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THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

Uzbekistan: Tashkent • Samarkand • Shakre Sabz • Karshi
Bukhara • Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa • Khiva
Turkmenistan: Tashauz • Kunya Urgench • Ashgabat • Bogurdak • Mary (Merv) • Nisa

March 29 - April 12, 2018 • 15 Days
$6690 with air from New York, JFK plus Uzbekistan
Visa fee of $208 and Turkmenistan Visa fee of $148

Ferghana Valley Extension Pre-trip Extension
Tashkent • Ferghana • Kokand • Rishton • Margilan • Andijan
March 26 - 29, 2018 • 3 additional days • $1340 when combined with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

IMPORTANT

Although our itinerary indicates air via Turkish Airlines, we understand that you may prefer a different routing for your air. In this case our tour can be taken as land only and an alternate airline used.

What's best for you is best for us!

 

Would you like to see pictures from our past trips to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan?

Click Here 2011 trip by Paulette Lewis
Click Here 2013 trip by Robin O'Bryan

 

 

Ferghana Valley Pre-trip Extension
Preliminary Day by Day itinerary

March 26 Depart U.S.A.
Monday

Meet our group at New York, JFK this evening by 9:00 PM for at 11:55 PM by Turkish Airlines TK12. Alternate departures are available on Turkish Airlines from Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington, DC.

Meals aloft

March 27 Arrive Istanbul
Tuesday

Arrive Istanbul at 4:45 PM. Connect to TK368 at 11:45 PM.

Meals aloft

March 28 Arrive Tashkent
Wednesday

Welcome to Uzbekistan! We arrive in Tashkent at 6:15 AM where we are greeted upon arrival. Transfer to the Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace for a day of relaxation or independent activities. (B-L-D)

Lotte Hotel Tashkent Palace****

March 29 Tashkent - Kokand
Thursday Rishton
- Ferghana
Depart Tashkent by the NEW train from Tashkent to Kokand (0805/1216) via the beautiful Kamchik pass through a long tunnel recently constructed arriving at Kokand Railway station. Upon arrival begin our tour of Ferghana valley visiting the Fort/Museum of Khan Khodoyar Khan, the last Khan of the once powerful and widely spread out Khannate of Kokand. Later drive to nearby Dangara to visit local wood carvers where we will see the master carver's workshop.

Later drive to Rishton to see the pottery workshop's master potter, Rustam Usmanov. Begin with lunch at his home and then see the pottery museum and the workshop.

Later drive to Ferghana for dinner and overnight at the Hotel Asia Ferhana. (B-L-D)

Hotel Asia Ferghana***

March 30 Margilan - Andijan
Friday Ferghana

Spend the whole day exploring the Ferghyana Valley, which once played an important role as a corridor for the Silk Road caravans. First we proceed to Margilan to visit the famous Yodgarlik Silk factory. See the traditional long process making of silk from cocoon to fabric: the cocoon boiling and separation of silk thread – the spindles, cleaning of thread to its finest form.
Later visit the tieing and dyeing process of silk thread which is then sent to the main hall of hand looms. See the old and traditional way of weaving fabric into local patterns of Silk designs. Later proceed to Ishan Hoja madrassah where we see masters at work, which are the best forms of silk weaving of age-old patterns called Bakhmal. Meet the master Rasuljon whose fabric was used by the designer Oscar de la Renta. We shall see cloth stamping, carpet weaving and see the display center.

Afterwards depart for Andijan – the birthplace of Babur the Great - the founder of Moghul Dynasty of India. En-route we make a visit to the Ming Tepe archaeological site – this is original site of once ‘Dayuan’ of the Chinese historical annals as Ferghana Valley was known during the Silk Road days. This was a commercial town and the seat of the prince of the
Ferghana Valley. The caravans used to stop here after trudging through the Tienshan Mountains. They'd stay here for a few days before heading westwards.

Continue to Andijan where we visit Babur Literary Museum and the town.
On our return we drive through Baghe-Shumal (southern gardens) as it was known during the Moghul days a favorite hidout of young Babur. We visit the house of a master in knife-making - Mohiyuddin. Later drive back
to Ferghana via an orchard countryside stopping along the way to make a visit of Shaxrikhon town bazaar.

