Persia & The Silk Road
For thousands of years, the Silk Road was the only link between eastern and western Asia. Its rich history of merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers and nomads who travelled this harsh, long road live in our stories and legends. Begin in Uzbekistan, where minarets soar into the sky, bazaars bustle with commerce and blue-tiled madrasahs sparkle in the sunlight. On to Turkmenistan to see skilled artisans, handcrafted carpets and the power of Darvaza. Finally, Iran, its rich legacy recorded over three millennia. Persepolis and Isfahan are bursting with impressive architecture, elegant mosques and graceful palaces.
Explore the ancient settlement of Afrosiab in Uzbekistan Journey into the ancient core of Samarkand, wandering through an ancient citadel, fortifications, the palace and residential and craft quarters. We'll catch a glimpse of the ancient settlement, founded in the 7th century BC but destroyed by Genghis Khan in the 13th century.
Dine with a family in Shiraz In Shiraz, we are warmly invited to have dinner with a local family. The family will prepare two different kinds of Persian style meals, followed by Persian sweets for dessert. We will see how an Iranian dinner is served and enjoy some traditional music.
Enjoy a visit to a local school in Tehran Visit a local school where the children will be delighted to see you! We will see how the children learn and be taught some Farsi by the kids.
YOUR JOURNEY AT A GLANCE
• Discover the unique architecture and ancient cities in Uzbekistan. • See Turkmenistan, a land of tradition, spirituality and natural beauty. • Delight in Iran's holy cities, beautiful mosques and old towns. • See the magnificent ruins of Persepolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. • A World Journeys host to guide you every step of the way
THE DOOR TO HELL
In the middle of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, we will visit the 'Door to Hell'. Soviet geologists were drilling in 1971 and tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. They decided to burn off the gas, expecting it to burn for just a few days. This hole has now been continually burning for 48 years and the striking golden glow can be seen for miles around Darvaza.
WELCOME BACK OFFER
Travelled on one of our Hosted Journeys before? We would like to offer you a saving of $400 per couple (or $200 per person) if you book this journey.
EARLY BOOKING OFFER
Book and pay your deposit by 31 July 2019, and save $400 per couple (or $200 per person). This offer may be combined with the Welcome Back offer of an additional $200 saving per person if you have travelled on one of our Hosted Journeys before.
This small group hosted journey is guaranteed to depart, regardless of numbers!
Sun 13: Tashkent (D) Arrive Tashkent and transfer to our hotel. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner.
Mon 14: Tashkent (B,L,D) Full day sightseeing in Tashkent, a fascinating ancient city. See an interesting mix of modern office buildings, hotels, and parks alongside crumbling Soviet-style apartment blocks. Visit Barak Khan Madrasah with the world's oldest Uthman Quran (8th century). See the Museum of Fine and Applied Arts, Friendship Between Nations Square and bustling Chorsu Bazaar.
Tue 15: Tashkent > Samarkand (B,L,D) We travel by train to the majestic city of Samarkand, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with monuments of ancient architecture, a heritage of science and art schools and artisans' workshops. See the spectacular Registan with three magnificent madrasahs (educational institutions) and Gur Emir Mausoleum with its bright blue domes.
Wed 16: Samarkand (B,L,D) Visit the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, one of the most impressive historic mosques in Central Asia. Immerse yourself in the colours, scents and sounds of the Siab bazaar with an abundance of produce and handicrafts. Visit the ancient settlement of Afrosiab and the Ulugbek Observatory remains, one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century.
Thu 17: Samarkand > Bukhara (B,L,D) Drive to Bukhara, where we have time to explore the former capital of the powerful Emirate of Bukhara. The most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia, the centre is an architectural preserve, full of madrasahs, minarets, a massive royal fortress and the remnants of a market complex.
Fri 18: Bukhara (B,L,D) Explore this living museum city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, with 140 monuments dotted about the city. We'll see the overall townscape, to capture the real importance of Bukhara. After a day of walking, perhaps visit the Bozordi Kord hammam for an oriental massage, which has been rejuvenating Silk Road travellers since the 14th century.
Sat 19: Bukhara > Khiva (B,L,D) Morning visit to the Summer Palace, the residence of the last emir of Bukhara. Then we drive between the Karakum (black sands) and the Kyzyl-Kum (red sands) deserts to Khiva, stopping on the way to see the Amu Darya River.
Sun 20: Khiva (B,L,D) For centuries the name Khiva has excited the imagination with images of camel caravans loaded with exotic silk and spices, stirring bazaars and glittering madrasahs. However, there was a dark side to the historic route, and Khiva was in fact home to the largest slave market in Central Asia. Today we'll explore Ichon-Qala, within the ancient city walls. Often referred to as a living museum, you'll find an abundance of historic monuments but virtually no residents.
Mon 21: Khiva > Dashaguz (B,L,D) Cross the border into Turkmenistan and visit Konya-Urgench which contains the ruins of the capital of Khwarezm, a part of the Achaemenid Empire. The town's inhabitants deserted it three and a half centuries ago, leaving impressive monuments to its Silk Road past. Stay overnight in Dashaguz.
