Kristov's photograph from 'Khiva Caught in Time'Kristov's photograph from 'Khiva Caught in Time'
In 1873 the Russian photographer Krivtsov visited Khiva and declared that the Rakhim Berdibiy Madrassah was the city's most beautiful. Unfortunately it was one of the thirty or so madrassahs reduced to piles of rubble in the 1930's as a result of Stalin's purges against religion and the need to supply the new collective farms with bricks and timber.
Today a restaurant resplendent with a yurt has superseded the destroyed madrassah. Here clientele have the choice of eating seated at tables, reclining on 'supas' (raised platforms) or inside the yurt itself. Catering particularly for tourists, the restaurant staff are aware of such mysteries as 'vegetarianism' and make great chips (ask for 'cartushka fritts') and, in season, a wonderful aubergine salad. Unlike most Uzbek restaurants, fruit is also available.
There are plans afoot to expand the restaurant into a bed & breakfast establishment. For travellers keen to experience a night in a yurt, the price is $5-10 per person, depending on the size of the group. A shower is under construction although the nearby Anusha Khan Homom offers a more cultural alternative. Reservations can be made through Kamil Adin on (8 362) 375 3512.