Dear Khiva, I’m Sorry

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Dear Khiva,

It wasn’t you, it was me.

I swear.

Another time, another place, things could have been different.

Okay, I guess not another place since you have kind of been where you are for a few hundred years. Maybe even a few thousand years. But you get my drift.

I had high hopes for us. I pictured sunrises over your old city walls and moonlit strolls through quiet streets (thanks Lonely Planet for that vision).

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Instead, I found myself staring at the entrance of yet another madrassah with turquoise and royal blue tiling, trying to coax myself to enter.

Khiva, Uzbekistan

I found myself climbing up the watchtower of the Ark, surveying my surroundings and just thinking, “wow, everything is really, really…brown.

Khiva, Uzbekistan

I found myself wanting nothing more than to return to the air-conditioned comfort of my hotel, watch the end of the Olympics and chat with friends on Facebook.

It could have been different. I could have visited you before I marveled at Bibi Khanum in Samarkand and delved into a 16th century madrassah in Bukhara.  I could have explored you before I saw all those mosques, madrassahs and mausoleums in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Before they all just started to look the same.

I could have stopped by before ten days of scorching heat and dusty drives through the desert in Turkmenistan completely wore me out.

So Khiva, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I didn’t do much more than enjoy some plov and shashlik. And haggle over a souvenir. And take a few pictures, 75% of which were of the same unfinished minaret from different angles.

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Khiva, I know you deserved better. You were once the capital of a powerful khanate that lasted for like 400 years. You were a major center of Islam, with over 90 mosques and 60 madrassahs. Some even say you were founded by a son of Noah over 2,500 years ago (archaeologists disagree).

I didn’t give you a chance and I regret that.

I’ll try to make it up to you.

Regretfully yours,


9 thoughts on “Dear Khiva, I’m Sorry”

  1. Hello,

    if anybody is overmosqued when arriving in Urgentch I would propose to take a trip to the ancient preislamic fortresses Ayaz Kale or Toprak Kale.

    Best Regards


  2. I have been there, sometimes you just aren’t feeling it. I don’t think I saw any churches in South America, I had such church fatigue I just couldn’t do it anymore.

  3. I can relate. I just has my first experience with being disappointed an a trip. I don’t know of the cloudy, gray weather had something to do with it. Or maybe I was just tired after 11 days of traveling. Or maybe it was the cold. Or it could be that Plitvice, Croatia just really didn’t live up to my expectations.

  4. I can relate to seeing the same type of thing over and over and getting sick of it. I crave variety when I travel. Although the 2nd photo looks pretty cool, definitely not the same kind of walls you find in Europe.

  5. sometiimes it just happens… when you visit too many similar places at some point they’re just not that interesting anymore, no matter how great they are. they just become normal and random… guess that happened to many travelers, it happened to me as well

  6. And sometimes, that’s just how it is! lol.

    That’s ok, I got a little ripped on for saying, ‘Angkor Wat… is that it?! ‘ But whether its too much temples, or crumbles, minnarets or beautiful blue tiles… sometimes, a place with all it’s dazzle is like the hot guy standing at the bar,…it just doesn’t do it for you. And that’s perfectly ok.

  7. Looks an amazing place to me Katie! Never really explored the areas you are travelling to so I will certainly keep checking back.

  8. Aw, it’s too bad you were all mosque’d and madrassah’d out by this point. I know how that goes, though. Too much of the same, and you begin to become desensitized to it all.

    Though, to be fair, it DOES look very, very brown…

  9. Katie, this post makes me glad that my trip will begin by Khiva…I hope I can see its magic, but I know sometimes it just doesn’t ‘click’.
    Kisses and enjoy Kyrgyzstan!

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