October 15, 2015

0282, 1960 UZBEKISTAN (Xorazm) - Itchan Kala (UNESCO WHS)

0282 Itchan Kala (1)

Posted on 19.07.2012, 15.09.2015
"It was now near midnight, and the silent, sleeping city lay bathed in a flood of glorious moonlight. The place was transformed. The flat mud roofs had turned to marble; the tall, slender minarets rose dim and indistinct, like spectre sentinels watching over the city. Here and there little courts and gardens lay buried in deepest shadow, from which arose the dark masses of the mighty elms and the still and ghostly forms of the slender poplars. Far away, the exterior walls of the city, with battlements and towers, which in the misty moonlight looked as high as the sky and as distant as the horizon. It was no longer a real city, but a leaf torn from the enchanted pages of the Arabian nights."

1960 Itchan Kala (2)

Thus described in 1873 the American journalist Januarius MacGahan the city of Khiva, then the capital of the khanate with the same name, which the Russians had just occupied it. Of course, the 13,000 soldiers of General Von Kaufman (the first Governor-General of Russian Turkestan) didn't entered in the fairytale city on flying carpets, but have opened the way with their German-manufactured cannons. Khiva remained a Russian protectorate until the October Revolution.

Located on the edge of the Khorezm Oasis, flanked by the the Karakum Desert (Black Sands) to the West and the Kyzyl Kum Desert (Red Sands) to the East, not far from the Oxus River (now called the Amu Darya), Khiva was, along with Samarkand and Bukhara, an important historical site on what was once the Great Silk Road. The city was first recorded by Muslim travellers in the 10th century. In the 12th century was founded the Khwarezmid Empire, the most powerful in Central Asia, which in the early 13th century ruled over all of Persia, being later brutally decimated by Genghis Khan.

In the 16th century Khiva was made capital of an khanate. For a long period of time (until 1917), Khiva was also one of the most important markets of slaves in Central Asia. In nowadays, Khiva is split into two parts: the older one, museum-like Ichon-Qala or Itchan Kala (within the wall), and the modern Dichon-Qala (outside the wall). Itchan Kala, which retains more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, majority from 18-th and 19-th centuries, was the first site in Uzbekistan to be inscribed in the World Heritage List, in 1990.

The most spectacular features of Itchan Kala are its crenellated brick walls (6 to 8m high, and 6m thick at their base) and four gates at each side of the rectangular fortress: North Gate (Bachtscha Darwase), East Gate (Palwan Darwase), South Gate (Dascht Darwase), and West Gate (Ata Darwase). A very interesting description of the four gates can be found here. Although the foundations are believed to have been laid in the tenth century, present-day 10-meters-high walls were erected mostly in the late seventeenth century and later repaired.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0282
The first stamp is part of the series Dogs, issued on May 19, 2006:
• Labrador Retriever (350 UZS) - It's on the postcard 0282
• English cocker spaniel (540 UZS)
• German Shepherd (600 UZS)
• Central Asian Shepherd Dog (780 UZS)

The second stamp belongs to a special series devoted to 2200 anniversary of Tashkent city:
• Legislative Chamber (310UZS)
• The Senate (310UZS)
• Tashkent International Business Center (350UZS)
• Temurids’ History Museum (350UZS)
• Turkiston Palace (620UZS)
• Barakhan madrassa (620UZS) - It's on the postcard 0282
• Repression Victims Memory Museum (750UZS)
• The map of the Great Silk Road (750UZS)

On the postcard 1960
The stamp is part of a set from a large definitive series, depicting Monuments of Uzbekistan, about which I wrote here.

Khiva - Wikipedia
Khiva - Wikitravel
Khiva A Silk Road Oasis - Abandon the Cube
The Russian Conquest of Khiva - karakalpak.com
The Khiva Interactive Guidebook
Khiva at a Glance - khiva.info
Itchan Kala - UNESCO official site 

Sender 0282: Sirrena (direct swap)
Sent from Tashkent (Uzbekistan), on 28.06.2012
Photo: A. Zueva
Sender 1960: Sahongir (direct swap)
Sent from Yaypan (Uzbekistan), on 15.07.2014
Photo: Bars Corporation

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