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Photographer's Note

The city of Khiva (Uzbek: Xiva) in Khorezm (Xorazm) Region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with world famous architectural monuments, making Khiva one of the main centers for international tourism in the country. This pearl of eastern middle age architecture, lies 25 kilometers south of present-day Urgench in Uzbekistan.

The current City Walls of Khiva, which have been restored, were according to locals built sometime after the destruction of the city by the Mongols. The fabled Ichan-Qala (inner walled city) is the historic heart of Khiva; To walk through the walls and catch the architectural jewels in all its monotoned, mud-walled glory is like stepping into another era. The Djuma Mosque (Friday mosque), located in Ichan-Qala, and originally dating to the tenth-century, was also destroyed during the sack of the city.

The construction of this Mosque is unconventional and unique - there are no domes, galleries, portals - only the roof, held by 213 carved columns. The mosque hall is in the size of 45 on 55 meters is rectangular in shape and is covered by a flat roof. The hall is surrounded by massive wall with three entrances. Ancient Arabian mosques had a similar layout. The present day building which we see was rebuilt in the 18th century in the Arabian-style structure with 213 wooden columns in the 18th century. The majority of the columns were carved from tree trunks in the 18th- 19th centuries. Carved wooden columns, each works of art, are all very different, differing from each other with forms, dimensions, art furnish and time of their making. Some of them were made from ruined medieval buildings. These columns of the 18th-19th centuries are well recognized due to Khiva's typical floral-vegetative pattern. We see one of such ornate pillars in this picture.

Moonlight through three holes in the ceiling (one you can see on the middle) of the mosque and carved wooden columns create an exclusive atmosphere for prayer. Pity we could not see this beauty with our eyes.

Picture cropped & resized

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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