Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The old city of Itchan Kala, Uzbekistan

On Wednesday, we set off to explore the old walled city of Itchan Kala. There are more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, most built in the 1700's, although the original Juma Mosque with its 112 wooden columns is one of the oldest structures.

A little cloudy and overcast, but still with a pleasant high of about 20C (68F).

Our hosts at the guest house once again started us off with a delicious breakfast...

Breakfast in Khiva, Uzbekistan.

The old walled city is a tourist attraction, and as such you have to pay to get in. The cost for the "VIP" ticket was 150,000 SOM ($12.30 USD, $17 CAD) each. The next level down was 100,000 SOM, and we found out later that there isn't much difference between the two. The higher priced one was supposed to get you entrance into a few more attractions but either they didn't check, which meant that you could get in anyhow, or they changed a couple of things that were originally supposed to be included, and now cost extra. The ticket price gives you two full days to explore because there is a lot to see.

I took too many photos. I tried to whittle them down for you, but there are still a lot!

That fancy tiled tower was originally supposed to be a huge minaret but it was never completed.

 They started building it in 1851 under the direction of Mohammed Amin Khan, who wanted to build a minaret so tall that it could be seen from Bukhara. But the khan dropped dead in 1855, leaving the minaret unfinished.



There are a lot of tourist trinket stalls inside the old walled area.

Inside a fancy hotel. A lot of the older structures have been turned into hotels and guest houses.

It is quite busy, with both Uzbekistan tourists and Russian tourists.
We also saw a few western tourists, but not many.

What is so funny?

Scenery along the way.

"Do you speak English?" A stranger asked as we passed by.

A group of students learning English were looking for English speaking tourists to speak with to practice their English. We were quite happy to oblige and we spent fifteen minutes or so chatting and answering questions.

They were mostly university students, some taking engineering, physics, and mathematics. A smart bunch! They want to learn English to improve their ability to be emigrate. We asked their instructor how difficult it is for an Uzbekistan citizen to be approved for a visa to, say, Canada. He said it is currently one step above impossible. Of course Canada accepts a lot of foreigners, but they are mostly refugees. 

Ruth, with the Uzbek student group.
We thought it was odd that the men all stood on one side, and the girls on the other.

More scenery inside the walled city.

Lots of tourist trinket stalls. Our grandson Cameron would have loved it!

There are many old mausoleum sites.

A lot of interesting architecture.

Many old wooden doors with fancy carvings.

How time consuming would it have been to carve all of this?

How about this fancy axe?
There are several museums included.

There was one big mausoleum/cemetery that cost extra, so Ruth paid to go in alone. 





Pretty fancy!


Itchan Kala is a popular place for locals to come and do wedding and other special event photographs. So you see quite a few locals dressed up in fancy costumes and they are quite happy to have their photos taken by tourists, although many of them have professional photographers as well.

Love the little guy on the left!



Coming in for wedding photographs.
Notice again, the carved wood doors.

Yet another museum.

There must be 25 or so different museums! We wandered through most fairly quickly. Many were full of the typical broken pottery, so we didn't waste any time in them. Occasionally we would stop at something interesting, but otherwise it would have taken too much time.

Some area has lots of people, and others had none.

Rugs for sale.

Me, with a couple of more big old doors.

Another museum!


Lots of fancy tile work.

Quite a few tour groups eating lunch at the tourist restaurants.


Their "nature" museum.
Don't forget you can click on the photo to make it full size.
Then click again to zoom in.

I guess they didn't have google translate back when these signs were made!

A lamb with one head and two bodies.
"Ugly sheep"!

There are actually very few stray dogs.


Ruth found a little kitty who enjoyed the attention.

Cutie.


Ruth sat with the cat on her lap for a while.

Fancy carved wooden supports.

And fancy painted ceilings.

The King's Bedroom.

More fancy doors!

And fancy ceilings!


And fancy tiles.


Yet another museum.

Old boots.

The soles were stuffed with straw.

17th century jewelry.

The palace courtyard.



Walked our feet off, and went back to the room for a nap. We hadn't prearranged dinner with our hosts, so we decided to go out to one of the tourist restaurants in the old town. We know better, but we couldn't see a decent place outside of the old town that was within walking distance.

Old town all lit up at night.

Local Uzbekistan beer.
The finest beer... since 2007!

The dinner presentation was uninspiring. 
However, the chicken on the skewers was super tender and tasty!

Ruth had the plov... she said it was not bad.

Local vodka is cheap... around $2 a shot!

Not a bad day overall. Certainly a lot to see, but a little too touristy. I'm actually surprised there are this many tourists since Khiva is pretty remote.

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Record low deal on this Anker Power Station.

And in Canada...

4 comments:

  1. Some of the buildings are beautiful and I like the old wooden doors also I was surprised to see a hedgehog in the nature museum I wouldn’t have thought it was indigenous to that part of the world

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many of the buildings are beautiful and the tile covering some of the is lovely. Lots of old wooden doors that are all carved, it is really quite something to see.

      We were also surprised to see a hedgehog in the display but when I looked it up there is a type of hedgehog called the long-eared hedgehog that is native to Central Asia so I guess it is indigenous in this part of the world, we keep learning new things every day. :-)

      Delete
  2. Reminiscent of Moorish designs found in the Alhambra, many of which can be interpreted in textiles, such as quilting. All beautiful! Your travels are quite adventurous!
    --Annette in Omaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, some of the designs reminded us the Alhambra but not quite as beautiful or extensive, it was all definitely tvery pretty hough.

      We love visitng places that aren't so high on the tourist list, although we are quite surprised at the number of tourists herre in Khiva and have found that there is even more in Bukhara.

      Delete

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