Dinner and overnight. (B-L-D)

Hotel Asia Ferghana***

March 31 Ferghana - Andjian - Tashkent
Saturday

Early morning transfer to the Andjian aiport to depart by flight to Tashkent (0840/0945 hrs). Check in to our hotel and continue as described in basic tour itinerary below. (B-L-D)

Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan
Preliminary Day-by-Day Itinerary

March 29 Depart U.S.A.
Thursday

Meet our group at New York, JFK this evening by 9:00 PM for flight at 11:55 PM by Turkish Airlines TK12. Alternate departures are available on Turkish Airlines from Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Meals aloft

March 30 Connect in Istanbul
Friday

Arrive Istanbul at 4:45 PM. Connect to TK368 at 11:45 PM.

Meals aloft

March 31 Arrive Tashkent
Saturday

Welcome to Uzbekistan! We arrive in Tashkent at 6:15 AM where we are greeted upon arrival and assisted to Hotel Lotte Tashkent for immediate occupancy.

The morning is at leisure to recover from jet lag. In the afternoon enjoy a sightseeing tour of Tashkent. We begin our visit in the old city, the real hub of Old Tashkent. Though very little is left as far the real face of Tashkent is concerned, our guide will make you feel the way it was! See Hast Imam complex, a set of religious buildings that were recently reconstructed with traditional motifs and styles. We see Barak Khana Seminary, which has served as the seat of the grand mufti since the Soviet days. We then proceed to Tilla Shaikh Mosque and archives that houses some old manuscripts and copies of the Holy Quran. This rare collection, revered by the population, contains the oldest copy of the Quran written by Caliph Usman. Then at Chosu Bazaar, we step into the shoes of the traders of the caravans off loading the goods from distant lands. From there we see the 16th century Kukeldesh Madrassah facing the caravan route. Our next visit is Akbar’s House, a traditional potter’s family home, where the artisans are doing some marvelous designing with old pottery concepts. Next visit the Museum of Applied Arts. It was the house of a Russian commissioner who constructed the building in the Central Asian style. See the Abulkassim Madrassah. Our day ends with a visit to Navoi Theater. Much of the interior is patterned after the famous Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, but this building was created at the end of WW2 as a Stalinist era monument built by prisoners of war. We’ll see a performance (subject to scheduling). End the day with refreshments of local cuisine in one of Tashkent’s best restaurants. Overnight Tashkent. (B-L-D)

Lotte Hotel Tashkent Palace****

April 1 Tashkent - Samarkand
Sunday

In the morning we visit the Fine Arts Museum and then begin our journey of 4-1/2 hours (210 miles) along the Silk Road to Samarkand. We make short stops en route including a picnic stop on the pass near Jizzak, which offers a wide view of the valley. This huge high steppe must have been seen by all the invading armies from the time of Alexander the Great and the Mongol armies, through the time of Tamerlane and during the wanderings of Babur the Great after his loss of Samarkand. Today it is a silent passage to Zarafshan Valley.

We arrive at the entrance of Samarkand marked with huge mud mounds that were generations of buildings situated on the site of ancient Afrosiab. Our hotel is the Hotel Malika Prime. Visit Hunarmand Artisans Workshops including Kunhil Papermakers factory. After some relaxation we make a visit to Registan Square to see the sunset over the beautiful madrassahs. Overnight in Samarkand. (B-L-D)

