What kinds of hands have held this handle? Wandering through a place like Khiva, Uzbekistan you can easily get wrapped up in a dramatic fantasy about the people and places that walked through those doors. It was after all, a popular stop on the famed silk road from China to places like India and Turkey.
This door, decorated in wrought iron and carved with intricate designs, is still used. It sits at the entrance to a madrassah, or religious school. The well worn handle speaks to its current use, but I love the cracks and old feeling of the original wood. Itchan Kala, or the walled old town of Khiva was the first World Heritage Site in Uzbekistan. With hundreds of old homes and monuments, the old city has a feeling of being taken back a few hundred years into a Persian dynasty.
IF YOU GO: Khiva is the most intimate and perhaps the most authentic of Uzbekistan’s “silk road cities”. Much of the original building structure remains, as do a number of schools, museums and tourist shops. At night the city is eerily quiet, a nice change of pace to the larger cities of Central Asia. If you’re interested in more, we wrote a short guide to Uzebekistan which will give you the basics on travel and tourism in country.