Cities visited are Istanbul, Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Almaty, Tien Shan Mountains region, Bishkek, Issyk Kul Lake area, and Khodjent. Scheduled Tour dates are May 15-31, 2014 and August 15-31, 2014. Price for a group of 4-10 travelers $6,299 with a single supplement fee of $747.
The tour kicks off with a half day of touring Istanbul, one of the world’s most historic and dynamic metropolis. An evening flight brings the group to Tashkent the capitol of Uzbekistan, where after a night’s rest, a full day of sight seeing awaits, with historic architecture, parks, the idyllic main handicrafts center, the impressive -and vastly fun- open air Chorsu market, all capped with experiencing the spiritual peace of Kukeldash, an active Madrassa.
The following day a trip to the border of Uzbekistan will have the group visiting the Nature Reserve of Ugham Chatkal State Park at the foot of the Tien Shan mountain range for a day of outdoor splendor. Horse lovers will enjoy riding local breeds of horses at the stables of Chimghan Oromghohi through scenic terrain and magnificent skyscapes.
Next, a journey to the ancient city of Khodjent, the location of the ultimate show down between the locals and Genghis Khan. Visit Temurmalik fortress (rebuilt in the 17th century and now a functioning administrative center), archeological sites and museum, followed by a trip to a Silk Road Bazaar where Tajik handicrafts -craft techniques and imagery vary from country to country- and can be haggled over and bought.
The jewel of Samarkand awaits on the following day. En route, see the meeting of two mountain ranges, with photo stops. Arrive at Maracanda (its former name) a city full of grandeur and history. It houses the Tomb of Timur the great, with its stately grounds and gilt interior, and the renowned Registan, a square surrounded on three sides by madrassas. From its elegant arches, quiet quadrangles planted with fruit trees, to its massive open air court and distinctive teal and turquoise studded towers, it is simply magnificent, and a true symbol of the grand royalty that created it, and made Samarkand a center of learning and culture. A full day of sightseeing including the Shakhi Zinda Ensemble, a formidable necropolis displaying majolica-like tile work, the Hebrew prophet Daniel’s tomb, the Jewish quarter and synagogue, and more shopping at the local bazaar (Hint: Uzbek black pepper and cumin is excellent!) for local foods and crafts, an evening ride through the desert to Bukhara. Awake to a city drowsing in sunlight with winding back streets, sun bleached facades and a central pond, and a network of domed markets with a dizzying display of wares. Walk the old Jewish quarter, drink spiced tea, take in the Poi-Kalon complex, with the tallest minaret in Central Asia; the “Lighthouse in the Desert” for caravans of old. End the evening with a relaxed dinner followed by an entertainment of folklore and fashion.
Flight from Bukhara to Tashkent for a free day, suggested activities opera and ballet theater.
The second leg of the tour brings travelers through the wilds of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, where nature takes center stage. At the summit of the Chy mbulak mountain range, a breathtaking view awaits: see the landscape of Kazakhstan, stretching out before you, in all its splendid variety. Witness the legacy of Kazakhstan’s bygone equestrian empire, as its extraordinary horsemen use huge trained eagles to hunt for game. In Kyrgyzstan, after an energetic day of hiking and riding, relax on the shore of Lake Issyk Kul, whose warm sapphire waters comprise one of the largest and deepest alpine lakes in the world. Unwind at sunset amidst this natural beauty with champagne cocktails provided exclusively by Silk Road Treasure tours.
Returning to Istanbul, visit the famed Blue Mosque and the incredible Basilica of Saint Sophia, its architectural inspiration. Under its massive dome, the Roman Empire first dedicated itself to Christianity making it the seat of the Orthodox church until the triumphant Ottoman Empire converted it into a mosque. Layers of history are now revealed in its current state as a museum. Visit the opulent Topkapi palace with its world renowned diamond, and wander the 17th century Covered Grand Bazaar, with its 4,000 shops enticing the tourist to buy one last exotic memento before returning home.
About Silk Road Treasure Tours
Silk Road Treasure Tours specializes in custom private and group tours to Central Asia "Stan" countries and the most fascinating destinations of the Silk Road that have inspired imaginations for centuries, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Zulya Rajabova, founder and president of Silk Road Treasure Tours and native of Uzbekistan, provides expert advice to craft authentic and unforgettable journeys for tourists, academics, historians, business and special interest groups that suit both travel goals and budget. Along with a first-rate team of talented, multi-lingual professionals in Central Asia, Silk Road Treasure Tours offers a wealth of local knowledge and provides itinerary planning, travel arrangements, and the best in accommodation and tour guides that satisfy even the most inquisitive traveler. www.silkroadtreasuretours.com