Clothes of the Past
Encompassed by hazardous deserts and with the constant threat of marauding Turkoman tribes, the first glimpse of the Khorezm Oasis was always a welcome sight for weary travellers.

"The vegetation became more and more luxuriant and abundant the nearer we approached Khiva. I, at first, thought that the only reason why Khiva seemed so beautiful was the contrast it presented with the desert, of which the terrible form still floated before my eyes. But ah! The environs of Khiva with its small Havlis, (courtyards) in the form of strongholds shaded by lofty poplars, with its fine meadows and rich fields, seemed to me still, after I have visited the most charming countries in Europe, as beautiful as ever."
Arminius Vambery 'Travels in Central Asia' 1864

"The city, at a little distance, presents a very beautiful appearance. It is surrounded by a high stone wall, over which towers the sky blue domes of the great mosque, with a golden ball on the top....The narrow streets I found quite blocked up by the sea of people, pressing on every side, and ducking under the very horses, and the Yuz Bashi had to make a passage for us by main force. In the crush I noticed several unhappy Russians, who humbly took off their caps, and begged me in undertones to obtain their release."
Captain Muraviev 'Visit to the Turkoman Inhabitants of the Eastern Coast of the Caspian Sea' 1819

"...We now entered the city which is of an oblong form, and surrounded by two walls; the outer one is about fifty feet high; its basement is constructed of baked bricks, the upper part being built of dried clay. This forms the first line of defence, and completely encircles the town, which is about a quarter of a mile within the wall. Four high wooden gates, clamped with iron, barred the approach from the north, south, east and west, whilst the walls themselves were in many places out of repair.
...The space between the first and second walls is used as a market place, where cattle, horses, sheep, and camels are sold, and where a number of carts were standing, filled with corn and grass. Here an ominous looking cross beam had been erected, towering high above the heads of the people with its bare gaunt poles. This was the gallows in which all people convicted of theft are executed; murderers being put to death in a different manner, having their throats cut from ear to ear in the same way that sheep are killed."
Captain Frederick Burnaby 'A Ride to Khiva' 1876

"All the homes are made of mud, the outer walls being solid and the inner partitions supported by wooden framework; they are of considerable size and the rooms are lofty, but unornamented and without windows. If sufficient light cannot be procured from the doorway, a hole is knocked in the roof. Water is so near the surface that it is necessary to lay a foundation of wood or stone for all the walls. The gardens in the neighbourhood of the town are very numerous, and appear to be kept with much care. The bazaar was crowded, the streets narrow and dirty; the climate delicious."
Richmond Shakespear 'A Personal Narrative of a Journey from Herat to Orenburg, on the Caspian, in 1840' 1842