• Journey to the heart of Central Asia to discover ancient history and culture in the Silk Road cities of Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand
• Visit Samarkand’s famed Registan Square, bordered by elegant madrasas in shades of gold and turquoise
• Learn about traditional ways of life as we meet with local people in the colourful bazaars and over a special lunch
Depart London 2135.
Arrive Tashkent 0825 and transfer to hotel for overnight stay. Morning tour of the city: Independence Square, Amir Temur monument, Museum of Applied Art. Afternoon: Hazrat Imam complex (group of mosques and madrasas dating from the 16th to 20th centuries, home to one of the oldest extant copies of the Quran).
Morning in Tashkent: State Museum of History of Uzbekistan (archaeological and ethnographical) followed by visit to Chorsu Bazaar. Afternoon flight to Urgench, and transfer to city of Khiva for two nights.
Khiva: Ichan-Qala (ancient citadel surrounded by crenellated clay walls), Djuma mosque, Muhammad Amin Khan madrasa, Kalta Minor minaret, Kunya Ark fortress.
Drive through the Kyzylkum desert, occasionally sighting the River Oxus (now the Amu Darya) crossed by Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Stay in Bukhara for three nights.
Bukhara: 12th century Kalon minaret and complex with 16th century mosque and madrasa Mir-i-Arab, Toki Zaragron trading domes, 12th century Maghoki-Attar mosque (built on the site of a Zoroastrian temple).
Bukhara: Lyab-i Khauz (16th and 17th century buildings surrounding one of the city’s surviving water pools), 10th century Samanid Mausoleum, Chashma-Ayub mausoleum (‘Job’s Spring’) and Bolo-Hauz mosque.
Drive to Samarkand via the 11th century Rabat-i Malik caravanserai. Lunch in Mitan as guests of a local family. Stay in Samarkand for three nights.
Samarkand: Gur-i Amir mausoleum (burial place of Timur), famed Registan Square with 15th and 17th century madrasas, huge Bibi Khanum mosque and colourful Siyob Bazaar.
Whole day excursion to Shakhrisabz, hometown of Timur: portal of Ak-Saray palace, Hazrat-i Imam mosque and tomb of Timur.
Samarkand: observatory built by Ulugh Bek, Shah-i-Zinda tiled funerary complex. Afternoon at ancient site of Afrasiab (rare 7th century Sogdian fresco), before train transfer to Tashkent for overnight stay.
Depart Tashkent 1620, arriving London 2000.