Kazakhstan was the land of the Saka and many other famous tribes – home of many glorious cities and nomadic empires in the past, as well as the scene of bloody and devastating wars. From its early beginnings, this large land in the middle of Eurasia lay at the junction of Silk Roads, and housed a multitude of cultures both sedentary and nomadic. By the 15th century the first khanates appeared, hinting at the single political entity that the country would become. Kazakhstan presents a majestic landscape - high mountains, green valleys, lake-dotted steppe, western deserts and remote underground mosques... and affluent cities. Join us on a varied and unique journey - passing through the lands of the ancient residents of Kazakhstan, and tour wild steppes where nomads lived in harmony with nature.
- Discover the blue tiled wonder of the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
- View the thousands of petroglyphs decorating the rocks at Tamgaly from the Bronze and Iron Ages
- Explore the dead city of Sauran, a former hub of the Silk Road which now stands alone amidst the Kazakh Steppe
- Rock Art
- Historic Churches
- Great Cities
- Cultural Excursion
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We fly from London.
We arrive in Almaty and after a rest, we take an excursion out to the Sakae necropolis at Boralday before visiting Panfilov Park, its Soviet war memorial and the extraordinary wooden cathedral built in 1907.
We spend the morning visiting the necropolis of tumuli at Altyn-Emel National Park. In the afternoon we go on to Tamgaly-Tas (the name means literally ‘written rocks’) an open-air Buddhist sanctuary dating from the 14th century with a series of petroglyph depictions of the Buddha.
We enjoy a morning in the mountains. We take the cable car up to Chimbulak to admire the Alpine scenery and Almaty Lake. Afterwards we return to Almaty to visit the Central State Museum.
We spend the morning at Tamgaly, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The splendid rock-art here comprises 5000 petroglyphs including Bronze and Iron Age depictions as well as later images. We drive on to distant Taraz.
In the morning we travel to the ruins at Akyrtas, perhaps the summer palace of the Karluk Khans. In the afternoon we visit 2,000 year old Taraz its reconstructed caravanserai and the City Museum.
We take a look at the evocative 12th century Aysha Bibi mausoleum before heading on to Shymkent where we see the museum. We also visit Akyrtas Karluk and Aysha-Bibi mausoleum.
We spend the day in Otrar. Once one of the great cities of the Silk Road the great mounds of the dead city stretch over a considerable area. Our Guide Lecturer is actively excavating here and will give us a special tour of the site and his work.
We spend all day in Turkistan city, a wealthy Silk Road settlement. We visit the museum and the huge blue-domed mausoleum of the 11th century Sheikh Khoja Akhmet Yassawi.
We explore the remains of Sauran this morning. We pass through its still standing adobe walls to visit the ruins within. We move on to Sygnac. Founded in the 4th century AD, it was destroyed by the Mongols, vanishing into the dunes in the 17th century.
After a scenic morning drive we enjoy lunch at Baikonur, the town that serves the great Cosmodrome. We also visit the museum of space exploration.
We briefly visit Russia by entering the Cosmodrome to explore the archaeology of space travel. An exciting opportunity to explore the beginnings of space travel. We view preserved Soyuz rockets, the Buran shuttle orbiter and laboratories.
We fly from Kyzylorda to Astana, the modern capital of Kazakhstan. We stroll around some of the city monuments in the afternoon.
We spend a full day exploring Astana. Among the many fascinating sites here, we see the galleries of the National Museum, the Bai Terek Observation Tower, the Hezret Sultan Mosque and the Pyramid (Palace of Peace and Harmony).
Enjoy some free time this morning before proceeding to the airport for our afternoon flight home.
We arrive in the UK.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
3 nights in Almaty
2 nights in Taraz
1 night in Shymkent
2 nights in Turkistan
2 nights in Kyzylorda
1 night in Baikonur city
2 nights in Astana
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