Monday, September 6, 2010

Uzbekistan | Khoresm | Khiva | Shaxrizoda Hotel

The entire inner city of Khiva, an area covering seventy-five or so acres, is one vast open-air museum. At least fifty historic buildings—mosques, tombs, palaces, caravanserais, etc.—and several hundred domestic dwellings have been refurbished and restored. Admittedly, this creates somewhat of a sterile atmosphere, but if you accept the place as a museum—which indeed is what it advertises itself as—then it has to rank as one of the world’s more intriguing museums. Reportedly some 3000 people live within The Walls of the Inner City—that is to say within the museum—and most visitors also stay in guesthouses in the Inner City, making them live-in patrons of the museum. Most of the guesthouses are either refurbished eighteenth and nineteenth century merchants’ houses or replicas of merchants’ houses. And these old Silk Road merchants liked to live in style. Many of their homes qualified as mansions; today they make extremely comfortable guesthouses. Most of the guest houses seem to be run by single families who live on the premises. I stayed at the Shaxrizoda Hotel, right inside the south gate of the Inner City. Shaxrizoda is a Uzbek rendering of Scheherazade, the story-teller from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
Entrance to the Shaxrizoda Hotel
Lobby of the Shaxrizoda Hotel
Dining Room and Balcony
Display Case in Dining Room
Second Floor Hallway
Bed
Silk Wall Hanging in Dining Room showing Shahryar, the King to whom Scheherazade tells her stories in the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
 The hotel is managed by the wife in the family and her daughters. The daughters speak English. The husband is a wood carver and furniture maker. Here is one of his beds. The price is $50,000, not counting shipping to your home country. Within the past year he has sold three of these beds to European and American businessmen. 

1 comment:

  1. Why there's room for a king and a few wives and children here! Lovely place, must be where the Rockafellers got their idea for restoring Williamsburg, another much newer live-in museum.

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