Uzbekistan and the Silk Road

Spice seller, Bukhara, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Local craft bazaar, Bukhara, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Street vendors, Samarkand, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
The “Afrosiab” train, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Registan Square Samarkand, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Registan Square Samarkand, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Samarkand, Uzbekistan - © Ramona Cazacu
Khiva, Uzbekistan
Samarkand, Uzbekistan - © Alan Heywood

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 £2,130pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Friday 31 March to Tuesday 11 April 2017
Friday 21 April to Tuesday 2 May 2017
Friday 5 May to Tuesday 16 May 2017

Silks, spices and the story of Tamerlane’s conquests combine with some of the most beautiful cities in Central Asia. This unique tour presents an in-depth look into the history and culture of one of the smallest of the former USSR republics.

ITINERARY

Day 1 – Our Adventure Begins

Evening flight from London Heathrow direct to Tashkent.

Day 2 – Tashkent, Capital of Uzbekistan

Transfer to a central hotel before a city sightseeing tour that takes in Independence Square, the Amir Timur (Emperor Tamerlane) monument and the Khazrati Imam complex. All meals are included throughout the holiday. Evening performance at the Tashkent Navoy Opera.

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, Ulugbek’s astronomical observatory and the museum of wine. Our accommodation here is a small family run guest house.

Day 4 – Shakhrisabz

Drive along the old Silk Road to the birthplace of Tamerlane. Shakhrisabz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a thriving, bustling town. Return to Samarkand for overnight.

Day 5 – 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 6 – 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 7 – 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 8 – 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 9 – 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 10 – Return to Tashkent

After a short drive to the nearest airport at Urgench, we have a morning flight 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 11 – Chimgan

Our final day in Uzbekistan takes us into the mountains in the north-east of the country as we drive into the Beldersay region. In the Upper Beldersay Gorge we find ancient petroglyphs including domesticated animals from an early civilisation. We take a cable car ride and enjoy the snow capped peaks of the Tian-Shan mountains and have lunch at the Charwak Lake. Our accommodation tonight is at the Archazor Resort at Chimgan.

Day 12 – Return to London

Morning drive to Tashkent where we have a restaurant lunch before transferring to the airport. We arrive back at Heathrow in the late evening.

A blog of the research trip for this holiday can be found here.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Lotte Tashkent Palace, Tashkent

Dilshoda Hotel, Samarkand

Sasha and Son Hotel, Bukhara

Orient Star Hotel, Khiva

Archazor Resort, Chimgan

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
  • Full board meal basis – meals at accommodation or local restaurant plus packed lunch Day 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

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,130
Single room supplement: £250
Deposit for this holiday: £200
   
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2016

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