Uzbekistan and the Silk Road

The Afrosiab train, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Local craft bazaar, Bukhara, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Samanids Mausoleum, Bukhara - © Alan Heywood
Samarkand, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Tashkent

Holiday Highlights

  • 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
  • 12 days from £2,650pp
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Tour Dates:
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.

ITINERARY

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, the Khazrati Imam complex and open-air railway museum (the largest in the former USSR).

Day 3 – By Afrosiab Train to Samarkand

Morning journey across the desert on the new high speed Afrosiab service – 214 miles in 130 minutes. During a city tour, we visit 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 4 – 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 5 – Sightseeing in Samarkand

We continue our city tour by visiting a silk paper producing workshop, Afrasiyab Museum, Shahi Zindah complex, BibiKhanum Mosque and the local Siab Market.

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 – visit 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 – By Train to Khiva

We take the newly opened rail line from Bukhara to 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 much more. On a lighter note we also visit the famous Khiva puppet theatre, itself an important part of Uzbek heritage.

Day 11 – Chimgan

Morning flight from nearby Urgench to Tashkent. We now drive into the mountains in the north-east of the country. Enjoy a chairlift ride to view the snow-capped peaks of the Tian-Shan Mountains and have lunch at the Charwak Lake. Return to Tashkent for overnight.

Day 12 – Return to London

Enjoy a relaxing morning followed by a restaurant lunch before transfer to the airport, arriving back at Heathrow in the late evening.

Click here to view our blog of the research trip for this holiday.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Lotte Tashkent Palace, Tashkent

Dilshoda Hotel, Samarkand

Sasha and Sons Hotel, Bukhara

Orient Star Hotel, Khiva

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • 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 Days 6 and 9) and 5 evening meals (Days 2 to 5 and 11)
  • 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

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,650
Single room supplement: £435
Deposit for this holiday: £200

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