

In 1960, the Aral Sea was one of the four largest lakes in the world. Irrigation projects dried up much of the water and fishermen's livelihoods. In return, the USSR flooded Uzbekistan with vegetable white gold.
Saint John of Acre, Israel

The Fortress That Withstood Everything

It was a frequent target of the Crusades and taken over and over again. Today, Israeli, Acre is shared by Arabs and Jews. He lives much more peaceful and stable times than the ones he went through.
Jaisalmer, India

The Life Withstanding in the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer

The Jaisalmer fortress was erected from 1156 onwards by order of Rawal Jaisal, ruler of a powerful clan from the now Indian reaches of the Thar Desert. More than eight centuries later, despite continued pressure from tourism, they share the vast and intricate interior of the last of India's inhabited forts, almost four thousand descendants of the original inhabitants.
Massada, Israel

Massada: The Ultimate Jewish Fortress

In AD 73, after months of siege, a Roman legion found that the resisters at the top of Masada had committed suicide. Once again Jewish, this fortress is now the supreme symbol of Zionist determination
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Visitors in Jameos del Água, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Architecture & Design
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

To César Manrique what is César Manrique's

By itself, Lanzarote would always be a Canaria by itself, but it is almost impossible to explore it without discovering the restless and activist genius of one of its prodigal sons. César Manrique passed away nearly thirty years ago. The prolific work he left shines on the lava of the volcanic island that saw him born.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
good buddhist advice
Ceremonies and Festivities
Chiang Mai, Thailand

300 Wats of Spiritual and Cultural Energy

Thais call every Buddhist temple wat and their northern capital has them in obvious abundance. Delivered to successive events held between shrines, Chiang Mai is never quite disconnected.
Street Bar, Fremont Street, Las Vegas, United States
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The Sin City Cradle

The famous Strip has not always focused the attention of Las Vegas. Many of its hotels and casinos replicated the neon glamor of the street that once stood out, Fremont Street.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
Tatooine on Earth
Matmata Tataouine:  Tunisia

Star Wars Earth Base

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Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Great Ocean Road, Australia

Ocean Out, along the Great Australian South

One of the favorite escapes of the Australian state of Victoria, via B100 unveils a sublime coastline that the ocean has shaped. We only needed a few kilometers to understand why it was named The Great Ocean Road.
Native Americans Parade, Pow Pow, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Albuquerque, USA

When the Drums Sound, the Indians Resist

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sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
At the end of the afternoon
Ilha de Mozambique, Mozambique  

The Island of Ali Musa Bin Bique. Pardon... of Mozambique

With the arrival of Vasco da Gama in the extreme south-east of Africa, the Portuguese took over an island that had previously been ruled by an Arab emir, who ended up misrepresenting the name. The emir lost his territory and office. Mozambique - the molded name - remains on the resplendent island where it all began and also baptized the nation that Portuguese colonization ended up forming.
Jean Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, New Caledonia, Greater Calhau, South Pacific
Grande Terre, New Caledonia

South Pacific Great Boulder

James Cook thus named distant New Caledonia because it reminded him of his father's Scotland, whereas the French settlers were less romantic. Endowed with one of the largest nickel reserves in the world, they named Le Caillou the mother island of the archipelago. Not even its mining prevents it from being one of the most dazzling patches of Earth in Oceania.
ala juumajarvi lake, oulanka national park, finland
Winter White
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Fajãzinha, Ilha das Flores, Confins of the Azores and Portugal
Flores Island, Azores

The Atlantic ends of the Azores and Portugal

Where, to the west, even on the map the Americas appear remote, the Ilha das Flores is home to the ultimate Azorean idyllic-dramatic domain and almost four thousand Florians surrendered to the dazzling end-of-the-world that welcomed them.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Natural Parks
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Back to Danny Boyle's The Beach

It's been 15 years since the debut of the backpacker classic based on the novel by Alex Garland. The film popularized the places where it was shot. Shortly thereafter, the XNUMX tsunami literally washed some away off the map. Today, their controversial fame remains intact.
Ostrich, Cape Good Hope, South Africa
UNESCO World Heritage
Cape of Good Hope - Cape of Good Hope NP, South Africa

On the edge of the Old End of the World

We arrived where great Africa yielded to the domains of the “Mostrengo” Adamastor and the Portuguese navigators trembled like sticks. There, where Earth was, after all, far from ending, the sailors' hope of rounding the tenebrous Cape was challenged by the same storms that continue to ravage there.
aggie gray, Samoa, South Pacific, Marlon Brando Fale
Apia, Western Samoa

The Host of the South Pacific

She sold burguês to GI's in World War II and opened a hotel that hosted Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper. Aggie Gray passed away in 2. Her legacy lives on in the South Pacific.
Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Mme Moline popinée
LifouLoyalty Islands

The Greatest of the Loyalties

Lifou is the island in the middle of the three that make up the semi-francophone archipelago off New Caledonia. In time, the Kanak natives will decide if they want their paradise independent of the distant metropolis.
Peasant woman, Majuli, Assam, India
Majuli Island, India

An Island in Countdown

Majuli is the largest river island in India and would still be one of the largest on Earth were it not for the erosion of the river Bramaputra that has been making it diminish for centuries. If, as feared, it is submerged within twenty years, more than an island, a truly mystical cultural and landscape stronghold of the Subcontinent will disappear.
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
On Rails
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Jeep crosses Damaraland, Namibia
Damaraland, Namíbia

Namibia On the Rocks

Hundreds of kilometers north of Swakopmund, many more of Swakopmund's iconic dunes Sossuvlei, Damaraland is home to deserts interspersed with hills of reddish rock, the highest mountain and ancient rock art of the young nation. the settlers South Africans they named this region after the Damara, one of the Namibian ethnic groups. Only these and other inhabitants prove that it remains on Earth.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.