Uzbekistan tours give travelers the possibility to step away from the mainstream and dive in deep. With beautiful landscapes, many cultural highlights and a history that spans over 6,000 years, the Central Asian state is a place where every stone of every building has a story. Book one of our Uzbekistan tours and discover the irrepressible charm and remote romance of one of the most exciting countries in the world.
Our Uzbekistan tours offer you the chance to explore ancient cities along the famous Silk Road – Bukhara, Samarkand, and many others. You will be enlightened with the rich history, architecture and culture listed by the Unesco World Heritage. Registan square, the heart of ancient Samarkand where little has changed over centuries, in an absolute must-see. In our Uzbekistan cultural tours section, you will also find offers for trips to Ichan Kala, the walled inner town of the city of Khiva. Nukus, the capital of the autonomous Karakalpakstan Republic, awaits you with „one of the best museums in the world“ (The Guardian). A trip to the Aral sea in western Uzbekistan is a lifetime experience for adventure seekers and photographers. Our Uzbekistan tours offer a huge variety of activities: Staying in a nomadic yurt, riding camels in the Kyzylkum desert, exploring traditional hand-made silk production in Marghilan or tasting the most delicious pilaf – the choice is yours.
Oxiana, Tartary, Turkestan, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand: names to produce a frisson. They evoke alluring images of shimmering turquoise domes and exquisite glazed wall tiles, of lost libraries and renowned scholars, of the delicious decadence of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, of gardens, poetry and wine, of the fabulous riches of the Silk Road between China and Christendom.
Less agreeable images are also induced: of Ghengis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane), the most far-reaching conquerors in history; of the tyranny and cruelty of the khans, perpetuating the last redoubts of mediaeval misrule; of the Great Game, the nineteenth-century Cold War between Britain and Russia; of terrain as hostile as the tribesmen and petty tyrants who inhabited its desert and mountain fastnesses; and of a post-Soviet penumbra of Stans of suspect politics and allegiances.
The four cities of the subtitle lie now in Uzbekistan, independent since 1991 but an entity which has its origins in late nineteenth-century Russian imperialism, which agglomerated a number of independent khanates, and whose borders were settled in the 1920s. It lies at the very centre of Central Asia. One of only two double land-locked nations in the world, it has a capital which is a thousand miles north of the Indian Ocean (Afghanistan and Pakistan intervene), 1,400 miles east of the Black Sea and 400 miles from Xinjiang, China’s largely Islamic western province. This is as the crow flies; extremes of topography and climate as well as banditry slowed or terminated the progress of many travellers.
A slave-trading oasis khanate, Khiva was, and remains, the smallest of the three cities. It is perhaps the most intact and homogenous urban ensemble in the Islamic world, with biscuit-coloured brick and blue and turquoise maiolica. In Bukhara, gorgeously adorned architecture spanning a thousand years still rises above a streetscape of indeterminate age. Samarkand has the largest and most resplendently caparisoned historic buildings of all. There are also visits to Shakhrisabz, which has breathtaking remains of Timur’s palace, and to Tashkent, the spacious modern capital with good museums and galleries.
Space is not at a premium in this part of the world. Broad tree-lined boulevards encircle the historic town centres and no expanding girdle of high-rise apartments disfigures the approach. Modernity has made relatively unobtrusive inroads: in one of the few nations on earth which has escaped the countryside scourge of ferroconcrete and breeze block, the whitewashed villages and farmsteads with their awnings of vines would hold few surprises for Tolstoy. Nearly all the women are to some extent in traditional dress, brightly coloured ankle-length dresses, and so are some of the older men. In the wake of economic liberalisation since independence, streets and courtyards are draped with the dazzling hues of carpets and textiles; the glories of the Silk Road in its heyday are not hard to imagine.