Hotel Malika Prime***
or Hotel Sultan - Boutique***

April 2 Samarkand
Monday

Our day begins with a visit to three madrassahs that make up Registan Square. As one can imagine, this is one of the most superb squares of the world. The complex of buildings served as schools of theology, astronomy, mathematics and related sciences. After acquiring a huge empire for himself, Tamerlane (Timur) started planning for a ‘capital of the world’. This controversial and intriguing personality employed architects and designers from Isfahan, Iran, and his creations paved the way for the cultural aspect of an empire. This was the time when grand buildings were constructed, gardens were laid out and commerce was allowed to flourish. This legacy continued through generations of princes and kings of the Timurid Dynasty. No doubt Samarkand was once great as the major city in a country known as Sogdiana. Alexander must have enjoyed the best climate and surroundings of this spectacular center. But the city also saw the onslaught of Genghis Khan and the rule for generations of the Mongols. Travelers like Marco Polo appreciated the beauty of the city, and the imperial Russians always thought Samarkand to be their capital of the eastern boundaries. We visit Bibi Khanum’s tomb (wife of Tamerlane); the Juma Mosque built under her supervision was presented to Tamerlane as a gift for his successful campaigns. There is a wonderful market close to the mosque, and we have the opportunity today to see the local folks at the bazaar. Later proceed to Shahi Zinda, the royal cemetery where the members of Tamerlane’s family are buried. Shahi Zinda necropolis is the only place where one can see the best tile and majolicas in all of Central Asia. This afternoon we visit Afrosiab Museum to see the murals taken from a wealthy man’s quarters in the site nearby. Later proceed to the memorable Ulugbek’s Observatory. The grandson of Tamerlane and the later king, Ulug Bek (Great Ruler) was best known for his astronomical works, and he is acclaimed the world over as one of the greatest astronomers ever. We come to the highlight of our visit to Samarkand - the mausoleum of Tamerlane – Gur Emir. This beautiful edifice representing the best of Central Asian architecture is a sight to behold. Visit an afghan carpet center of display and workshop. As a farewell this evening, we are entertained with a local folkloric performance while we dine at an old caravanserai near the masters-at-work center. Overnight in Samarkand. (B-L-D)

Hotel Malika Prime***
or Hotel Sultan - Boutique***

April 3 Samarkand
Tuesday Shakre Sabz - Bukhara

We mark this day traveling to Bukhara, approximately 270 miles, taking about 7-1/2 hours. We travel through Takhta Karcha pass (5,190 feet), which Tamerlane used during his journeys to his birthplace Shakre Sabz (Shahrisabz), which means Green City in Persian. Earlier it was known as Kesh meaning “heart pleasing”. We visit the ruins of Ak Saray Palace (White Palace). When Don Clavigo, the Spanish ambassador to the court of Tamerlane, visited Ak Saray, he recorded the greatness of the palace. You can judge for yourself as you view the blue, white and gold façade, the building’s only remaining mark. Later visit Dorus Tilavat seminary, the Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Dorus Saidat, Tamerlane’s crypt (never used), the Friday Mosque and a small rug maker’s house. After a simple lunch we continue to Bukhara via Karshi through Kizilkum desert. Arrive in the late afternoon and settle into the comfortable Hotel Zargaron to begin a three-night sojourn. Overnight in Bukhara. (B-L-D)

Hotel Zargaron Plaza ****
or Hotel Asia**** or Omar Khayyam ****

April 4 Bukhara
Wednesday

The city still retains the spirit of the old caravan days. Bukhara was the capital of once powerful Bukhara Khanate ruled by generations of the Sheybanid and Mangit clans of the later Uzbeks. It was an important seat of power when the Turkic tribes at the time of Arab invasion, eyed it as the beginning of their campaigns into the heartland of Central Asia. The ancient history of Bukhara goes back over two thousand years to the Persian Achaemenian times to 6th century BC when it was a settlement near the Oxus river. With a passage of time, the last of the Sassanian (Iranian) rulers were in turn replaced by the invading Arabs. Bukhara was then a titular state ruled by Turkic Bukhara Khudat. His death at the hands of the Arabs marks the beginning of the spread of Islam in Central Asia. An entire conversion took place, and the old ruling classes found themselves under new religion. New dynasties appeared in Bukhara. The Samanids were in fact the last remnants of Sassanids (the last pre-Islamic Persians) in this part, but became a powerful local dynasty. Successive ruling dynasties continued with the last of the khanates appearing on the map of Central Asia. The late 19th century saw the beginning of the changing fortunes when the Great Game players (Britain and Russia) eyed Bukhara as a great piece of cake. Imperial Russians and the British started their overtures to the last of the khans who were played as pawns in the wake of powerful foes. However it was almost over with the advent of Bolsheviks when the communists overtook the booty.
We shall start our tour with a visit to Lyabikhauz – the pond, madrassah Devanbegi, the Khanaga, Mogaki Attari Mosque, the cupolas or the covered bazaars, the madrassahs of Ulugbek and Aziz Khan. Later walk to Poi Kalon minaret and mosque, the oldest part of which dates back to 9th/10th AD. We also see the living madrassah of Miri Arab, and later in the afternoon we visit Arg Fortress, Balakhauz Mosque, the Mausoleum of Ismail Samanid. We won’t forget Chasma Ayub (Job’s spring), where it is said the Prophet Job struck his staff into the ground and created a well. This evening we are entertained by a local folklore ensemble in a madrassah. Overnight in Bukhara. (B-L-D)

