Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Uzbek culture and traditions circuit, Khiva (Day 1 morning - cont.) - The 7th of September 2013


We visited the Ak Mosque, whose foundation is said to have taken place in 1657 during the reign of Anush-Khan. Its wooden columns were not continuously carved and only its ends are finished by decorative capitals.

The open air market we visited afterwards allowed us to feel the smells of this new country we had barely walked into. The different facial features of the vendors clearly showed the multiple influences the country had gone through and though I was told it would be no problem to photograph them I decided I'd photograph the atmosphere rather than the people.

Our next vist was the Tash-Khauli Palace, the main palace of the Khivan Kahns constructed during the Kahn Allakuli's governance in the nineteenth century.  So as to reach it we had to walk around the outside walls and get back into the Inchan-Kala.

It consisted of three main parts: the harem, the mekhmonkhona (premises for the Kahn's receptions and feasts) and the arzkhonas (official administrative premises). I was impressed with the richly decorated courtyard displaying a wide variety of majolica panel ornaments, wooden columns and bright painted ceilings.

It is said that in 1875 Colonel Frederick Gustavus Barnaby, an English traveller and soldier reached Khiva to ascertain what had really happened to the Khanate since the Russian occupation. Having been warmly received by the Khan he noticed that in spite of having four wives, Mohammed Rakhim Khan II had many concubines and  some good-looking boys of a rather effeminate appearance lodged in the Palace harem courtyard (seen underneath).

(To be continued)

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