Uzbekistan and the Silk Road
- Travel the old Silk Road
- Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva
- Learn about the history of Central Asia
- Immerse yourself in its daily life
- Comfortable rail travel
- Family run or locally owned accommodation
- Desert and high mountain scenery
Friday 17 April to Tuesday 28 April 2020
Silks, spices and the story of Tamerlane’s conquests combine with some of the most beautiful cities in Central Asia. This unique tour affords an in-depth look into the history and culture of one of the smallest of the former USSR republics and is accompanied by both a Ffestiniog Travel tour leader and an experienced local guide.
Day 1 – Our Adventure Begins
Evening flight from London Heathrow direct to Tashkent.
Day 2 – Tashkent, Capital of Uzbekistan
Arrival in Tashkent followed by city sightseeing tour including Independence Square, the Amir Timur (Emperor Tamerlane) monument and the Khazrati Imam complex. Evening performance at the Tashkent Navoy Opera.
Day 3 – Chimgan
Our second day in Uzbekistan takes us into the mountains in the north-east of the country as we drive into the Beldersay region. We take a chairlift and enjoy the snow-capped peaks of the Tian-Shan Mountains and have lunch at the Charwak Lake. Return to Tashkent for overnight.
Day 4 – By Afrosiab Train to Samarkand
Morning journey across the desert on the new high speed Afrosiab service – 214 miles in 130 minutes. Our city tour visits the remains of the old city dating from the 7th Century BC and destroyed by Genghis Khan, the medieval city with its impressive Registan Square, Ulugh-beg’s astronomical observatory and the museum of wine. Our accommodation here is a small family run guest house.
Day 5 – Shakhrisabz
Drive to the birthplace of Tamerlane. Shakhrisabz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a thriving, bustling town. Return to Samarkand for overnight.
Day 6 – By “Sharq” Train to Bukhara
After a leisurely morning, we take the midday train to Bukhara, a journey of some 135 miles taking around 3 hours. This train has traditional former USSR coaches but is elegant and comfortable nonetheless. Accommodation once more is in a family run guest house where you can be assured of personal, friendly service. In the evening, we enjoy a dance performance at the Nodir Devan Begi Madrasah.
Day 7 – In and Around Bukhara
Just outside the city is the Palace of the last Emir of Bukhara and we visit this as part of our 2-day exploration of the area. This includes the Samanids Mausoleum (the oldest brick building in Central Asia), the Chashmai Ayub Mausoleum and the Bolo Khavuz Mosque. We will also visit a family run workshop to see silk carpets being handmade – more than two years’ work in some cases – and there will be time for shopping in the local bazaar. Silk scarves and tapestry items are amongst those more easily carried home or you may prefer a range of teas or spices!
Day 8 – Another Day in Bukhara
Our city tour continues – the Poi Kalon Complex with minaret and mosque, Toki Zargaron (sometimes known as the trading madrasah due to the number of stalls selling artwork, pottery, silk items and so on) the Magoki Attori Mosque and more. We learn not only about why these magnificent buildings were built but also about the people who built them including more about Tamerlane and his grandson Ulugbek.
Day 9 – Drive to Khiva
Today’s journey by road takes us to the ancient Silk Road city of Khiva. Our accommodation for the next 2 nights is in the ornate surroundings of a converted madrasah in the heart of the inner old town and close to the Kalta Minor Minaret.
Day 10 – Khiva
Khiva, founded in the 6th Century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is arguably the most beautiful of all the cities on our tour. The inner town, Itchan Kala, is surrounded by a high red brick wall which encloses 50 historic monuments including the striking Kalta Minor Minaret. We have a city tour visiting the Juma Mosque, the Mukhammad Amin Khan Madrasah and very much more. On a lighter note we also visit the famous Khiva puppet theatre, itself an important part of Uzbek heritage.
Day 11 – Flight to Tashkent
Morning flight from nearby Urgench to Tashkent. Here we visit the open air railway museum, the largest in the former USSR and housing a fine collection of former Soviet, steam, diesel and electric locos and rolling stock.
Day 12 – Return to London
A relaxing morning and after a restaurant lunch we transfer to the airport, arriving back at Heathrow late evening.
Click here to view our blog of the research trip for this holiday.
Lotte Tashkent Palace, Tashkent
Dilshoda Hotel, Samarkand
Lyabi House Hotel, Bukhara
Orient Star Hotel, Khiva
Please note - hotels can be subject to change
- Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
- Rail travel where specified in first class accommodation
- Other travel by private coach
- All accommodation with en-suite facilities
- All lunches (packed lunch Day 6) and 4 evening meals (Days 2 to 5)
- All entrance fees as appropriate except photo charges
- Airport and other transfers
- Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local professional Uzbek guide
Download your tour booking form here.