Hotel Zargaron Plaza ****
or Hotel Asia**** or Omar Khayyam ****

April 5 Bukhara
Thursday Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa

This is another nice day to visit the outskirts of Bukhara. In the morning we have an excursion to Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa, the summer palace of the last emir of Bukhara. The Russian interior of the building holds a collections of artifacts including a large display of Suzzanne embroidery masterpieces. Later on visit the shrine of Sufi Saint Bakhauddin Nakshbandi and the site of the Sheybanid kings buried nearby. Visit Gijdurvan to see the house of master Alisher who is a third generation traditional potter.

This afternoon there is free time to explore the covered bazaars of Bukhara. In the evening we dine at a local madrassah with light classical music. Overnight in Bukhara. (B-L-D)

Hotel Zargaron Plaza ****
or Hotel Asia**** or Omar Khayyam ****

April 6 Bukhara - Khiva
Friday

Today we make the 280 mile, 8 hour drive to Khiva. We pass through the heart of Kizilkum desert. Enjoy a picnic stop in a nice setting. In the afternoon we view the vast expanse of Amudarya (Oxus river) flowing to its slow death in the desert further north. There is very little water left to the dying Aral Sea; the disaster at the hands of mankind is now a much debated subject of the region. We arrive at Khiva in the late afternoon and settle into Hotel Asia Khiva. Time permitting, make short walk to the walled city. Overnight in Khiva. (B-L-D)

Hotel Asia Khiva***
or Hotel Malika Khivaek***1/2

April 7 Khiva
Saturday

Another of the last khanates, Khiva, after having survived earlier attempts of the imperial Russian invasion, finally succumbed to great pressure that marked the end of the ruling dynasties. Khiva was part of the great Khorezmian Empire dating back to 6th B.C. when it was a subject nation to the Achaemenian (Persian) rulers. Herodotus called this area in today’s western Uzbekistan and northern Turkmenistan a “country of a thousand fortresses”. Down through the time of the Sassanians, Persians continued to hold their last territories until the end of 7th century AD when they were replaced by the invading Arabs. Today Khiva stands as a silent witness to its past – the last of the living cities.

In Khiva, we visit the Ichan Kala, Kalta minor (half minaret), Kunya Arg, and madrassah Rakhimkhon, the workshops for the development of local handicrafts under the supervision of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Pakhlavan Makhmud mausoleum, Islam Khodja minaret and museum. Enjoy a visit to Hunarmand workshops where we will see carpet making, Suzzanne Embroidery, silk weaving and wood carvings. Enjoy lunch followed by the Friday Mosque with its numerous pillars, Tashauli harem and the Caravan Bazaar. Overnight in Khiva. (B-L-D)

Hotel Asia Khiva***
or Hotel Malika Khivaek***1/2

April 8 Khiva -Tashauz
Sunday Kunya Urgench
Tashauz - Ashgabat

This morning we drive 2 hours, 50 miles to the Turkmen border point, and after the border formalities, continue to Tashauz (Dashgavouz). Welcome to Turkmenistan! From there we make an excursion to Kunya Urgench – the first capital of Khorezm, to see pre- and post-Mongol period monuments. Kunya Urgench was once a flourishing court of the famous Khorezmian rulers. It was a hub of commerce and learning, where great scientists, mathematicians and musicians prospered under the patronage of state. The Mamunid dynasty is associated with Al Buruni (scholar and astronomer), Ferdosi (Persian poet of national epic Shah-nameh), Avicenna (physician) and Al-Khwarizmi (inventor of algebra). The great Khorezmian empire thrived and extended up to the Tienshan range until it was destroyed by the Mongols. Through arrogance and political maneuvering by its leaders, Khorezm felt the wrath of the Mongol armies under Genghis Khan in the 14th century who destroyed everything in their way. We visit the mausoleum of Turabek Khanym, Il Arsalan’s tomb, Kutleg Temir minaret, Sultan Tekesh mausoleum, Caravan Sarai and the graveyard. Later visit Najmuddin Kubra’s shrine and the museum. Return to Tashauz in time for the short flight to Ashgabat known as the “City of White” for its abundance of white marble buildings. On arrival transfer to Hotel Yuldiz for a four night stay. Overnight in Ashgabat. (B-L-D)

