The Silk Road

Bayterek tower Astana
Bayterek tower Astana
Ancient Phaestos
Ancient Phaestos
Almaty City
Almaty City
Western gate Ata Darvoza
Western gate Ata Darvoza
Western gate Ata Darvoza
Western gate Ata Darvoza
View of a Khazrat Imom complex in Tashkent Uzbekistan
View of a Khazrat Imom complex in Tashkent Uzbekistan
The Mausoleum of  Seljuk ruler Ahmad Sanjar
The Mausoleum of Seljuk ruler Ahmad Sanjar
The fountain complex in the park
The fountain complex in the park
Palace of Independence Astana
Palace of Independence Astana

This tour is operated by Archaeological Tours.

There is a reason why the Silk Road features on many ‘trip of a lifetime’ lists. Join us on an awe-inspiring journey following parts of the legendary Silk Road through Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. A road much traveled by merchants in antiquity, every inch of it is concentrated with fascinating tales. This great artery once linked the major trading centers of Persia, the Middle East and Europe. It not only conveyed much-desired exotic products to far away destinations, but also cultural traits and ideas. Join us as we trace the way the caravans took their long trips through a kaleidoscope of landscapes. Besides some truly amazing archaeology, we also experience the modern-day cultures of these captivating countries, and wander through countless cities steeped in history.

  • Turkmenistan – the more mysterious and less explored of Central Asia’s ‘stans is home to mesmerising Merv and the haunting Karakum Desert
  • Uzbekistan – Central Asia’s showstopper – discover a cradle of culture across stand-out cities including Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva

Please note that the price of this tour does not include flights to and from the UK. Of course, we are very happy to arrange international flights from any UK airport, just give us a call and one of our expert customer care team will be able to assist you.

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We arrive in Turkmenistan and transfer to our hotel, where the evening will be spent at leisure.

Day 2

We spend the morning at rest, in preparation for the long and rewarding journey ahead of us. Following an opening lecture on the incredible Silk Road, we embark upon an afternoon tour of Ashgabat. The capital is home to lavish marble palaces, gleaming gold domes and vast expanses of beautifully manicured parkland.

Day 3

Our day begins at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Parthian Fortresses of Nisa. We continue to Anau, where traces of habitation date back to the 4th millennium BC. We return to Ashgabat to visit the captivating Archaeological Museum this afternoon.

Day 4

We spend our Sunday morning at Ashgabat’s oriental bazaar, Altyn Asyr, which is known for being one of the largest markets in Central Asia. There is a tall clock tower at its heart and the extensive market sells an impressive range of goods, from Turkmen carpets to local handicrafts. We fly to Merv this afternoon where we check into our hotel before settling down for dinner.

Day 5

We visit the archaeological site of Gonur Depe this morning. The largest ruins in the Morghab delta region can be found here; with over 150 settlements dating to the early Bronze Age. We continue to the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum this afternoon.

Day 6

We tour a collection of sites in the fascinating ancient city of Merv today. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most important cities along the Silk Road. We explore the Tomb of Sultan Sanjar and the Erk-Kala fortress, before flying to Ashgabat later in the afternoon.

Day 7

We catch a morning flight to Da┼čoguz and make our way to the monument-rich town of Konye-Urgench, which was once the center of the Islamic world. We also visit the captivating Khanym Mausoleum, the Najmuddin Kubra mausoleum and also the Kutlug Timur Minaret. Then we continue on to Nukus and cross the border into Uzbekistan.

Day 8

We discover one of the best collections of Soviet art in the world at the Savitsky Gallery this morning. After our visit, we travel to the ‘museum city’ of Khiva.

Day 9

Our morning is spent exploring Old Khiva, which was the first site in Uzbekistan to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After visits to Khiva Palace and the carved wooden columns of the Djuma Mosque, we enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Day 10

We rise early today and journey to Ayaz Kala. The towering mud-brick walls of the three fortresses found here are truly a sight to behold, rising dramatically from the surrounding plains.

Day 11

We fly to Bukhara, ready for a day spent amongst the museums and mosques of the Ark Citadel. Following visits to Samanid Mausoleum, Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum and Kalyan Minaret and Mosque, we also visit the Lyab-I Hauz Fountain. We end the day by browsing through Bukhara’s famous array of bazaars, which sell a variety of amazing items from handmade tablecloths decorated with intricate embroidery and handicrafts

Day 12

We spend the morning at the ruined town of Paikent. In its heyday, it was home to a citadel with a Zoroastrian fire temple and several residential quarters. On our return to Bukhara, we stop at the memorial complex of Chor-Bakr. We will also visit the Tomb of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband.

