The second day in Khiva was expected not to be overcharged, once we had already seen almost everything that had been programmed but under the direction of our guide we took to further exploring the city, having started with some insight to symbols to be found in the walls followed by a visit to a small Museum located in one of the Madrasahs, which housed a small collection of artefacts, from pictures of the epoch to profusely carved doors, traditional clothes and paintings.
Photos of Isfandiyard Kahn and his son Temurgazi Tora
A painting by Azizov D. showing the brides' clothes used at the end of the nineteenth century
In the Madrasah's courtyard we were introduced to a traditional Uzbek circus-like performance carried out by a family of acrobats, an art which has been passed on from generation. At the end of their performance all the family members played typical Uzek songs with rather exquisite instruments. I couldn't exactly say whether I had liked the sound, particularly the strong one produced by the gigantic horns ... it was so out of touch with what one is used to listening to that I felt I'd have to carefully let it take over me ... and it might be a rather slow process, which I was nevertheless open to.
I had started handing out the little presents I always carry with me for the children whenever I visit a foreign country the previous day but felt really privileged to have handed out a special one to the five year old acrobat, who performed like a "professional" young lady.
We then walked along the street dedicated to the artists and managed to watch several performing their artistry. We were impressed to see many young men learning the artistic handicrafts of their country. Along those shop-ateliers we came across several children either studying or playing chess. How differently do these children occupy their free time when compared to western children ...
The Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, considered one of the most outstanding works of Khivan architecure was the next monument we visited. It is said to have been constructed in honour of the well known Khivan poet, who also became famous for his herculean strength. It has become a popular place of pilgrimage. Having defended and developed moral and living principles Mahmud is known to be behind the pillars of the Sufi current "Zhavonmardlik", whose main concepts are based on generosity, mercy, nobleness, modesty and humility to the creator but he is also regarded as a sort of patron saint, this being the reason as to why it is usual for newly weds to pray by his tomb.
(To be continued)