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Tamerlane's Empire

Departing: Tashkent, Uzbekistan - 12 days
Countries visited: Uzbekistan

Take a deeper look into Uzbekistan as we transport you from the lively capital of Tashkent to hidden villages in a remote valley, before focusing on those magical places which have besotted travellers for centuries - Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.

  

 

Itinerary

Days 1-5. Tashkent and the Fergana Valley
A cultural and economic hub of Central Asia, Tashkent has played host to many of Asia’s greatest conquering empires. Most evident today, the boulevards and squares of soviet rule present an amazing introduction to this unique region. 

However, our interest lies beyond in the little-visited Fergana Valley where rural communities are divided between old village agriculture and industrialisation - a Soviet legacy. In some, residents seem to prefer traditional garb over conventional western-styles. Whitewashed houses, lanes of plane trees, mulberry hedges and beautiful mosques are omnipresent. In the distance the snow-covered mountains of the Pamir range keep watch. Margilan has the most interesting bazaars. Rishton specialises in pottery. Kokand has impressive palaces, mosques and madrassas. While Andijan, one of the Silk Road's earliest and most important centres, seems more industrial. The great Mogul emperor Babur was born here in 1483. Being a direct descendent of Tamerlane on his paternal side and of Genghis Khan on his maternal side, he had excellent credentials to go on and establish Moghul rule in India. 

Days 6-9. Crown Jewels: Samarkand & Bukhara
It is impossible to speak of Samarkand without crediting Tamerlane - popularly known as Timur - who was once dragged here as a prisoner by an invading Mongol army. When his fortunes improved, he returned and made Samarkand the capital of his Temurid realm in 1370, and systematically went about making his city grand. He and successive 14th and 15th century rulers shaped the city we see today. 
The madrassas of Registan Square and the mausoleum of Tamerlane and his family - Gur-e-Amir - are sure to be highlights of your journey. 

Onwards by road to Bukhara, we are treated to Central Asia's most complete medieval city and revel in its beautiful traditional architecture as we walk through its history. The Kaylan minaret which once served as beacon for caravans negotiating the desert at night is the only surviving structure from 1220 when Genghis Khan laid the city to waste. 

Days 10-12. Across the Kyzyl Kum to Ancient Khiva
Journey across the vast open plains of the Kyzyl Kum Desert to the wonderfully preserved city of Khiva. Khiva is a living museum with mosques, madrassas and caravanserai crowded within its walls. Visit the Kunya Ark – former residence of the Khan, the beautiful Kalta Minar Minaret and the extraordinary Tash Khauli or ‘Stone Palace’. Return then by overnight train to Tashkent and enjoy a 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.
 

Essentials

Group Size
15 maximum

Accommodation
Hotels - 10 nights (twin share)
Train - 1 nights (4 berth)

Meals
11 in total. Breakfast (10) &
 Dinner (1) with a local family.

Travel by
Train: There are 2 rail sectors on this journey
- Samarkand to Bukhara (Day Train)
- Khiva to Tashkent (1 night)
Other: For ‘Scheduled Sightseeing’ we generally use a small minibus, and for ‘City Exploring’ we use local taxis, public transport and go on foot.

Sightseeing
Some scheduled sightseeing is part of the itinerary and includes all transport, entrance fees and English speaking local guide. Please refer to the Journey Itinerary for full details.

Visas
Are required for Uzbekistan. Sundowners Overland will provide all required invitation letters and full visa support including detailed visa guidelines.