Day 13

Our first stop today is Varaksha, one of the major towns of the Hephthalite civilization, and the final retreat for local kings when the Arab armies advanced. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to see more of Bukhara, a perfect opportunity to shop in the market. This evening we will take in a show of ancient costumes before dinner.

Day 14

We travel to Samarkand, stopping at Shahrisabz, known as one of the most ancient cities along the trade routes of Central Asia. The imposing grand ruin of the entrance arch to the Ak Sarai is a particular highlight. We arrive in Samarkand – an historic town founded in the 7th century BCE and revered for its mosques and monuments – later in the evening and transfer to our hotel.

Day 15

We begin the first of three days in Samarkand, at the crossroads of many world cultures. We tour Afrasiab Museum of Samarkand to learn more about the city. We also visit the Ulugh-Beg observatory, considered one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world.

Day 16

We continue our exploration of Samarkand at the Bibi-Khanum mosque and Sha-i-Zhinda necropolis. The afternoon is free for you to continue exploring independently.

Day 17

We enjoy a final morning in Samarkand and visit its main attraction: Registan Square, surrounded by its three madrassah. We continue by train to Tashkent.

Day 18

Enjoy a full day at your leisure to relax at the hotel and unwind before tomorrow’s tours.

Day 19

We spend the whole day in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital. The Barak-Khan Madrassah here will immediately catch any visitor’s eye. Its unique construction is different from the traditional buildings of this type. We end the day at the Archaeological Museum Institute of Restoration.

Day 20

We transfer to the airport for our flights home or onward travel.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels

Hotel Info

Oguzkent Hotel, Ashgabat

You’ll be welcomed into this stunning hotel, with a white marble façade and mirrored glass finishes. This modern hotel, only completed in 2011, stands out as a luxury monument against the city of Ashgabat and its historical sites. The panoramic views are breath-taking from the upper floors and you can enjoy breakfast on the patio in the cool morning air.

Mary Hotel, MervMary-Hotel-Turkmenistan

The Mary Hotel is lavishly decorated with spacious rooms and well-equipped amenities. The ornate marble columns and gilt mirrors reflect the grandeur of this hotel. The hotel is perfectly located and for an after-dinner stroll in the city, watch the sunset over stunning ancient buildings and, after dark, all the buildings spectacularly light up.

Malika Kheyvak, KhivaMalika-Kheyvak

In this historical fortress of Khiva is nestled the Malika Kheyvak Hotel. This traditional white washed building boasts welcoming hospitality where the staff make this the perfect place to stay in Khiva. The traditional hotel has a minimalist style but doesn’t lack any of the necessary amenities, allowing you to relax after a day’s exploring while enjoying an authentic stay.

Jipek Joli Hotel, Nukusjipek

In the perfect location, this hotel is near the Bazaar market & river. The rooms are a good size and the excellent WiFi allows you to keep your friends & family back home updated with your latest travel pictures. After spending the day in the desert come back for a fresh shower and a clean and crisp room.

Omar Khayyam Hotel, Bukharaomar

A modern oasis in the historic heart of Bukhara, this hotel is situated in walking distance from the ancient monuments. The comfortable rooms are clean and decorated in a traditional style for a relaxing stay. Most rooms overlook the hotel’s courtyard, where you are able to enjoy your breakfast in the mornings.

Sultan Boutique Hotel

This building is steeped in Singaporean culture and heritage. The Sultan Boutique hotel has undergone a contemporary, yet, detailed conservation project and is now a spectacular tribute to Singapore’s rich and colorful past. The rooms are spacious and are supplied with very comfortable amenities, with no two rooms alike, it’s a wonderfully unique experience staying in this hotel.

Hyatt Regency, Tashkent

Arrive at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, a top-class hotel complex, complete with pool & spa, a selection of restaurants and most importantly bright and comfortable rooms. After days spent exploring relax and put your feet up in this calm and tranquil hotel. The hotel, decorated in a modern style, is in keeping with the local culture with locally-inspired artwork on the walls and spectacular views from the top floor balcony, where you can wake up to breakfast overlooking the city.

Travel Information

Joining the Tour

There are a few options for joining the tour and we’ll be happy to help or book your international flights for you*

  1. You can choose to join group flights departing from London (connecting flights & transfers available).
  2. You can choose to book your flight directly to your final destination. You can either meet the group flight at the airport arrivals hall or the hotel (transfers available).
  3. You can book your flights on your own, all we ask that you forward your flight details to us as soon as possible after booking.

Connecting flights, additional travel arrangements, and accommodation before or after the tour available on request, for further information just call our office. (*Additional cost applies.)

Passport & Visa Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

Enquire now

Have a question or just want to find out more?

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2018 Tour Details

Tue 17th April - Sun 6th May



without flights

sgl supp: £920


Led By: Prof Craig G.R. Benjamin

Guide Lecturer

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