Samarkand

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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Uzbekistan Family Tour

Published in Uzbekistan

Explore the cultural treasures of Uzbekistan! Uzbekistan is the land of mosques, medressehs, monuments and minarets! In this Uzbekistan family tour you will visit everything from UNESCO World Heritage sites, magnificent forts and palaces and spectacular mountain ranges, lakes, steppe and deserts in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. You and your travel group explore traditional bazaars, markets and villages, tag along to real neighborhoods, schools and the homes of local residents to experience the warmth of Uzbek hospitality. You will also clamber over the ruins of an ancient mud fortress in the Kizil Kum desert, ride a camel and enjoy an overnight stay in a nomadic yurt under the stars. Stop in to watch master artisans in ceramics (tiles), weaving and wood carving and find those must-have souvenirs in the myriad of workshops in the old medressehs. See the process of cooking plov (pilaf) or non (its a little different everywhere!) and learn the ritual of pouring tea here. Enjoy traditional music, joyful children dance performances, and learn to play the doira (hand drum). Learn the folk stories, superstitions and legends of Central Asia, pay homage at the statue of storyteller Hodja Nasreddin in Bukhara. Participate in community work and the celebrations and festivals. Dress up in costumes from the time of Avicenna, act with Uzbek actors or take part in a sporting event. Enjoy private peaceful sunset view in a Kizilkum desert and in legendary Khiva.

Uzbekistan family tour begins and ends in Tashkent, with 1 night in the Kizil Kum desert, a night in a Yurt Camp and one night in  Khiva, a UNESCO World Heritage site,   2 nights in Bukhara, and 3 nights in Samarkand.  Price for the private family tour is  $3, 449 per person double occupancy.  Included are  accommodations  in 4-star and boutique hotels, all domestic transportation including air, ground, and high-speed rail; transfers,  English-speaking guides throughout,  activities and entrance  fees, wine tasting and a visa invitation.  Also included are cooking classes, master classes with craftsmen,  daily breakfast, 2 lunches with local families, and dinners with ambiance.

Our guests Wendy Perrin and family enjoyed their family experience in Uzbekistan and learn https://www.wendyperrin.com/photos-from-wendys-family-trip-just-back-from-the-silk-road/

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Uzbekistan Adventure Tours

Published in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan holds some of the most beautiful unspoiled landscapes in the world! It's a land of desert, mountain and steppe, of valleys, rivers and lakes just waiting for the intrepid traveler to discover. Tour the famous sites of Uzbekistan with your family and friends and experience life in a very different part of the world. Ride a camel in the desert, stay in a yurt by a lake, visit an Uzbeki family and share a meal, shop for souvenirs in the bazaars and watch craftsmen at work. Make the fabled cities of the Silk Road come alive and enjoy thousands of years of history, tradition and the warmest hospitality of Uzbek people. Make the stuff of legends part of your family history!

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Luxury Culinary Tour to Uzbekistan

Published in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan will inspire and amaze you, from its traditional spice bazaars to its beautiful landscapes and ancient cities. At the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road, the cuisine of Uzbekistan is as diverse as the travelers and traders who passed through here... Traditional plov, savory meat and vegetable filled pastries, sizzling kebabs, sweet fresh melons, and melt in your mouth halvah. Everything here is local, fresh and flavorful. Explore the markets and food bazaars and participate in fabulous cooking classes with outstanding Uzbek chefs Bahriddin Chustiy, Zulfiya, and Shirin. New luxury brand hotels offer even more comfort and service in Tashkent, while fabulous boutique hotels offer hidden hideaways and brilliant traditional dining. Dine at home with a local family, learning recipes passed down for generations and make fresh bread in a clay tandur oven. Enjoy every moment of your Uzbekistan luxury vacation with the finest in accommodation, dining and transportation.

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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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Dance Along the Silk Road

Published in Uzbekistan

“It is better to see something once, than hear about it a thousand times.”  Uzbek Proverb
Discover Uzbekistan’s Cultural Heritage with Silk Road Treasure Tour’s Dance Along the Silk Road! Led by Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray, an internationally recognized dance scholar, award-winning choreographer, performer and costume designer, this unique travel opportunity focuses on the history, art, and dance traditions of Central Asian. Guests will study dance with native artists “in context” while traveling along the ancient Silk Road to the Uzbekistan’s legendary cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. Even non-dancers can enjoy the beauty of special performances and meetings with leading Uzbek artists. Dr. Gray, honored by the Uzbek Ministry of Culture for “her great contributions to the development of Uzbek culture and art,” will share her extensive insider knowledge of Uzbekistan, its people and culture.

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Silk Road Tour to Uzbekistan and China

Published in Silk Road

Marvel at the wonders of ancient Silk Road destinations of Uzbekistan and China! Explore legendary cities of Bukhara, Samarkand, Kashgar, Turpan and Xian and enjoy the natural beauty of Tiyanshan Mountains and Kizilkum deserts! You will also visit the families of local people for cultural interaction, to share the authentic meals and to learn embroidery. 

