Your Dream Vacation is Here
Enjoy Some You-Time
Vast Remote Mysterious Traditional
Hospitable Modern Vibrant Independent
Resplendent in Nature’s Glory
This Is Central Asia
Traveling......it leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller
to your hotel for an overnight in Almaty. (1st of 2 nights).
perhaps, Central Asia.
In the valley, many pieces of Scythian treasure, including a heavy gold burial mask, were
unearthed but, sadly, are now either in St. Petersburg or in storage in the Bishkek State Historical Museum. You will have a chance to see more of the rural life as you are driven to a nearby village for a good lunch and then make our way back to Bishkek for dinner and overnight. (2nd of 2 nights).
Day 5. Bishkek.
This morning you will see the large, white marble cube that has long been the Historical Museum just steps from the Kyrgyz White House, the seat of the government, the president’s office and the parliament. By the time of your arrival, it is hoped that the museum which is currently under renovation, will be completed and reopened. You will be presented a lecture on the history and culture of the region’s nomadic peoples.
A short stroll down Chuy Prospekt, the city’s broad main avenue, will bring us to the Fine Arts Museum with its fine collection of Soviet paintings. After a typical Kyrgyz lunch we will pay a visit to a local pottery workshop where we can get acquainted with the local ceramic’s style and history. After your full day, followed by dinner you will return to your hotel for your last night in Bishkek. (3 rd of 3 nights).
Day 6. Bishkek – Osh (Kyrgyzstan) to Margilan (Uzbekistan).
This morning will include a transfer to the airport for the flight to Osh, one of Central Asia’s oldest and most important crossroads on the storied “Silk Road”. On your way to the bustling and colorful Osh market you will be able to see that, somewhat inconveniently, the town is built on two sides of Solomon’s Throne, a small craggy mountain that seems to loom up wherever we go. For centuries, the mountain has been a pilgrimage destination for Muslims because it is said, the Prophet Muhammad once prayed there. Because it looks like a recumbent pregnant woman, it is also favored by women who have been unable to have children. In 1497 the adolescent king Zahiruddin Babur, founder of India’s Mogul Dynasty, built a shelter and private mosque a long, steep climb high on the eastern side.
Saying goodbye to Kyrgyzstan, drive to the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border and, after completing border formalities, continue a short distance to Margilan for dinner and overnight. (1st of 2 nights).
fabric. The ikat technique has about 37 separate steps and each of them is carried out by an individual craftsperson.
be served at his workshop.
– Rasuljon Mirzaakhmedov. The craft center is located in a madrassah of the 19 th century. Dinner and overnight in Margilan. (2 nd of 2 nights).
TASHKENT It is believed that Tashkent dates to the second or first century BC. By the 8 th
Later you will visit the Museum of Applied Arts to see magnificent suzanis (embroidered panels) and other fine crafts, the Abdul-Khasis Madrassah (Islamic school) with its hujra (student dormitories) which are now as metalwork craft workshops producing jewelry, miniature paintings, papier-mâché lacquered boxes and other goods After lunch at an excellent local restaurant, you’ll visit the Chor-Su Market – the biggest market in Tashkent. You will walk through the market and see rows of artisan making craft items for daily needs, the place where dairy products and dry cheese are sold, the butchers’ area, the market for fresh fruits and vegetables, the bread bakeries, and the “food court” of freshly made lunches where people can order their meal and eat on site.
Later you will experience the Tashkent subway (Metro). Tashkent metro stations areamong the most beautiful in the world and are among the top attractions in the city. Tashkent’s metro was the seventh in the USSR, built after the 1966 earthquake. The first line opened in 1977 and two more lines followed. For years you could not take pictures of the interior of metro stations, because of their military and strategic functions. In fact, some of the Tashkent metro stations serve as a nuclear bomb shelters as well. Almost every subway station in Tashkent is fascinating. They all have their own unique architectural features and artistic elements. Some look like ballrooms with huge chandeliers hanging from the ceiling while others look like film sets from science fiction movies. Dinner and overnight in Tashkent. (2nd of 2 nights).
In the morning you will drive to Samarkand, the grand capital of the emperor Tamerlane (the brilliant and great 15 th century ruler who created a huge empire which spanned from Western China to Eastern Europe, including Persia, Turkey, and the Caucasus. Tamerlane made Samarkand as his Imperial Capital).
