In Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital we visit the Ala Too and Victory Squares, the White House and Hero Monument and take a stroll in the nearby Ala-Archa National Park. In the mountainous countryside, we travel around the Issyk-Kul Lake and gaze on petroglyphs dating from the 2nd Millennium BC. In Karakol we visit the Russian Orthodox Church and the Dungan mosque. Lush summer pastures are home to yurt dwelling nomads who still hunt with eagles. Back in Bishkek we fly to the ancient Osh, dominated by Sulaiman Too, a mountain in the city centre, protected by UNESCO due to its cultural and spiritual significance.
We cross into Uzbekistan to Ferghana city and visit silk and carpet centres and on our way to Tashkent we stop at a ceramic centre, the Khudayarkhan’s palace and Juma Mosque. From Tashkent we fly to ancient Khiva, once a slave-trading Khanate and the most intact of our three ancient cities. Within its baked mud brick walls we visit a wonderful carpet and textile workshop and see some stunning vernacular architecture, exploring mosques, madrasas and mausoleums. Next comes Bukhara, one of the great Silk Route cities of central Asia and two days allows ample time to see the principal sights and make our own discoveries
Finally we reach legendary Samarkand. Here we discover the most celebrated sights including the madrassas and mosques of the magnificent Registan. A short drive away is World Heritage-listed Shahrisabz where we explore the palace ruins of the conqueror Timur and visit nearby Konigil, known for its ancient paper making workshop. Our Central Asian adventure comes to an end in Tashkent where we ride the metro, visit the State Museum of Applied Arts and explore the fabulous Chorsu food bazaar.
DAYS 1 & 2 – Bishkek, DAY 3 –Burana-Issykul-Cholpon Ata, DAY 4 – Karakol, DAY 5 – Bokonbaevo-Bishek, DAY 6 – Osh-Ferghana, DAY 7 – Tashkent, DAY 8 & 9 – Khiva, DAY 10 – Khiva-Bukhara, DAYS 11 & 12 – Bukhara, DAY 13 & 14 – Samarkand, DAY 15 – Sharisabz-Samarkand, DAY 16 & 17 – Tashkent, DAY 18 – End Tashkent.
Cost: USD $4160
Single Supplement: USD $845