If any monuments could be said to epitomize the distant splendour of the Silk Road, it’s the domed mosques, tombs and madrasas of Uzbekistan. An ancient cultural crucible between the Amu-Darya (Oxus) and Syr-Darya rivers, this former Soviet republic holds three of the world’s oldest cities – Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva – whose walled centres are best described as ‘open-air museums’, with sights spanning five millennia.
Few visitors venture further than the region’s major hubs, but there is ample incentive to do so. The silk workshops of the fabled Fergana Valley, the forgotten fortresses of the Khorezm Delta region, and nomadic camel herders camps on the fringes of the mighty Kyzl Kum desert provide vivid experiences of ways of life buried for decades under the mantle of Soviet rule.
Suggested tours to Uzbekistan
Great Cities of the Silk Road
Tailor-made Tour 12 days from £2825 per person
To travellers crossing the great deserts of Central Asia, the splendid turquoise domes and mosaic-tiled facades of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva must have seemed like visions of heaven. They’re no less impressive today, having been painstakingly resto…
Ultimate Silk Road
Tailor-made Tour 28 days from £7500 per person
For anyone hooked on the romance of the ancient Silk Road, this epic, month-long tour has it all. You get to experience the full gamut of exotic landscapes explored by Sven Hedin and Aurel Stein, and visit all the legendary bazaar cities that once fo…
Group Tour 11 days from £1995 per person
Join TransIndus for an escorted Group Tour to Uzbekistan, a country whose cultural legacy spans more than three millennia. Marvel at the emerald, lapis blue and wax-yellow patterns adorning Samarkand’s Registan Square – one of the great wonders of th…
Silk Road Explorer: Turkmen and Uzbek
Tailor-made Tour 15 days from £3995 per person
Combining the highlights of Uzbekistan with those of neighbouring Turkmenistan, this itinerary is our recommended option for adventurous travellers wishing to experience the ruined cities of Merv and Konye-Urgench, as well as the medieval monuments o…
See why Uzbekistan is one of our top travel destinations this year. Shot by the TransIndus team on a recent recce to the country, this video features the monuments, markets and crafts workshops of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.
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Uzbekistan Places and Experiences
For the majority of visitors, the Uzbek capital serves primarily as a gateway hub, where you can recover from your jet lag in a modern, comfortable hotel and acclimatize with short excursions around the city. Time permitting, we recommend c…
In the early 19th century, the name ‘Khiva’ struck fear into the hearts of Western explorers. The capital of a famously sadistic despots known as the ‘Khans’ (direct descendants of the redoubtable Genghis Khan), it served as the final stagi…
The chimeric monuments of Bukhara were mostly erected by the descendant of Timur, and by the Uzbek Shaybanid dynasty who succeeded them in the 16th century. In recent years, a huge amount of work has been carried out by the Uzbek government…
Thousands of captured artisans from Persia, Iraq and Azerbaijan were put to work by Timur to create his imperial capital, Samarkand. Encircled by snow-lit mountains, the exquisitely symmetrical domes and minarets at its heart became the mar…
One of Central Asia’s most ancient cities, this oasis 50 miles (80km) south of Samarkand, on the far side of the Gissar Mountains, was where Alexander the Great met his wife, Roxana, in the 4th century BC. It is better known, however, as th…
The Khorezm Desert Forts
More than two millennia ago, a sophisticated irrigation system channelled meltwater from the Pamirs into the Amu Darya (Oxus) Delta, a region known as the Khorezm, transforming the desert into a fertile oasis of lakes, reed beds, marshes an…
Margilan and the Fergana Valley
Only a handful of places still manufacture silk in the traditional way, the most famous of them in the Fergana Valley, a day’s drive southeast of Tashkent across the Tian Shan range. Although it’s encircled by snow peaks, the ‘valley’ is a…
The small but most important town in the Kyzylkum, Nurata, was founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC in the foothills of the Naratau Mountains. The remains of the fortress he built can, amazingly, still be seen on the south s…
Sentab & the Nurata Nature Reserve
To the north of Samarkand rise the rocky Nurata Mountains – an imposing granite barrier separating the fertile belt of central Uzbekistan from the sands of the Kyzylkum beyond. The majority of locals in this region are Tajik camel herders a…
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