Konya Urgench

Legendary Central Asia Travel

Published in Central Asia

For over 3,000 years Central Asia has been a cultural and commercial crossroads of the world, luring travelers, traders, scholars and conquerors, and now modern tourists!  Bordered by the vast Russian steppe to the north, the fairy tale beauty of the Caspian Sea to the west, soaring mountains and wilderness to the south, and forbidding deserts and snow-capped peaks to the east, the countries of Central Asia are the ultimate travel destinations for those seeking the trip of a lifetime on a road less traveled. Former Soviet Republics, independent, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are the new frontiers on travel itineraries. Create magical memories in legendary Bukhara, Tashkent, Samarkand, Merv, Ashgabat and Khiva; the fabled cities of Marco Polo, Tamerlane and Alexander the Great. The region is a mix of the ancient world and modern flair with a dash of Soviet era thrown in. The cuisine in Central Asia is local, fresh and flavorful and bread is hot out of the tandur oven at every meal!  This is home to the warmest people in the world, and we can take you there.

The journey begins in the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent, rightly called the “Star of the Orient” for its central location along the ancient Silk Road routes. Tashkent wows travelers with its mix of Islamic, Soviet and modern architecture.  Medressahs, the ancient schools of Muslim theology, flourish alongside bustling bazaars, glass fronted business centers, modern monumental parks and the tombs of kings, scholars and mystics.

Our tour then crosses into Tajikistan, offering a peek into one of the less visited parts of the world. Most of the country is mountainous, the Pamirs and Alays home to some of the highest peaks in the world and famous for alpine lakes and enormous glaciers, while the ruins of Panjakent offer testimony to the ancient civilizations  that populated this region. 

Back across the border in Uzbekistan, Samarkand fiercely guards its reputation as “The Rome of the East”. It was a magnificent city so advanced in classical learning and architectural display that it rendered Alexander the Great speechless. From the 15th c. Bibi-Khanym mosque built by Tamerlane for his wife to the glittering blue dome of the Gur-Emir Mausoleum and the singular beauty of Registan Square, the hub of city life, Samarkand continues to impress today's visitors.

Bukhara blends the modern and traditional, with the city growing up around its historic core. Centered on the Lyabi Haus, a complex of buildings and shady mulberry trees surrounding a pond, it delights travelers with hearty plov dishes, folk dance, music and costume performances, and a rich cultural, scientific and commercial Silk Road heritage. Thousands of ancient scholars and theologians once called Bukhara home, The city’s landmark Kaylan Minaret even inspired Genghis Khan and his invading hordes to leave it standing.

Our excursion then proceeds to Turkmenistan, renown for its intricately woven, bold red carpets, where travelers can explore the mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar in the ancient province of Mary, and Ashgabat’s own Blue Mosque and stunning white marble monuments. After an exploration of the Achaemenid archaeological treasures of Konya Urgench, we return to Uzbekistan. 

The desert oasis of Khiva is a fairy-tale city of the Silk Road. Claimed to have been founded by Shem, the son of Biblical Noah, Khiva remains one of the best-preserved and restored towns of the Silk Road, enchanting visitors with its warm adobe brick walls and majolica inlaid buildings like the Khan’s Tash-Hauli Palace and Harem, and the distinctive 200 carved wooden pillars in the Juma Mosque, itself an oasis of shady calm.

Smooth border crossings are the hallmark of Silk Road Treasure Tours and we travel on to Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia and home to some of the most spectacular alpine landscapes and vast, windswept steppes. In the capital city of Almaty, travelers will visit the National Museum of Folk Musical Instruments as well as the historic Zenkov Russian Orthodox Cathedral with its cheerful yellow façade, built in 1907 without nails to be earthquake proof.

Our trail will end in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. Once a mere caravan stop on the Silk Road, the city is today a blend of Soviet, Asian and European influences. Its enticing mile-long Dordoy Bazaar is one of the greatest marketplaces in Central Asia. The Tien Shan mountains cover 80% of Kyrgyzstan earning it the moniker of "Switzerland of Central Asia" and they tower over Bishkek. Nomadic yurts still dot the rural landscapes and the warm alpine lake of Issyk-Kul is one of the largest and deepest of its kind in the world. Our final destination evokes a lasting impression of our cultural immersion in Central Asia’s rich heritage.

At Silk Road Treasure Tours, we are always scouting new places and interesting experiences to create extraordinary itineraries. Contact us to join this Central Asia tour or request your customized Central Asia adventure to Central Asia's Silk Road.

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Treasures of the 5 Central Asia "Stans"

Published in Central Asia

Follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo!

Our award winning tour “Treasures of Central Asia 5 Stans” uncover the cultural aspects of Central Asia crafted from fables and fantasies. This small group Silk Road tour visiting Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan was designed for guests to explore Central Asia’s ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites, discover exotic Silk Road  bazaars, and take in the spectacular scenery of mountains, deserts and lakes along the Silk Road.  The travelers will stay in centrally located comfortable hotels in the capital cities, charming boutique hotels in the ancient cities and one night stay in an nomadic yurt in Kizil kum desert.  The tours will be lead by our experienced guides, curators who have backgrounds in history and art who will share the best of our Central Asia Stan countries. The guests enjoy participating cultural festivals, and cooking classes.

