Day 1: Tashkent
We begin our journey in Tashkent the dynamic Uzbek capital, busily shaking off its Soviet past, despite twenty percent of its citizens being Russian. But street-side shashlik and pilau vendors don't differentiate between the newer city or the old town which remains distinctly Turkic. In the evening of Day 1 you join your National Guide and fellow travellers at 5:00pm for your Welcome Meeting as detailed in your joining instructions.
Days 2-4: To The Fergana Valley
After a city tour of Tashkent in the morning we travel beyond the capital, southeast, to the rarely visited oasis of Fergana Valley, the lyrical land of fruit and honey. Spending three days based in Fergana we explore the regions delightful market towns Andijan, one of the Silk Road's earliest and most important centres as well as the birthplace of Babur, father to India's great Moghul Empire - Margilan, the silk capital of Uzbekistan, here friendly locals spruik their wears at the fascinating bazaar dressed in traditional costume. Our last stop on Day 4 is Rishton a town renowned for its master potters, around 300 of them!
Day 5: Kokand and to Tashkent
Continuing on to the town of Kokand. Once home to over three hundred mosques, today you can still discover a number of impressive palaces, mosques and madrassas, including the magnificent Khudayar Khan Palace and Mir Mosque. Remnants of what once was a powerful state as well as a prosperous trading and religious centre.
Days 6-7: Samarkand
Tamerlane affectionately known in Uzbekistan as Timur was dragged here as a prisoner by an invading Mongol army. In the years following, his fortune improved and he returned and made Samarkand the capital of his Temurid realm. He and successive 14th & 15th century rulers shaped the city we see today. The madrassas of Registan Square and the mausoleum of Timur and his family Gur-e Amir are sure to be highlights of your journey.
Days 8-9: Bukhara via Shakhrisabz
A spectacular drive through the Zerafshan Mountains takes us to Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane. Beside the ruined entrance towers of his Ak-Serai Palace, the pretty market town offers a relaxed atmosphere with traditional homes, teahouses and mosques.
Continue onwards to Bukhara where we are treated to Central Asia's most complete medieval city and revel in its beautiful traditional architecture as we walk through its history. Encapsulating and enchanting, Bukhara's intrigue lies in the evolution of the city; whilst some highly significant centres of human history are frozen for prosperity Bukhara lives on unchanged by time. Highlights of your time here will most certainly include the Ark Fortress, the Samanid Mausoleum one of the world's oldest monuments, and the Kalyan Minaret which once served as a beacon for caravans negotiating the desert at night, the only surviving structure from 1220 when Genghis Khan laid the city to waste.
Day 10: Khiva
Today we leave Bukhara and set off across the vast open plains of the Kyzyl Kum Desert to the wonderfully preserved city of Khiva one of the finest examples of a Khanate fortified city and a living museum with mosques, madrassas and caravanserai crowded within its walls. Kunya Ark a former residence of the Khan, the beautiful Kalta Minar minaret and the extraordinary Tash Khauli or 'Stone Palace' are among the prominent attractions.
Days 11-12: Khiva and return to Tashkent
Half day Khiva city tour before returning by overnight train to Tashkent.
We return to the Uzbek capital mid-morning on Day 12, giving us the final chance to explore the old town and Chorsu Bazaar before this incredible journey, tracing the path of defeats and victories, of births and deaths, ends where it all began.