Central Asia Travel: Silk Route Tour, Five “Stans” Tour

The Heart of the Great Silk Road, Now including the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan

Silk Road – Caravan Silk Route Tour – The Five Stans – Plus Republic of Karakalpakstan

Journey back in time and take an epic Silk Route tour. Visit Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

On this guided small group tour you will not only visit the fascinating cultural highlights of the “Five Stans,” you will also venture off the usual tourist circuit for insight into rural lifestyles in sleepy provincial towns and quaint villages.

This tour along the Silk Road caravan route includes a wonderful mix of monuments, museums, mosques, ancient ruins, traditional bazaars, music and dance programs. In additional, we enjoy the pristine natural beauty of mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers and parks.

The tour begins in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Additionally, we visit the archaeological site of Old Nisa, once the capital of the Parthian state. It was a flourishing city between the 3rd century BC and the 3rd century AD.

Excursion to Merv

Next, an excursion to the ancient site Merv, conquered by Alexander the Great. Merv came under Persian, Greek, Sassanian and Moslem rule. From the 11th century, Merv was the capital of the Seljuk Turks. They controlled an empire stretching from Afghanistan to Egypt. In the 13th century Merv was destroyed by the Mongols leaving only the ruins of these numerous civilizations.

Other tour features include the exquisitely tiled madrassas (places of learning) and mosques of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.

Republic of Karakalpakstan

One very unique highlight of our Silk Route tour is a visit to the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. Karakalpakstan occupies the whole northwestern end of Uzbekistan. It is mostly desert and located near the Aral Sea.

The Original World tour features full days of activities with ample time to enjoy the local culture.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the rich traditions of Islamic architecture
  • Venture into remote Tajikistan to view important archeological ruins
  • Visit the ancient ruins of Merv in Turkmenistan near the Iranian border
  • Revel in the open steppes and the snow-capped mountains of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

 

View A Detailed Itinerary:

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Countryside Tajikistan

  • 1
    Turkmenistan
    Day 1-4: Meet in Ashgabat

    Full guided tour of Ashgabat including a visit to the Akhal-Teke horse stud farm, Gokdepe fortress, the remains of the Bronze Age settlement Anau -Depe and the fortress of Anau and the archaeological site of Old Nisa.

    An excursion to Old Merv ruins and a local museum.

  • 2
    Uzbekistan
    Day 5: Konye Urgench-Nukus, Karakalpakstan

    Visit the ancient city of Kunya-Urgench (Old Urgench).

    After passing thru the border into Uzbekistan, we drive approx 30 minutes to Nukus, capital of Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan.

    we visit the State Art Museum also known as Savitskiy Museum, after its’ founder Igor Saviysky, a Russian painter, archaeologist and collector.

  • 3
    Uzbekistan
    Day 6-7: Khiva

    We drive to Khiva, a most unique Uzbek city and major trading town on the Silk Road. One of the oldest towns in the world, Khiva, a once ruined desert town, has been magnificently restored through Soviet and UNESCO funded projects. 

    On the day of arrival, visit to Friday mosque and Tashauli Palace/harem. Dinner at Zainab’s National House.

    Next day, full day tour.

    Morning visit Ichan-Kala Medrese of Muchammad Aminchan, Minaret Kalta Minor, Kunya Ark Fortress, Mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud and Said Alauddin and enjoy view of whole ancient Khiva.

    Lunch in a local restaurant.

    Continue touring with visits to Juma Mosque, Tash Hauli Palace and Harem, Ensemble Islam Chodja (Khodja) minaret, Madrasah Alla Kuichan.

  • 4
    Uzbekistan
    Day 8-9: Bukhara

    A short one hour flight brings us to Bukhara.

    Bukhara was one of the great trading centers on the Silk Road, an independent Emirate and scene of Anglo Russian rivalry in the 19th century. Surrounded by vast expanses of the Kyzyl Kum desert, Bukhara retains the atmosphere of an ancient Silk Road city.

    This afternoon we visit the mausoleum of Ismail Samanid (9-10c)-vault of Bukhara rulers' dynasty, Chashma Ayub (14c), Ark Fortress 16c), Poi Kalon ensemble including Minaret (12c), Mosque (15c).

    Next day, full day tour:
    Start with a visit to Makhallya Khuma,” the ancient Jewish block of houses and synagogue. Then traditional covered bazaars including Toki Zargaron Trading Dome (1569-70); Toki Telpak Furushon Trading Dome, Toki Sarrafon Trading Dome (16th c.).

    We stop for lunch at local restaurant.

    The Kosh Madrassah Ensemble (sponsored by Abdullah-khan II (1561-1598), the most successful khan of Shaibanid dynasty (1566-67), Ulugbek Madrassah (1417+); Magak-i Attari Mosque (16c) - one of the earliest religious buildings of Islamic era in Bukhara, Chor Minor Madrassah and Lyabi Khauz Ensemble (17c).

    Dinner at local restaurant. Folk Show at Nadir-Divanbegi Madrassah (17c).

  • 5
    Uzbekistan
    Day 10-11: Samarkand

    This morning an excursion to Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa, the summer palace of the last Emir of Bukhara (1911). The style is an eclectic mix of European, Russian and Oriental design and there is a good exhibition of traditional Suzane embroidery as well as Chinese porcelain brought along the Silk Road from China.

