Sorry for the delay in posts we where chilling out in Budapest (posts to follow) – we are nearly at the end of our Uzbekistan adventure so stayed tuned for the final couple of posts!!!
Today was probably our favourite day of the whole trip. It was so far away from anything we have ever done before and we absolutely loved it! Today we took a trip out into the desert to visit some ancient Khala’s – desert fortresses.
It was a three hour drive which took us very close to the borders and through some amazing scenery. The first Khala we encountered was the Toprak Khala – it was built in the 3rd Century and was the capital of ancient Khorezm. The site is now just ruins but you could tell the epic scale of the ruins, it used to house a palace and grounds. We climbed up high to get an overview of the whole site, it was incredibly windy and incredibly hot! The desert here was beautiful and rugged.
We then headed to the Ayaz Khala – a larger complex built to fortify the area rather than provide any residence. We had lunch in a local yurt and relaxed before heading off up the hill to the site at the top. The Ayaz Khala is made up of 3 sites, combining to make the overall site. The walk up to the top was fairly slow going on account of the heat but there were several small lizards running about.
From the top of the site, Ayaz 1, you can see down to Ayaz 2 and 3. They had remained under sand for hundreds of years before being excavated. I am so glad they have been excavated as it is a wonderful place so far away from Western life in distance and time. I think the pictures so the area much more justice than I can.
We finished the day with a drive back to Khiva for some last minute shopping and another beer on a daybed before heading to the airport for an evening flight to Tashkent for our last day.
I really loved Khiva and the Khala’s and it is a memory I will always cherish!
What are your experiences of deserts? Where are your favourite sandy places?