It is about noon one day as I leave my quarters in Khiva, to take a view of the bazaar. The streets are hot and dusty; the sun is shining fiercely; the grey mud-walls receive and again throw out the heat, so that walking through the streets is like walking through a baker's oven.
Out of this blinding glare you gladly step into the cool dark shade of the bazaar. A pleasant compound scent of spices, and many other agreeable odours, greet your nostrils; the confused noise and hum of a large crowd assail your ears; and an undistinguishable mass of men, horses, camels, donkeys, and carts meet your eyes. The bazaar is simply a street covered in, and it is altogether a very primitive affair. The roof is formed by beams laid from wall to wall across the narrow street, supporting small pieces of wood laid closely together, and covered with earth. It serves its purpose very well, however, and keeps out the heat and light.
With delight you breathe the cool, damp, spice-laden air, and survey, with watering mouth, the heaps of rich, ripe fruit spread out in profusion. There are apricots peaches, plums, grapes, and melons of a dozen different species, together with an indescribable array of wares only to be seen in Central Asia. Properly speaking, there are no shops; an elevated platform runs along one side, and men are seated among heaps of wares, with no apparent boundary line between them.
Campaigning on the Oxus, and the fall of Khiva
By Januarius Aloysius Macgahaen