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Uzbekistan Shopper's Paradise

Published in Uzbekistan

Shop your way through the 1001 Nights in the bazaars of Uzbekistan! Our knowledgeable guides will make sure you see it all, help you hone your bargaining techniques and bring home fabulous souvenirs from your journey into Central Asia. After all, its our part of the world and we know it best. It's all part of the fun in the ancient trade domes, bazaars, and handicraft, artisan and designer workshops here in the heart of the ancient Silk Road. Uzbekistan's master craftsmen are famous for jewelry in silver, gold and semi-precious stones, for embossed silver, brass and copper; gorgeous carved wood, colorful ceramics, luxurious silks, bold ikat fabrics, intricate gold and silk embroideries; and carpets of geometric harmony and pure color. Uzbek aromatic plov and warm fresh bread from the clay tandur oven are just part of this feast of the senses - after all, you'll need to keep your strength up for shopping! The haunting traditional music of the dombra and tambur, the bustle of the markets and the swirl and dash of vibrant colors invite you to sample the traditions of Uzbekistan. Join our unforgettable shopping tour of Uzbekistan among the soaring minarets, glittering monuments, and hospitable people. Just say bozor kilamiz - going shopping!

This tour now includes the option to visit the Ferghana Valley which was the center of the ancient Great Silk Road it has 3000 years of history has amazing cultures, warm hospitality, old craftsmanship and authentic cuisine. It attracted travelers, Silk Road merchants and diplomats including Zhang Quan; a renowned Chinese diplomat from the 2nd century BC. It also played an important role as a bridge between East and West. Read more about the Ferghana Valley in our blog.

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The Hidden Riches Of Central Asia

Published in Central Asia

This trip is part of our Condé Nast Traveler Collection

Central Asia is fast becoming the must-see region on travel itineraries. The nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are the ultimate destinations for those seeking the trip of a lifetime on the road less traveled. Tourism is just finding its feet here, and visitors to Central Asia find a world that stands between times. Closed to the west for decades under Soviet rule, the cities are rushing to catch up with the modern world with monumental parks and glass-fronted businesses, galleries and museums, yet most of the land remains as it has for centuries. It is a world of contrast with changing urban skylines and pristine landscapes, Silk Road culture and cuisine, thousands of years of history, and some of the last unexplored territories, filled with adventure and opportunity and a tradition of hospitality unmatched anywhere in the world. This is our backyard and our knowledge and experience mean we offer expert, unforgettable, bespoke tours to Central Asia.

The experience is everything you imagine of the Silk Road... soaring minarets and azure skies, opulent silk and silver, bazaars full of inviting spices and fresh tandur baked breads, and intricate designs of blue and green tilework and bold, hand-woven carpets. Museums and mosques appear around the corner from classic Soviet architecture. The the majesty of mountains and glitter of an alpine lake give way to sweeping steppes and verdant valleys dotted with nomadic yurts and traditional music at a desert campfire. Traditional bazaars are still as busy now as they were hundreds of years ago, where anything is available and everything is on display. Whether in the white-marbled city of Ashgabad, behind the sun-warmed adobe walls of Khiva, at an artisan workshop nestled in a lush valley, a nomadic Kyrgyz yurt under a sky of blazing stars, or beside a spectacular glowing desert crater, our guests are treated to superb comfort and service and truly authentic experiences. 

Hungry? Travelers here are tempted by the aroma of fresh bread from clay tandur ovens, and the heady scent of Silk Road spices; that unforgettable fragrance of faraway lands. Cuisine in Central Asia is local, fresh and flavorful. Traveling with us you'll enjoy fine food and wine and personalized menus. Our extensive network of contacts in this part of the world gives us access to private venues, estates, chefs and restaurants and little known sources for the best of everything. 

Travel arrangements include first-class train carriages on the high-speed railway, and luxury vehicles. Our guests stay in Silk Road Treasure Tours’ premier collection of international luxury branded hotels or local boutique hotels. International hotels include the Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Inter-Continental, and Serena properties. Boutique hotels include the Minzifa, Sasha and Son, and Komil hotels in Bukhara; the Orient Star Hotel in Khiva; and the Bibi Khanum or Grand Samarkand Superior in Samarkand.

An exploration of the legendary "Stans" of Central Asia is the stuff of dreams. Silk Road Treasure Tours can make yours a reality.

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Following Central Asia's Silk Road

Published in Educational

Central Asia offers thousands of years of cultural, historical and archaeological treasures and the warmest hospitality in the world! Silk Road Tresure Tours offers you the opportunity to explore, experience and discover these lands of the ancient Silk Road. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are the places we long to explore, cities of fable, and landscapes of legend; where the pulse of ancient civilization provides the backdrop for recently independent nations. From soaring minarets, desert sands and wind-swept steppe, opulent silk and silver, intricate designs on ancient mosaics and carpets, and colors and exotic offerings in lively bazaars. Discover the fascinating historical and cultural transformations that have taken place from the Sogdian Empire to Islamic Caliphate, from Tamerlane to the Tsars, from Soviet rule to present-day independence. Our outstanding guides will lead you to spiritual centers of Sufi, Buddhist and Zoroastrian origin, ancient petroglyphs and ruins, Islamic mehdressas and mosques, and through bazaars brimming with traditional and contemporary handicrafts and workshops. Meetings with historians, archaeologists, artisans and local families will enhance the experience, rounded out with traditional dance, music and cultural displays on our journey across Central Asia's Silk Road.

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