Jewels Along the Silk Route
After sightseeing in Tashkent, we fly to Urgench and head to the romantic city of Khiva - an old walled caravan halt that was once an important stop on the Silk Road. We explore the maze of twisting alleyways, medieval mosques, tombs and palaces before driving to the magical city of Bokhara. Here we see the huge Kalyan Minaret - probably the tallest building in the world when it was built in 1127. In this desert town people still read and write Persian and Arabic, as well as their native Uzbek tongue.
Aydarkul Lake & the Desert
From Bokhara we drive to the old Silk Road town of Karmana. Here we turn off the highway and using bus and 4-wheel drive vehicles, we reach our desert camp. We have time to ride camels in the desert near our camp; for the brave, there's a chance to swim in lake Aydarkul to cool off - an altogether invigorating experience!
Two days are spent in Samarkand, the capital of Tamerlane's empire which contains some of Asia's most stunning architecture. We see the tomb of the 'Great Destroyer' himself - the Gur-Emir, a jewel of Islamic art - and the 600-year-old Observatory of Ulug-Beg, the astronomer who calculated the length of a year to within 10 seconds! On one of the days, it is possible to explore ancient Marakanda, the original site of the town.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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