Monday, August 24, 2009

and so this journey ends in Khiva

Khiva is the last stop on the 17 days touring of Uzbekistan in Central Asia. Yesterday we drove west from Bokhara, and after driving for over five hours, which included a 3 hour drive through the dessert, we came into Khiva.
The hotel Mallika is across from the western gate or the Ota Dervaza of the Ichan Qala, which is the old walled city of Khiva; Ichan is also listed as a heritage site under UNESCO. I was informed that the city sees anywhere from 200 to 400 tourist going through it. The cost for spending one day in Ichan, with access to over 20 monuments and museums is about 20,000 sums, this includes the cost of taking photographs inside the monuments. We got a chance to see the artisans, bent over the wood piece or weaving carpets in their workshops. The wood used in Khiva is from the Elm tree, we saw beautifully carved doors, and cutting boards, and in the courtyard of the workshop we saw a huge gazebo, this is the kind of daybed with cushions for seating, when asked if this was on special order, they said no, we took 6 months to build this and now we wait for a buyer.
As we entered the silk carpet store, we saw the weavers creating their art in the the carpets they weave. The samples of their creation was a delight to see and touch. Many carpet designs have been taken from the miniature paintings. We saw the silk, and the process of softening and dyeing the silk. Now when I look at silk, and carpets it will be more than wow this is very beautiful , this visit has added another dimension of understanding the effort, skill and art in creating a silk carpet and this process will be remembered.
Watching the children as they approach the tourist, asking for candy or a pen, or even posing for a photograph……………the most interesting was when a teeny little girl, not more than two years old,, standing outside the store where a younger and an older woman were sitting, who I presumed to be her mother and grandmother, this little girl looked at us and with her hands pointed towards the table where some items for sale were displayed., and in her baby plus foreign language wanted us to look at the items and buy them. Her tone of voice and the inflection in her voice was the same as her mother uses to invite the tourist to buy.

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