    Then we drive to the historic town of Samarkand, a melting pot of the world’s cultures and a World Heritage Site.

    In Samarkand our small group admires the stunningly-tiled, medieval architectural wonder of the Registan Ensemble (a main highlight of Samarkand).

    We visit “Stars above Samarkand ” – Ulugbek observatory (15c), the “Ruins of Afrosiab” - the excavation and museum of the ancient town (6 BC-13 AD) and the Gur Emir Mausoleum (15c).

    One evening we attend a show at “El Merosi,” Theater of Historical Costumes.

  • 6
    Uzbekistan
    Day 12-13: Shakhrisabz-Termez

    Shakhrisabz is one of the most ancient cities in Central Asia and the birthplace and home town of Central Asia’s foremost conqueror - the Great Amir Temur. It is also a a traditional center of folk arts, especially embroidery.

    Termez is in the south of Uzbekistan, near the Afghan border. Once an important trading post at the crossroads of the Silk Routes, Termez is the most overlooked corner of Uzbekistan but is well worth a visit.

    See the influences of Greek, Buddhist & Islamic civilizations in Termez architecture.

  • 7
    Tajikistan
    Day 14: Dusanabe

    Discover Dushanbe, the Tajik capital including guided visits to the blue domed mosque and the Museum of Archaeology which exhibits the largest Buddha in Asia.

  • 8
    Tajikistan
    Day 15: Istarafshan (former Ura Tyube)-Khujand

    A beautiful drive today to Khujand via Istarafshan (also spelled Istaravshan). We visit the well-preserved old town of Istaravshan, a maze of small alleys that wind through neighborhoods of shady, mud walled Central Asian homesteads.

    Ura Tyube is also a handicrafts center, known for its woodcutting. Visit an 'ustokhana' or artisans workshop.

  • 9
    Uzbekistan
    Day 16-17: Tashkent

    This morning we shall visit the remains of Khujand's citadel built in the early Middle Ages and used up to the early 20th century.

    Afterwards, drive to Tashkent. This wonderful city is a real embodiment of the modern elegance that is inherent in many world capitals. At the same time, it remains an oriental city.

    Enjoy an immersive visit to the Old Quarter of Tashkent, the excellent Applied Sciences Museum and soak up the ambiance at one of the world's oldest markets

  • 10
    Uzbekistan
    Day 18: Fergana Valley

    Tour the sights of Fergana and Margilan in the Fergana Valley. Visit the village of Rishtan, famous for its ceramics, where traditional designs are made with a mix of modern and traditional techniques including the use of a blue-green glaze rarely seen outside the region.

  • 11
    Kyrgyzstan
    Day 19: Osh - Bishtek

    Enjoy Osh, one of the oldest towns in Central Asia, located at the southeastern edge of the Fergana Valley.

    This evening we will fly to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyz Republic.

  • 12
    Day 20: Bishkek

    Tour Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyz Republic, located where the Kazakh steppe meets the foothills of the majestic snow-capped Tien-Shan mountains.

    Our tour explores the ancient city and its architectural masterpieces including Ala-Too Square, The National Museum of History, Frunze House, The Art Museum; see the Opera House and the Concert Hall (near which there is a statue of National Hero Manas).

  • 13
    Kazakhstan
    Day 21: Tamgaly Petroglyphs - Almaty

    Our small group tour visits the Petroglyph site in the Zhetysu of Kazakhstan (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The majority of the 5000 petroglyphs are in the main canyon which are mostly from the Bronze Age, but some have been overlaid with medieval or later etchings. There are some petroglyphs from the Iron Age.

    This afternoon continue the drive to Almaty.

  • 14
    Day 22: Almaty-Depart

    Visit Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, including the Central State Museum, Panfilov Park, and Zenkov Cathedral (second tallest wooden building in the world).

    Late evening transfer to the airport for departure (1-3 am).

  • Trip Length

    CENTRAL ASIA - SILK ROAD TOUR - TRIP LENGTH
    22-day trip begins in Ashgabad and ends in Almaty

  • Dates

    May 25 PM/May 26 AM - June 15PM/June 16 AM, 2020
    Sept 27 PM/Sept 28 AM - Oct 18PM/Oct 19 AM, 2020

  • Land Cost

    2020 $5340 includes all airfare within the tour

  • Accommodations

    4 nights 5-star hotel
    15 nights 4-star hotels
    2 nights 3 star hotels (best available)

  • Group Size

    6-12 guests

  • Included Meals

    Daily breakfast, 19 lunches, 4 dinners, bottled water

  • Reading List

    Suggested Reading

  • Resource

    VISA REQUIREMENTS
    Visa Processing Company

  • Extend Your Trip

    The Caucasus Tour: Armenia-Georgia-Azerbaijan
    Precedes the Stans tour
    China's Silk Route Tour > The Stans tour

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Khiva, Khorezm Province, Uzbekistan

Bukhara, Bukhara Province, Uzbekistan

Samarkand, Samarkand Province, Uzbekistan

Termez Airport, Termez, Uzbekistan

Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Valley Service Dacha, Дачные участки, Fergana, Uzbekistan

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