Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have long been the crossroads of civilisations and a vital link in the Silk Road. This 17-day tour explores the rich tapestry of history and cultures of this region, from the excellent archaeological sites and cities of the Achaemenids, Persians and Parthians, to the palaces, mosques and mausoleums of the emirs and Tamerlane’s capital, Samarkand. The tour takes you beyond these great civilisations of the past, allowing you to
discover the distinctive culture of the ‘Stans’, from their traditional arts and crafts to the thriving cities of Central Asia.
The city walls of Khiva’s old town and its mosques, minarets and madrassas
Fine Central Asian architecture and design at the World Heritage-listed site of Kunya Urgench
The ruins of ancient Parthian kings dating from the 3rd century BC, at Nisa near Ashgabat
The oasis city of Merv, with its outstanding archaeological sites from the Sassanid and Achaemenid periods
Bukhara and the Samanid monuments of the last Persian dynasty to rule Central Asia
Tamerlane’s Samarkand and Shahrisabz, the heart of the Silk Road
Days 1–3: Arrive in Tashkent and tour the Uzbek capital; fly to Khiva and explore the old town.
Day 4: Drive to Nukus and visit the Savitsky Collection.
Days 5–6: Cross into Turkmenistan and visit Kunya Urgench; fly to Ashgabat and visit the carpet museum and the ruins at Nisa.
Days 7–8: Fly to Mary and visit the oasis city at Merv.
Days 9–12: Return to Uzbekistan, and explore Bukhara, Samanid sites, mosques and palaces.
Days 13–15: Drive to Shahrisabz and see Tamerlane’s city of Samarkand.
Days 16–17: Return to Tashkent for flights home.
Start & Finish
The tour begins and ends at our hotel in Tashkent. Korean Airlines offers the best connections into Tashkent from most Australian cities. A stopover in Seoul is required in each direction. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
A detailed itinerary for this tour will be available in the coming weeks. To receive a copy of the published itinerary once available, please register your interest below and we will be sure to email you a copy. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 02 9235 0023.
An historian specialising in the religion and art of the Middle East and North Africa, having spent several years in Arabia.
Chris Bradley is a cultural historian specialising in the religion and art of the Middle East and North Africa. After many years of leading tours he has built up an enviable knowledge and personal photographic library that he uses to enhance the Academy Travel tours that he leads to Ethiopia, Iran and Central Asia.
Chris gained an honours degree at the University of Liverpool and spent several years working in Arabia, which gave him a good foundation for understanding the Middle East in general. The Arabic that he learnt through the 1970s proved invaluable for his own travels throughout the Middle East whilst researching, writing and photographing more than a dozen guidebooks as well as countless travel articles. For 30 years he has supplied international picture libraries with photographs that are used worldwide in newspapers, magazines, websites and museums, including the V&A and British Museum in London. This experience also led to his filming and producing credits on many television documentaries for the BBC and National Geographic TV.
Chris was invited by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation to analyse sustainable tourism development, initially for Libya and later Egypt. His interest in Islamic and early Christian art is an underlying theme for many of his illustrated talks and lectures for the Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and around the world. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and regularly gives lectures at their various locations. His study days on Islamic Art, The Silk Road, Roman and Islamic Art of North Africa are always over-subscribed.
In the 40 years since Chris started leading group tours in the Middle East he has worked in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Oman, Yemen, Sudan, Morocco and Tunisia. This experience has allowed him to design and develop his own itineraries to Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. His tours aim, where possible, to go beyond the obvious major sights and search for the hidden gems.
We asked Chris, what do you enjoy about tour leading?
“Because of the scope of my interests I enjoy making connections between countries and religions that are often not obvious and I am always searching for links along the lines of ‘where did that idea come from?’ Working with each country’s national guides (many of whom are now personal friends), I love to expand every aspect of the subjects that we cover for the groups, which could be the Queen of Sheba, Zoroastrianism or Shia Islam.”
Hotels on this tour vary from five star to simple three-star hotels according to what is available, and there is an overnight stop in a very simple two-star hotel. Some hotels are large constructions and lack any distinctive atmosphere. Others are small and simple, but well located. Please also note that the overall quality and service standards in the hotels are not necessarily at the same level as other countries. It is not unusual for hotels to change before the departure date, so we have listed a couple of choices in some cities.
Tashkent, Lotte City Tashkent Palace (2 nights)
Khiva, Orient Star (2 nights)
Nukus, Jipek Joli (1 night)
Ashgabat, Yyldyz Hotel (2 nights)
Mary, Mary Hotel (2 nights)
Bukhara, Asia Bukhara Hotel (4 nights)
Samarkand, Registan Plaza Hotel (2 nights)
Hotels may be subject to change (to another hotel of equivalent quality). Any changes will be advised to all clients booked on the tour.
What is included in the tour price?
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity