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
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Colonial Church of San Francisco de Assis, Taos, New Mexico, USA
Architecture & Design
Taos, USA

North America Ancestor of Taos

Traveling through New Mexico, we were dazzled by the two versions of Taos, that of the indigenous adobe hamlet of Taos Pueblo, one of the towns of the USA inhabited for longer and continuously. And that of Taos city that the Spanish conquerors bequeathed to the Mexico: Mexico gave in to United States and that a creative community of native descendants and migrated artists enhance and continue to praise.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
Camel Racing, Desert Festival, Sam Sam Dunes, Rajasthan, India
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

The Legacy of an Historic Shuttle

The founding of Colónia do Sacramento by the Portuguese generated recurrent conflicts with their spanish rivals. Until 1828, this fortified square, now sedative, changed sides again and again.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Pitões das Junias, Montalegre, Portugal
Montalegre, Portugal

Through Alto do Barroso, Top of Trás-os-Montes

we moved from Terras de Bouro for those of Barroso. Based in Montalegre, we wander around the discovery of Paredes do Rio, Tourém, Pitões das Júnias and its monastery, stunning villages on the border of Portugal. If it is true that Barroso has had more inhabitants, visitors should not miss it.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Inle Lake, Myanmar

A Pleasant Forced Stop

In the second of the holes that we have during a tour around Lake Inlé, we hope that they will bring us the bicycle with the patched tyre. At the roadside shop that welcomes and helps us, everyday life doesn't stop.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Glamor vs Faith
Goa, India

The Last Gasp of the Goan Portugality

The prominent city of Goa already justified the title of “rome of the east” when, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, epidemics of malaria and cholera led to its abandonment. The New Goa (Pangim) for which it was exchanged became the administrative seat of Portuguese India but was annexed by the Indian Union of post-independence. In both, time and neglect are ailments that now make the Portuguese colonial legacy wither.
Drums and Tattoos
Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Beyond the Cliché

Neighbors Bora Bora and Maupiti have superior scenery but Tahiti has long been known as paradise and there is more life on the largest and most populous island of French Polynesia, its ancient cultural heart.
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.

icy blue planet

They form at high latitudes and/or altitudes. In Alaska or New Zealand, Argentina or Chile, rivers of ice are always stunning visions of an Earth as frigid as it is inhospitable.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Van at Jossingfjord, Magma Geopark, Norway
Natural Parks
Magma Geopark, Norway

A Somehow Lunar Norway

If we went back to the geological ends of time, we would find southwestern Norway filled with huge mountains and a burning magma that successive glaciers would shape. Scientists have found that the mineral that predominates there is more common on the Moon than on Earth. Several of the scenarios we explore in the region's vast Magma Geopark seem to be taken from our great natural satellite.
Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
UNESCO World Heritage
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mahé Ilhas das Seychelles, friends of the beach
Mahé, Seychelles

The Big Island of the Small Seychelles

Mahé is the largest of the islands of the smallest country in Africa. It's home to the nation's capital and most of the Seychellois. But not only. In its relative smallness, it hides a stunning tropical world, made of mountainous jungle that merges with the Indian Ocean in coves of all sea tones.
Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang, Laos, Through the Mekong Below
Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang , Laos

Slow Boat, Down the Mekong River

Laos' beauty and lower cost are good reasons to sail between Chiang Khong and Luang Prabang. But this long descent of the Mekong River can be as exhausting as it is picturesque.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Ijen Volcano, Slaves of Sulfur, Java, Indonesia
Ijen volcano, Indonesia

The Ijen Volcano Sulphur Slaves

Hundreds of Javanese surrender to the Ijen volcano where they are consumed by poisonous gases and loads that deform their shoulders. Each turn earns them less than €30 but everyone is grateful for their martyrdom.
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.
Cliffs above the Valley of Desolation, near Graaf Reinet, South Africa
Graaf-Reinet, South Africa

A Boer Spear in South Africa

In early colonial times, Dutch explorers and settlers were terrified of the Karoo, a region of great heat, great cold, great floods and severe droughts. Until the Dutch East India Company founded Graaf-Reinet there. Since then, the fourth oldest city in the rainbow nation it thrived at a fascinating crossroads in its history.
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.