The trip begins in Uzbekistan, the crossroads of civilization and the heart of Central Asia. Guests will arrive in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, to explore ancient mausoleums, mosques and the lively Chor-Su Bazaar. While in Uzbekistan, guests will visit some of the best preserved cities of the Silk Road including: Penjikent,   located not far from the border of Uzbekistan, for a day trip to one of the most ancient cities of Tajikistan; Samarkand, a city more than 2,750 years old to visit several sites including the incredible Registan Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is now the main location for Uzbek’s international music festivals; and Bukhara, another World Heritage Site, to experience local hospitality with an Uzbek family, Silk and melon festivals and a folk-show in Medreseh Nodir Divan Begi. You may be lucky to attend uzbek wedding here as well.

From Bukhara guests will drive to Turkmenistan and through the Kara Kum desert from Mary to Merv. Once belonged to the Achaemenian Empire in the VI th century BC until the invasion by Alexander the Great, Merv is the oldest well-preserved heritage city of the Silk Road and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will then head to the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, a haven of museums and bazaars. Here guests will discover the ruins of the ancient Parthian state capital currently being restored by UNESCO, along with unique fortresses, the National Museum of History and Ethnography and Talkuchka Bazaar. Guests will enjoy a sightseeing drive to  Khiva, one of the three historical cities on the ancient trade route, to explore Uzbekistan’s open-air museum of unparalleled examples of architecture.  Continuing onto Kazakhstan guests will arrive in Almaty, the former capital which is situated at the foot of the Zaili Alatau Mountain Range. Guests will visit the remarkable gardens, parks and promenades at Alatau Park and enjoy spectacular views of the Chimbulak mountainous area. Across the famous Kazakh Steppe, guests will drive to one of the greenest cities in Central Asia, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. Originally a caravan rest stop from China to Europe, Bishkek is now a bustling shopper‟s delight with bazaars offering exotic foods, colorful clothes, woodcarvings, and more. The last full days will be spent enjoying the beaches of Issyk Kul (Warm Lake), one of the largest and deepest alpine lakes in the world which, although surrounded by the snowy AlaTau mountains, never freezes.  You can also enjoy the horse show and meet Eagle men of Kyrgyzstan.

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The Jewels of 3 Central Asia "Stans"

Published in Central Asia

This immersive Central Asia journey takes you to some of the major landmarks of ancient civilization here and welcomes you with the warm hospitality of  the region. It starts in the historical capital of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, with fabulous site-seeing and a unique Silk Road shopping experience.  The heart of the ancient Silk Road routes between China and the west, Uzbekistan offers centuries of history, culture and Silk Road cuisine. Tashkent reflects a storied past and eager transformation to modern urban life. From here, enjoy a leisurely drive to the ancient desert city of Khiva and bask in the late afternoon warmth of its medieval adobe walls inset with delicate majolica tiling.  Hassel-free border crossings are the hallmark of travel with Silk Road Treasure Tours as we navigate this enigmatic region into Turkmenistan. This mostly traditionally nomadic nation offers a discovery of traditional bazaars and ancient archeological sites in Konya Urgench, once capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Our expert guides then take you to Ashgabad, the largest city in Turkmenistan known for its abundance of white marble and grandiose monuments. Here you'll find one of the most beautiful carpet museums of Central Asia and experience the Altyn Asyr bazaar, whose unique architecture itself resembles a Turkmen carpet. Visit the legendary oasis city of Mary in a region known as one of the earliest seats of civilization in the world.

Cross back into Uzbekistan and prepare yourself for the fabled hospitality of Bukhara. It's a true stay in paradise in the heart of this 3,000 year old city. Have your camera ready as you head into the city of Samarkand. You'll want to capture every minute of this remarkable experience, from the local plov to the walls of intricate designs of green and blue tilework in the Shah-i-Zinda complex.  Near Samarkand, follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great along the Zeravshan River to our final destination in Tajikistan and the beauty of the wondrous ancient city of Panjakent. Tajikistan is a small, landlocked "stan" of Central Asia, offering a fascinating peek into this lesser traveled part of the world. 

This tour through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan is an opportunity of a lifetime. Silk Road Treasure Tours provides smooth Visa processing, border crossings, and superb accommodations. Our extremely experienced guides help create a special trip, perfectly crafted for your unique travel style.

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Cultural & Adventure Tour to Turkmenistan

Published in Turkmenistan

From the songs of the mystic Bakhshy troubadours come the treasures of mysterious Turkmenistan. A warm, Turkmen welcome is waiting for you here. Shop the markets and bazaars; redolent with silk, spices and tradition. Find one of the Telpek fur hats or a gorgeous bracelet of silver and carnelian. Enjoy the rich pilaf rice dishes, herb-filled pastries, chorek bread and hearty soups. Visit skilled artisans in their workshops and see the production of luxurious keteni silks and gorgeous, hand-woven carpets. Tour the best of Turkmenistan sightseeing through the romantic Karakum desert. Visit the ancient sites at Gonur Depe, and the UNESCO sites of Merv and Konya Urgench, witnesses to thousands of years of history from the Achaemenid Empire to Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great. Stop at the "Gates of Hell" in early evening when the Darvaza gas crater is at its most dramatic. Explore the archaeological fortress site of Nisa, the ancient Parthian capital and with luck, you'll see a red moon, a phenomenon of the desert. From the Yangyqala Canyons, the shores of the clear Caspian Sea welcome you to the resort at Awaza to see the other side of this incredible country. Arriving back in the capital of Turkmenistan; the "marble city" of Ashgabat, you'll experience this gold-accented, purpose-built creation of the former president Turkmenbashi and visit the hippodrome to see the legendary Akhal Teke horses. Turkmenistan astonishes and entertains with its almost surreal mix of ancient and modern. 

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