On 28 April we said farewell to Marcus who had mended our leaking petrol tank and Muhammad and his family who had kindly given us an evening meal and breakfast.
We set off for Khiva, parking outside the beautiful East Gate of the massive city walls.
It was hot, so, after a few minutes sight seeing, we called into a cafe.
Here we were surprised and delighted to see our friends Peter and Christine from London. So we had a happy and extended lunch before setting off to see some of the sights of the city.
Everywhere there were brightly coloured silk scarves and beautiful wood carving.
The Friday Mosque had the best examples of the carved wooden columns that typify Muslim architecture in Uzbekistan. The effect was similar to the Great Mosque in Córdoba.
The stone palace had beautiful tiles as well as the carved wooden pillars. Apparently the Emir used to sit in judgement and then the accused left through one of three doors: freedom, imprisonment or death.
We also visited a beautiful and atmospheric mausoleum to Pakhlavan Makhmud, a true Renaissance man: Religious leader, poet and unbeaten champion wrestler. The pilgrims and the chants from the Imam created a holy atmosphere. The town was full of Uzbek tourists and pilgrims.
Getting jealous of Peter and Christine’s hotel room, we enquired about the possibility of a room in three different hotels. The receptionists’ faces were a study: clearly there was no chance of getting a hotel room on a Saturday night at short notice. So, after a convivial dinner watching the sun set over the city walls, we went back to our car and slept outside the East Gate until we were wakened by the call to prayer and noise of school
Waking up to Interest from young passers by