Tue 22: Dashaguz > Darvaza (B,L,D) Drive across the Karakum desert to see the Darvaza Crater, also known as the 'Door to Hell'. As you stand near the edge of this fiery crater, you will be in awe of its magnificent colour and incredible strength visible from miles away. Stay the night in a tent, enjoying the Turkmen hospitality and kindness and tasting traditional cuisine.
Wed 23: Darvaza > Ashgabat (B,L,D) We return to the 'Door to Hell' for a different perspective during the day. Drive to Ashgabat, visiting a nomadic tribe on the way.
Thu 24: Ashgabat (B,L,D) Explore the 'city of love' with lavish marble palaces, gleaming gold dome and manicured parkland. Recently noted, Ashgabat has the highest number of white marble-clad buildings in the world. Sightseeing includes the Parthian settlement of Nisa, the Ertugrul Gazi Mosque and the National Museum.
Fri 25: Ashgabat > Mary > Merv > Mary (B,L,D) We fly to Mary then travel to Merv to explore this once-prosperous oasis city on the historical Silk Road. Return to Mary for overnight.
Sat 26: Mary > Mashhad (B,L,D) Drive to the border where we complete formalities to enter Iran and drive on to Mashhad.
Sun 27: Mashhad > Shiraz (B,L,D) Today we explore Iran's holiest city, known for its beautiful, ever-growing Haram (shrine complex). Tonight, fly to Shiraz, the city of poets and home to exquisite gardens and mosques.
Mon 28: Shiraz (B,L,D) Stroll through a 19th century garden, Eram Narenjestan, and visit the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque. From the outside, a fairly traditional house of worship but inside it's like stepping into a kaleidoscope. The multitude of stained glass windows turn the inside of the mosque into a riotous wonderland of colour. Visit Vakil Mosque and Vakil Bazaar in the afternoon, wandering through the vaulted brick avenues with courtyards, caravanserais, bath houses, and old shops. You'll find handicrafts, Persian rugs, scarves, spices and antiques. Tonight, enjoy a special dinner with a local family.
Tue 29: Shiraz > Yazd (B,L,D) After breakfast, we visit the Quran Gate, then drive to the Persian ruins of Persepolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 5th century BC. Persepolis was once the richest city on earth. At the heart of the city stood the royal palace, a wonder of gold and silver, ivory, and precious stones. Today, the spectacular ruins are still market by Alexander the Great's fire, three feet of ash covered the floor when it was first excavated and many of the columns are still visibly scarred by flames. We drive to Yazd where we spend two nights.
Wed 30: Yazd (B,L,D) In Yazd, we navigate the winding lanes of this mud-brick old town. See the Dowlat Abad garden, the Towers of Silence, and the Zoroastrian Fire Temple.
Thu 1: Yazd > Isfahan (B,L,D) We drive to Isfahan - a gem of a city with many beautiful boulevards and covered bridges.
Fri 2: Isfahan (B,L,D) Sightseeing of Isfahan including the Imam Square, Ali Qapu and Chehel Sotun Palace (Palace of 40 Pillars) and the bazaar.
Sat 3: Isfahan > Tehran (B,L,D) Drive to Tehran, Iran's most secular city. The impressive museums more than make up for the city's relatively short history. In Tehran we will see a range of international and ethnic restaurants, cafes, and art galleries.
Sun 4: Tehran (B,L,D) A full day tour of Tehran, including the Carpet Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and Golestan Palace. We will also visit a local school. This evening is our farewell dinner.
Mon 5: Tehran (B) After breakfast, transfer to the airport.
• A World Journeys host • Accommodation in 4 star hotels where available (Some hotels may not be of an international 4 star standard but are best available in their area. In Darvaza we will stay one night in pup tents with basic shared facilities) • Transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary • 22 Breakfasts, 21 Lunches and 22 Dinners • Visa authorisation letters (where required) • Gratuities
Departs 13 September 2020
13 September 2020
Booking conditions A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 per person is required, with the balance due 10 June 2020.
As cancellation fees apply, travel insurance is mandatory.
Special visa conditions apply to this journey - please contact World Journeys for further information.
Please refer to World Journeys' terms and conditions and our health and medical requirements. Note: Due to a currency surcharge, pricing has increased from that featured in the printed brochure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 per person is required, with the balance due 10 June 2020. As cancellation fees apply, travel insurance is mandatory. Special visa conditions apply to this journey - please contact World Journeys for further information. Please refer to World Journeys' terms and conditions and our health and medical requirements.
Note: Due to a currency surcharge, pricing has increased from that featured in the printed brochure.
Not included • International airfares
• Items of a personal nature
• Travel insurance (mandatory)
• Optional activities
• International airfares • Items of a personal nature • Travel insurance (mandatory) • Visas • Optional activities
Gratuity In the countries we are visiting, tipping is customary. For a hassle-free journey, tipping is included and will be handled by the World Journeys host for all group activities.
In the countries we are visiting, tipping is customary. For a hassle-free journey, tipping is included and will be handled by the World Journeys host for all group activities.