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Uzbekistan and the Silk Road

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Uzbekistan and the Silk Road

Byroads Travel

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Explore Uzbekistan and the fabled cities of the Silk Road

13 Days -7-19 OCT 2018

Transoxiana is an ancient name describing the region of central Asia corresponding roughly with modern‐day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgyzstan and southwest Kazakhstan. During the Sassanid period (224BC-651AD) the area derived considerable commercial benefit from the northern Silk Road, and the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara became important centres of wealth, culture and learning. Today they are among the most exotic cities of the Islamic world, with ancient mosques covered in shimmering tilework, crowned by stunning turquoise domes. Khiva was a separate Khanate, first recorded by Muslim travellers in the 10th century, although its origins are believed to be much older than this. Together, these three cities form the core of your journey through this ancient and extraordinary land.

In Tashkent you ride the metro, visit the State Museum of Applied Arts and explore the fabulous Chorsu food bazaar. Next is legendary Samarkand, whose colourful history dates back over 2,500 years. Here you discover its most celebrated sights including the madrassas and mosques of the magnificent Registan. A short drive away is World Heritage‐listed Shahrisabz where you explore the ruins of the conqueror Timur's palace and visit nearby Urgut and Konigil, known for their ceramics and ancient paper making workshops.

Alongside Samarkand, Bukhara is one of the great Silk Route cities of central Asia and two days allows ample time to see the principal sights and make your own discoveries. You then travel across the desert steppe to Khiva, once a slave-trading Khanate, and the most intact and homogenous of our three ancient cities. Within its baked mud brick walls you visit a wonderful carpet and textile workshop and see some stunning vernacular architecture, exploring a number of mosques, madrasas and mausoleums.

Northeast of Khiva you spend a night in a traditional yurt camp, giving you a glimpse into central Asian nomadic life, before driving up to the remote town of Nukus, which boasts the world's second largest collection of Russian avant garde art.

Your host

Steve Mortimer heads up Byroads Travel and will be your host on this tour. Steve has nearly 30 years in the travel industry and has travelled to well over 100 countries. He has worked with a number of well‐ known Australian adventure travel companies including 13 years as a Product Manager and Operations Director for Peregrine Adventures. Most recently he has been involved in researching and developing holidays in several different regions of the world, including Latin America and the Middle East where he has lived.

Steve likes nothing better than getting out and about with like‐minded travellers, sharing his knowledge and introducing them to some of the world’s most interesting places. A particular feature of his tours is the chance to see places that others often miss (or simply don’t know about!), such as the pueblos blancos or ‘white villages’ of Andalusia, Sri Lanka’s stunning south coast or the wonderful vernacular architecture of Iran’s Yazd Province.

With your itinerary you can be confident you'll visit all the 'must see' attractions – and much more, however there are some days when you'll have time to wander and make some of your own discoveries. Throughout the tour local guides are employed to provide a wealth of background information and share their extensive local knowledge.

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