The Ancient Fortresses Around Khiva, the Uzbeks Win a Gold, and Dinner with New Friends

Our second day in Khiva was for the stuff outside the city.  

First off, I want to put a plug in for the amazing hotel we stayed in in Khiva. If you’ve been following my blog then you know it’s the owned by the same family that owns my favorite hotel of our whole trip so far and that was the one in Bukhara. That one was called Malika Bukhara Hotel and the one in Khiva was called Hotel Arkanchi. I promise they didn’t pay me anything to say this. They don’t even know I’m putting them in my blog. Their hotels are nice, their staff is nice, and we just happened to be staying there at the exact same time as the owners so we met them. They are a wonderful family. They invited us to dinner one night and it was wonderful, but to be honest I’d be writing this even if they hadn’t. We loved our stay there. They’ll be opening a place in Samarkand soon too.  

The second day was for seeing the ancient fortresses scattered around the area. We have our own car and Google Maps but I suggested we hire a driver and, wow, was it a good idea! For $35 we hired a private driver for eight hours to take us to all the fortresses around Khiva. The car was comfortable, air conditioned, and he knew exactly where he was going. It was awesome because it turned out there were several road closures and then lots of back ways to get up close to the fortresses we never would have been able to figure out on our own.  

The fortresses are amazing. They range between 2000-5000 years old and they are in varying stages of repair. Some are 100% original and the Uzbek government has renovated others quite a bit. I hope they leave them at least partially original. As a history teacher, I don’t want to see them looking new. I come for the history. If you’re reading this, Uzbek Department of Tourism, please don’t completely renovate the ancient fortresses. Please. Please leave them partially original. Maybe half old and half renovated? Or 75/25?  

He also took us to a local place to eat by this big salt lake and we wouldn’t have known about it. We had packed a small box of crackers and thought we’d just snack on it and go hungry during the day then have a big dinner at night. For lunch? We had fried fish right out of the lake, tomatoes, watermelon, honeydew melon, and Coca-Cola. Anyone seeing a picture of our table could easily mistake it for a table anywhere in the South (USA). 

When we got back to the hotel the owner’s son that’s in his mid-twenties was in the lobby and I sat down to chat with him. I’ll always sit down to have a chat with anyone. Something exciting happened while we were there. An Uzbek won the gold medal in the Olympics in Tae Kwon Do! The hotel receptionist was very excited. He turned the TV on to watch the ceremony. He hummed along when they played the Uzbek national anthem. I’m sorry I don’t know it or else I would have hummed along as well. It was an exciting time to be sitting there.  

Do you remember wayyyyyyyyyyy back three weeks ago when we were in Fergana and we went on a walk with a Palestinian guy? He was in Khiva!!!! So we invited him to join us for dinner at our hotel! . I was certain the hotel owner’s son and our friend, well, they were both our friends by now, would get along so I wanted them to meet. I was correct. We’re all friends now. We had a great time discussing…wait for it…. wait for it…. yep. …  you guessed it…. world politics. That and mostly how much I loved living in China.  

After dinner it was bed time because we knew we were going to have a long drive the next day.