The famous Silk Road went through Tashkent, the Sirdarya regions and the mountainous countryside of the Jizzah region. You will have lunch in a picturesque roadside choi-khona
After arriving and checking into the hotel, the sightseeing program in Samarkand will
You will be driven out to see the Shaki-Zinda ensemble of the Mausoleums. This unusual necropolis has monuments from the 14 th and 15 th centuries, reflecting the development of the monumental art and architecture of the Timurid dynasty.
The name Shakhi-Zinda (meaning “The living king”) is connected with the legend that Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the prophet Muhammad, is buried here. He came to Samarkand with the Arab
invasion in the 7th century to preach Islam Popular legends recount that he was beheaded for his faith, but he didn’t die. It is believed that he took his head and went into a deep well (the Garden of Paradise), where he’s still living now.
The Shakhi-Zinda complex was formed over eight centuries (from the 11th till 19 th) and now includes more than twenty buildings. The ensemble comprises three groups
$4750 p/p. Single supplement available. Does not include international air. Call for more details 1 888 780 3835
integrity was not helped by the rushed nature of its construction.
Continue to the nearby Siyob Market (or Bazaar) adjacent to the Bibi-Khanym Mosque. It is the largest bazaar in Samarkand. All daily necessities, such as“Samarkand naan” (bread), are sold in this bazaar which is visited not only by local people but also by domestic and foreign tourists. Then you will see the remains of the medieval world’s best and most remarkable observatory developed by Tamerlane‘s brilliant and learned grandson, Ulugbek. Although originally part of a three-story observatory and a 30 meter-high (90 feet) marble astrolabe for observing the positions of the stars, only the astrolabe’s under-ground semicircular track remains.
the small museum next door you will learn more about Uzbek astronomers.
Day 11. Samarkand – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand.
by Tamelane in 1374.
(3 rd of 4 nights).
Day 12. Samarkand – Pendjikent – Samarkand.
Today will include a day trip to Penjikent (Tajikistan) – the gateway to the beautiful Fan Mountains of Tajikistan. Ancient Pendjikent was a small but flourishing town of the Sogdians (the ancient name of people living in the territory of current Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan) in pre-Islamic Central Asia. The name of town could be translated as “five towns” in persian the 5th century AD Penjikent became a very well developed place. In 722 AD the Arab forces besieged and took the town. The last ruler of the town Divashtich fled into upper Zarafshan but he was captured and sentenced to death. For around 50 years, ancient Pendjikent was ruled by new administrators but towards the end of the 8 th century the town was depopulated and relocated. Many ancient ruins of the old city, particularly the city architecture and works of art remain today. The original town’s ruins have never been built upon, leaving an intriguing excavation site for travelers. Dinner and overnight in Samarkand. (4 th of 4 nights).
Day 13. Samarkand – Bukhara.
After breakfast depart Samarkand as you continue tracing the Silk Route to holy Bukhara by the Royal Road (one of the most important parts of the Silk Route connecting Samarkand and Bukhara). On the way you will see the ruins of the Rabat-Malik Caravansaray (an Inn for caravans); constructed along the Silk road in 11th century according to the orders of a son of one of Samarkand’s rulers. The portal of the caravansaray is one of the most ancient among the Central Asia portals. It has an inscription engraved by unknown masters which reads “the monument was built by the Sultan of the World and this ruinous place (the Malik Steppe territory) became well-furnished…”. 100 meters (300 feet) from the caravansaray there is a giant dome covered tank named Sardoba Malik. This is a 13 meters (40 feet) diameter storage reservoir which was built in the 11th century specifically to supply the Rabat-Malik Caravansaray with water. Water to the tank was fed by the Zaravshan River through an underground canal and was kept there for the whole summer. The water there was clean and cold owing to the dome, protecting it from the heat of the sun.
