Caravanserai todayCaravanserai todayCaravanserai before restorationCaravanserai before restorationArchive photo from Archive photo from "Khiva Caught in Time"Archive photoArchive photo
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Caravanserais were dotted throughout the Silk Road at strategic locations and proved vital trading posts for the buying and selling of goods. They were often places of constant bustle and excitement.
Built in 1835 along with the adjoining tim (the covered trading area), the caravanserai was designed to meet the trader's every need. The main open air square in the middle gave access to camel caravans laden with silks and spices where traders bartered over everything from Singer sewing machines and huge bales of cotton to Khorezm melons and Turkoman carpets. The alchoves at ground level were used as shops and storage facilities whilst the upper level functioned as an inn, providing accommodation and a welcome respite from desert travel.
In the 1980's during the period of Soviet reconstruction, the caravanserai was roofed and turned into a much tamer and rather drab department store. However, there are still a number of items on sale which are of interest to tourists including ceramics, carpets, embroidered hats and jackets and suzanis (wall hangings). Like the bazaar, there are no fixed prices so expect to haggle.
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