Whenever I travel to my Central Asia Silk Road travel destinations, I constantly see new local artists, artisans, chefs, and craftsmen. I am pleasantly surprised by the many new things and their quality or craftsmanship. As I meet and talk with these new local entrepreneurs, often multi-generational businesses, I take the time to visit them and plan how I can include them in our tour itineraries. I am always looking out to offer my clients fabulous new travel experiences. Now for 2021 I have included several new boutique and family hotels, authentic restaurants, and workshops into my tour itineraries so my clients will get the best experiences.
People want to travel with purpose, explore, connect with locals and cultures. My clients want to travel to places like Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva, on to Tbilisi and Baku, where they can enjoy the warm hospitality, fantastic cuisine, inspiring architecture and, of course, expert craftsmanship found throughout the Silk Road.
The city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan was one of the largest cultural centers of the Great Silk Road for many centuries. Since independence in 1990, Uzbekistan has experienced a resurgence of traditional handicrafts and arts. And for the past decade, visitors to the Silk Road come to Uzbekistan not only to see the ancient sites and legendary cities, but also to experience workshops with local handicraft masters in pottery or embroidery, weaving, wood carving or lacquer painting. Travelers interested in craft, art and textile tours prefer longer stays in the country, often for several months, or a year!
During my trip this spring I had the enviable opportunity of being a guest at Akmal Muhiddinov's new Naqshbandi Craft Center in Bukhara. I have known Akmal for more than a decade and purchased many items that are now beautiful accent pieces in our home here in New Jersey.
The new Naqshbandi Craft Center in Bukhara has opened its doors to art lovers and those wishing to learn any of five different kinds of crafts from the top masters here whose skills have been passed down through generations. The center has its own exhibition space displaying exquisite examples of artisan work.
Located just at the outskirts of the city, visitors enjoy the old world, village atmosphere, becoming part of the neighborhood mahalla or community. The center has its own small boutique style hotel with a restaurant menu of fresh, local cuisine. The chef here offers workshops for cooking Plov (pilaf) or baking traditional bread in a Tandur oven. Keen to learn the local languages? The staff can help you pick up some Uzbek, Tajik or Russian!
They feature Straw Art, which is a painstaking craft. Artists choose local varieties of straw for texture and color, then appliqué individual pieces in layers to form the images. Finally, a wood burning technique adds exquisite detail.
We cannot wait to show you the new Naqshbandi Craft Center on your tour to Bukhara and Uzbekistan - where more adventures await! Join our shopping tour to Uzbekistan.
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