Architectural Marvels, Rich Traditions
Uzbekistan, a vital stop on the Silk Road, is like a page torn straight from One Thousand and One Nights. The shadows of soaring minarets are the backdrop for magical flying carpets zipping through the air, and the setting for a unique Ker & Downey journey through the country’s notable sites.
Your journey starts in the capital of Tashkent where history remains quite visible, despite the city zooming fast into the future. Explore with your private guide to uncover the city’s wonders.
The next stop in your Silk Road-style journey to Uzbekistan is Samarkand, once a global crossroads where markets spilled over with fragrant spices and silk. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the allure of Registan Square, a sprawling space where traders gathered so long ago. Samarkand flourished in the 14th and 15th centuries under Timur’s rule. His architectural legacy is seen in the geometric patterns, bright colors, and detailed tile work. Alexander the Great once proclaimed, “All I have heard about the beauty of this city is true, it is just much more beautiful in reality.” Timur’s style was so coveted that it has been replicated throughout his vast empire stretching from Turkey to China.
Bukhara is the next Uzbek city you will explore, and it remains a treasure of UNESCO-listed sites. The Poi-Kalon Ensemble features grand portals and balconies and one of the greatest minarets in Central Asia, decorated with beautiful patterns. Domed mosques and 17th-century madrasahs are elegant reminders that this was once a center of trade, culture, astronomy, philosophy, mathematics, and religious studies.
Textiles are an integral part of the Uzbek life, and they brighten up even the most modest dwellings. Sip on a cup of tea at the Lyabi Khaus Complex, the traditional heart of the city, where you will see artisans selling their timeless handicrafts. Dancers twirl and whirl in costume in the evening hours.
Even outside its cities, Uzbekistan is engaging. On your way to Khiva, you will stop at a nomadic yurt tent in the Kyzlkum Desert to meet the family who lives there.
No matter where you travel to in Uzbekistan, there are reminders that this was once a thriving Silk Road hub. Caravanserais speak to that rich history. In Khiva, zig-zag among the 200 wooden pillars of Juma Mosque, walk through the preserved Old City, count the number of blue tiles in the Kalta Minor, and immerse yourself into Khiva’s glorious past.
Spend your final day discovering more of Tashkent’s architectural treasures and enjoy a vibrant farewell dinner. Scheherazade’s nightly tales of genies, far-away lands, and flying carpets will colorfully come to life on our journey to Uzbekistan.