Hotel Yuldiz*****

April 9 Ashgabat - Bogurdak
Monday Ashgabat

Our focus today is an insight into Turkmen nomadic culture with an excursion deeper into the Karakum Desert. Here we visit the settlement of Bogurdak Village to see everyday life - the milking of a camel, the bread makers, the tasting of local food and camel milk, the carpet weavers - all great photogenic moments. Return to Ashgabat in the late afternoon. Visit a local Akhal Tekke Stud farm, which is located on the outskirts of Ashgabat. Have dinner in the evening at one of the best restaurants in the town. Overnight in Ashgabat. (B-L-D)

Hotel Yuldiz*****

April 10 Ashgabat - Mary
Tuesday Ashgabat

Today we are off for a day trip to “history in the dust”. We travel to Mary by flight to reach the famous archaeological site of Merv (Margush in Persian). It dates back to 6th century BC when it was part of the Achaemenian Empire. Then came the Macedonian army under Alexander the Great to assert their claim over the lost provinces of the Persian Empire. Later it fell under successive rulers with the Sassanians being the last ones in the 7th century AD, until Arabs destroyed their kingdom paving a way for a city that then was known in the Arab world as ‘uroos-ul-bilad’, the mother of the cities.

Merv was a great center of commerce on the Silk Road with the Parthian Empire controlling the trade with the west, making them the middle man between the Romans and the Chinese. Merv prospered until the invasion of Genghis Khan’s army who completely destroyed the city and put its more than a million souls to the sword. The destruction was on such a mammoth scale that for decades no one would dare set foot in the destroyed town. Today we visit the place, which is divided into many smaller sites like Sultan Kala, Gaiyur Kala, Erk Kala and Kys Kala. Try to imagine the archaeological myth that was the great city of Merv. Visit a local artist’s house before we return to Mary to see the archaeological and ethnological museum. We will be on time for the return flight to Ashgabat where we overnight. (B-L-D)

Hotel Yuldiz*****

April 11 Ashgabat - Nisa
Wednesday Ashgabat

A full day of activities begins with a visit to the famous market at Tolkuchka Bazaar where we see a huge congregation of the multi-ethnic population. In a world of its own we find a great diversity of people coming together for buying and selling. This is a sight that a photo enthusiast would envy and a carpet buyer would excel. The carpet section is full of ethnic Tekes, Saryks, Yomuds and many others selling their tribal carpets in designs that have made their names synonymous to carpets.

Following we visit the History Museum to see its wonderful collection of objects from all over Turkmenistan. The wonderful collection of carved ivory rythons from the Nisa site is well worth seeing. We shall then proceed to the archaeological site of Nisa. It was the winter capital of the Parthians and also the burial place of some of their kings. It dates back to the 1st century BC and was continually inhabited until the destruction by the rival invading armies. Overnight in Ashgabat. (B-L-D)

Hotel Yuldiz*****

April 12 Ashgabat - Istanbul
Thursday U.S.A.

Early this morning we transfer to the Ashgabat airport for our flight by Turkish Air TK323 departing at 3:10 AM to Istanbul. Arrive Istanbul at 5:25 AM and connect to Turkish Airlines TK003 departing at 6:45 AM. Arrive New York at 10:45 AM the same day. Welcome home!

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.
Better yet, continue with us on the Mashad & Northwest Iran tour, April 12-24, 2018

 

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

 

 

 


 
 

 

 

© 2017 Travel Concepts International, Inc. CST 2005743-40

Travel Concepts International, Inc.
Cultural Tours to Better Understand the World and Its People

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Voicemail/Tollfree in U.S.A. 1-800-762-4216
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wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.SeriousTraveler.com