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Uzbekistan: Land of Silk Road Treasures

TOUR IN

ASIA

  • 28 Dec
  • -
  • 06 Jan 2023
  • |
  • 10 days

$2121

per person

Availability: 12 places

    A destination whose very name conjures up the dark and bloody history of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan has lain at the crossroads of cultures and customs for over two millennia. A product of war and commerce since ancient times, its cities and monuments offer up glorious testament to a historical pedigree that can boast some of the finest mosques and mausoleums anywhere in the region.

    This stunning adventure begins in Tashkent, where we’ll have time to explore some of the highlights of the Uzbek capital before we take a flight on to Nukus, where we will visit the Savitsky Museum displaying the area’s Karakalpakstan culture and early 20th century avantgarde Russian artwork. Moving on to Khiva from here, we then take time to discover the madrasahs and monuments of its historic heart, before following the ancient Silk Road on to Bukhara, considered to be the most complete medieval city in Central Asia.

    After taking in Bukhara’s UNESCO treasures we then turn our attentions towards the Nuratau Mountains, where we spend some time enjoying the hospitality of village life around the Nuratau Reserve. The final leg of our adventure then takes us on to magnificent Samarkand, a fitting end to a journey steeped in the legends and legacy of the Silk Road.

    Day 1

    DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TASHKENT

    The tour starts mid-morning in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s vibrant capital which sat at the heart of the old Central Asian trading routes, gaining prominence under the Mongols and the Shabanids, before finally being absorbed by the expansionist policies of the Russian empire during the 19th century. Flattened by a devastating earthquake in the mid-1960s, the city was reinvented by the Kremlin to represent the very epitome of the socialist ideal. This afternoon provides with an opportunity to discover a little more of the Uzbek capital, with a tour of some of its highlights. including the Khast Imam Complex, the stunning edifice of the Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Chorsu Bazaar, a vast open-air market that sits in the heart of the old part of the city.
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    Day 2

    DAY 2: TASHKENT - NUKUS - KHIVA

    This morning we take an early flight to Nukus, home to the world renowned Savitsky Museum and one of the finest collections of Soviet art in the world. Indeed, this stunning museum can boast a remarkable collection of Russian avant-garde work that is surpassed only by the Russian Museum in St Petersburg. After a chance to visit its collection, we then travel by road on to Khiva where we can enjoy an evening walk around the old town.
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    Day 3

    DAY 3: KHIVA

    Considered a pearl of eastern architecture, Khiva is one of the oldest cities of ancient Khorezm. Legend has it that is was founded by Shem, the son of Noah, and archaeological records can trace its origins back to the 4th or 5th century BC. We will spend today exploring its madrasahs and museums, wandering the narrow streets of the Ichan Kala (inner city) and enjoying the atmosphere and sights of a city that can boast some 50 historic monuments.
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    Day 4

    DAY 4: KHIVA - BUKHARA

    Continuing our journey down the old Silk Road we depart Khiva this morning and head next for Bukhara, whose historic centre has been described by UNESCO as the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia. More than 2,000 years old and home to some 140 architectural monuments, we will arrive in the city later this afternoon, affording us time hopefully for a late stroll around the old city before dinner.
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    Day 5

    DAY 5: BUKHARA

    Considered to be Central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara is liberally sprinkled with an architectural legacy that spans a thousand years of history. A centre of trade, culture and scholarship for centuries, under the Samanids the city became a major intellectual centre of the Islamic world. Today we’ll take in some of its highlights, with visits planned to the imposing Ark of Bukhara, the Kunya Ark Complex and the Samanids Mausoleum, the Friday Mosque and Lab-i Hauz, home to the 16th century Kukeldash Madrasah, the largest in the city.
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    Day 6

    DAY 6: BUKHARA - YANGIKISHLAK

    Departing Bukhara this morning our next stop is the village of Yangikishlak, located between Lake Aydarkul and the Nurafshan Mountains. Occupying a fertile valley that forms part of the Nurata-Kyzyikum Bio-reserve, this area is home to a number of traditional villages, unique plant life and the highly endangered Severtzov wild sheep. On arrival we will have a chance to settle into our family guest-house, before enjoying an afternoon’s introduction to the family and to village life.
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    Day 7

    DAY 7: NURATAU RESERVE

    A day in and around the village provides an opportunity to discover something of the natural beauty of this area, enjoying the views of the mountain scenery and of Lake Aydar in a distance. We will visit the reserve by walking through some of the local villages. Offering up a mix of natural and cultural highlights, the area is home to an array of unique plant life and some 160 species of birds. Today will afford us a unique glimpse into the traditions and customs of local life.
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    Day 8

    DAY 8: YANGIKISHLAK - SAMARKAND

    Leaving after breakfast this morning we wish our hosts a fond farewell and continue our journey east, towards one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Central Asia. Once one of the greatest cities on earth, Samarkand is a name that resonates with the commerce and colour of the old Silk Road. On arrival we’ll spend this afternoon paying a visit to Registan Square, the ancient heart of the city, as well as the Sherdor, Tillya Kari and Ulugbek Madrasahs.
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    Day 9

    DAY 9: IN SAMARKAND; TRAIN TO TASHKENT

    Our tour of the city continues today with a visit to the Gur Emir Mausoleum, the final resting place of Tamerlane, the founder of the Timurid Empire. We’ll also take in the Shah-i Zinda Necropolis and the 15th century Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once considered one of the most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world. After a chance to explore the bustling Siyob Bazaar, we can then learn more about the art of silk papermaking as we visit a traditional factory and witness the process from start to finish. The early afternoon is then free to continue discovering the city before we take a late afternoon train (2hrs) to Tashkent, arriving in time for a final night's dinner in the Uzbek capital.
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    Day 10

    DAY 10: TOUR FINISHES IN TASHKENT

    Tour finishes in Tashkent.
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