Stop in Gijduvan to visit the most important ceramic center of the Bukhara region. Ifyou are lucky, you’ll have the opportunity to see the centuries old tradition of using a donkey for turning the millstones during the process of grinding natural dyes. Lunch at a local potter’s home. Continue on an afternoon drive to Bukhara for a late afternoon arrival. Dinner and overnight in Bukhara. (1 st of 3 nights).
what became known as the Bukhara khanate under the Uzbek Shaybanids. Khiva was soon added to this khanate and eventually most of Central Asia and adjacent lands were added too. It was during this time (the 16thvcentury) that the old part of the city took on its present appearance. The town center featured a huge marketplace in front of the Ark (fortress) dozens of specialized bazaars and caravanserais (Inns for caravans) and more than 10,000 students in over one hundred madrassahs plus an equal number of mosques. Under the Ashtarkhanid dynasty however, the Silk Road slowly declined and, with it, Bukhara. Another turn of fortunes came when the local representative of a Persian ruler made himself Emir in 1753 founding a dynasty that ruled, sometimes brutally and tyrannically, until the Bolsheviks took over. Today, most of the center of the city remains as it was two centuries ago and it is trying valiantly, if sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep the 21st century at bay. The area is dotted with restored former mosques, madrassahs and caravanserais, the massive, partially restored Ark fortress and the remains of a vast market. In nooks and crannies throughout the city, master craftsmen work to revive or perpetuate the ancient traditional crafts while others hawk crafts from the countryside which eventually make their way to all corners of the world. While looking at individual monuments in Bukhara, try to get a sense of the whole of this remarkable town.
Day 14. Bukhara.
Today you will experience a tour beginning from the remarkable architectural
masterpiece, the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, dating from the early 10th century. This Mausoleum is located in the North-Western part of Bukhara , just outside its historic center. The mausoleum is considered one of the iconic examples of early Islamic architecture and is known as the oldest funerary building of Central Asia. This mausoleum is in extraordinarily good condition as it was protected for centuries having been hidden by the cemetery tombs which encroached upon it tightly. It was built as the resting place of the powerful and influential Islamic Samani family dynasty which ruled from approximately 900 to 1000 AD. The Samanids established their de facto independence from the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad and ruled over some areas covered by the modern day countries of Iran, Afghanistan,Uzbekistan,Tajikistan, andKazakhstan.Perfectly symmetrical, compact in its size, yet monumental in its structure, the Mausoleum not only combined multi-cultural building and decorative traditions, such as Sogdian, Sassanian, Persian and even Classical, but also introduced the squinch, an innovative dome support solution. It also incorporated features customary for medieval Islamic buildings – circular domes and mini domes, pointed arches, elaborate portals, columns and intricate geometric designs. The Bolo-Khauz Mosque built by order of the Emir of Bukhara in the 17th century will be the next stop on your Bukhara tour. This historical mosque was built on the opposite side of the citadel of the Ark in the Registan district. It served as a Friday mosque during the time when the emir of Bukhara was being subjugated under the Bolshevik Russian rule in 1920s. Thin columns made of painted wood were added to the frontal part of the iwan (terrace) buit in 19th century,additionally supporting the roof of summer prayer room. The columns are decorated with colorful muqarnas (stalactites). Your tour will include a visit to the 2000 year-old massive Ark (Fortress) where the Bukhara Emirs once lived. In addition to being a military structure, the Ark encompassed what was essentially a town that, during much of the fortress’ history, was inhabited by the various royal courts that held sway over the region surrounding Bukhara. The Ark was used in this manner until it fell to Russia in 1920. During the Great Game, two British emissaries were held captive here and beheaded, ostensibly because they defied etiquette. Currently, the Ark is an attraction for visitors and houses museums covering its history.
After lunch continue your sightseeing to visit Poi-Kalon, or “Pedestal of the Great”, the heart and focal point of all Bukhara. Built in the 12th century, the 154 foot high PoiKalon minaret once also served as a beacon on the Silk Road, guiding traders to this important market between Asia and the West. It so impressed Genghis Khan that he ordered it spared. You will also visit the madrassahs of Ulugbek and Abdul-Aziz Khan and the Magoki-Attori mosque, dating from 12th century. Your visit will include the Lyabi-Khaus (otherwise known as the Shore of the Pool), an architectural complex consisting of a 16 th century madrassah and a mosque and the nearby dome covered markets. On the east side is a statue of the “wise fool” Khoja Nasreddin from Sufi teaching tales and a favorite of children. Over its history, over 300 mosques (large and small) have been built in Bukhara, many of which still remain. In the evening enjoy a concert program at the Nodir-Divan Begi Madrassah. The program includes Uzbek national music and dance combined with a fashion show of contemporary garments made of traditional textiles. Dinner and overnight in Bukhara.(2nd of 3 nights).
Day 17. Khiva.
Day 19. Ashgabad.
Day 20. Ashgabad.