Saturday, October 19, 2019

Khiva, Uzbekistan

After our uneventful overnight journey, we arrived into Khiva on time.  The railway line was only opened last year and there is a new shiny station ...which we didn’t go into.  Instead, we headed into the midst of the mass of taxi drivers wanting to take us to a hotel.  After standing strong on the price, and walking away from the negotiation, we had a ride that was 50% of the starting offer.  It turned out to be a micro car, but with 1 suitcase in the boot, 1 suitcase on the backseat, and both of us folded in various ways to actually fit into the car, we drove off a surprisingly fast speed.  Noddy and Big Ears did come to mind. 

Driving into Khiva we thought we had hit a mud-ghost-town, but in reality, our hotel was a stone's throw from the main thoroughfare.  There we found paved streets and plenty of tourists.  

After only having a Muesli bar for breakfast on the train, we needed lunch and a coffee. The Terrassa cafĂ© was the perfect venue.  Soup and meat dumplings, 2 beers and a lemonade with ginger, followed by a coffee set us back 25 NZD

After a mid afternoon rest and a brief walk about we returned to the Terrassa cafe again for dinner. We didn't have a reservation, but we got a seat on the rooftop as long as we agreed that we would be out by 8 (it was only 6:30 at this point).  Sunset was at 7.15 and we had the place to ourselves with 2 other tables until 7:00.  At that point, the place totally filled up with tourists, all taking pictures of the setting sun.  We were out of there by 7.15...going early had definite advantages.

The next day we got up early for a walk around the outside of the city walls before breakfast. It was well worth it for the good light, and a lack of tourists. 

After breakfast we explored the town properly. It was heavily restored in the 1970s and the term ‘living museum’ is often bandied about.  For all that, it is atmospheric, and we enjoyed our time there.

It has many, many, buildings. Most of them would not warrant paying to go inside. Instead the city has a single expensive ticket @ 100000 over USD 10 each, for access for most places in the old city (valid for 2 days). We looked at it as being contribution to upkeep. The mosaics continue to be stunning.  But the vendors and shops that are set-up inside the monuments are not so stunning.  However, it is what it is.

Before the trip we read the book "A carpet ride to Khiva", by a British man's endeavour to set up a silk carpet workshop in Khiva. It was a spot we wanted to visit and was interesting to see the things talked about in the book.  The carpets take about 3 months to complete and cost 2-3000 USD

Lunch was a short walk outside the city walls to "Khiva Moon".  It was highly recommended via TripAdvisor and the food proved to be excellent.  The service on the other hand was the slowest anywhere we had been.  

In the evening we went to Khorezm Art cafe which had also been recommended.  It was fine, but the Terassa cafe from the day before was the better option.

Stayed at Arkanchi hotel


  1. Fascinating. Looks like a happy hunting ground for the Erratic Cook, if he ever has a chance to visit...

    1. The Erratic Cook and Mrs Erratic Cook, would find it fascinating!

  2. Amazing journey and great photos - has whetted my appetite for the 'stans!