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Gems of Silk Road, Almaty-Ashgabat, by Private train

Category: Rail Journeys

 

 

 

 

 

New for 2020: The Legendary Silk Road: From Almaty to Ashgabat

 

 

A 14-Day Rail journey from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

 

 

Itinerary: Almaty, Turkestan, Tashkent, Shakhrisabz, Samarkand, Khiva, Bukhara, Merv, Ashgabat

 

 

 

                                 Tour Dates, 2020:

 

Start Date

End Date

Train

Languages

02 April, 2020

15 April, 2020

Almaty – Ashgabat 

EN/ FR

14 April, 2020

27 April, 2020

Ashgabat – Almaty 

EN/ ES

08 Oct, 2020

21 Oct, 2020

Almaty – Ashgabat 

EN/ FR

20 Oct, 2020

02 Nov, 2020

Ashgabat – Almaty 

EN/ ES

 

 

This journey makes you familiar with the manifold cultures along the legendary Silk Road

and numerous localities that made history, among them no less than 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

Stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Tien Shan Mountains, the Central Asian countries

of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

are richly endowed with history and culture, a flavour of which you will sample on this exciting journey

by Private Train

 

 

  

Day-By-Day Program: 

 

Day 1              Arrive in Almaty
You arrive in Almaty and are transferred to your centrally located hotel. Overnight: Rahat Palace Hotel (or similar)

 

Day 2               Almaty, The Father of the Apple
In the morning, you enjoy a sightseeing tour of this green metropolitan city at the foot of the mighty Ile Alatau Mountains. You see the imposing Zenkov Russian Orthodox Cathedral, built entirely of wood, the Wedding Palace, the Almaty Circus, and the Central Mosque. At midday you are served a Kazakh welcoming lunch in a traditional yurt. You depart aboard your private train in the afternoon. Porter service guarantees the transfer of your large luggage directly to your train compartment. You are welcomed aboard the train with a drink or refreshment and a short informative talk. Overnight on board. Meals included: breakfast (B), lunch (L) and dinner (D)

Day 3               Turkestan – Center of Nomad Pilgrimage
You arrive in Turkestan after having breakfast on board. You visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, which was built in 1394 and is one of the most significant examples of Timurid architecture (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Afterwards your private train continues its journey, crossing the Kazakh-Uzbek border towards Tashkent. Border formalities are completed in the comfort of your compartment. Overnight on board (BLD)

 

Day 4              Tashkent, the Green Oasis
Your private train arrives in the early morning at the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. On your sightseeing tour of the city you are able to have a look at this green oasis in the steppe and see the Madrassa Kukeldash, the Kavoj and Amir Timur monuments, and the typical Kazakh mud brick houses. In the evening you attend a concert in a music hall (program permitting). You continue on with your private train after the performance. Overnight on board (BLD)

 

Day 5               Travelling through Time
During the night, your train passes through mountainous territory. The Greek heritage has been preserved in this inaccessible mountainous region and cultural influences of the Bactrians and the Kushan Empire also survive here. Fire worship and shamanism are still practiced here in the form of rituals and myths seldom found elsewhere. Trade caravans once travelled through these narrow mountain gorges and the armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Timur (or Tamerlane) also passed by here.

A traditional ceremony offers you first-hand insight into the region’s unique folklore. Your journey then continues along the Great Silk Road aboard your train to the green city of Shakhrisabz, the birth place of Timur. Your sightseeing here includes the monumental architecture of the brutal Mongol ruler’s great palace from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the evening you depart for Samarkand on your private train. On board you are invited to a tasting of Uzbek wines. Overnight on board (BLD)


Day 6              Samarkand, Crossroads of Cultures
Today is spent visiting the sights of this famous historic city, which during the rule of Timur was considered the world’s most beautiful and prestigious city. The Necropolis of Shah-e Zinde (the living Shah), the excavation sites at Afrosiab (with a museum tour), and Registan Square are certainly among the most notable architectural ensembles in Central Asia. It is also historically important, as the site where many Uzbek women burned their veils (paranjas) in 1917, to signal their arrival in a new era. Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar). (BLD)


Day 7               Samarkand
Your day in this fascinating city includes a tour of a silk carpet manufacturer, a visit to an Uzbek craftsman’s family to see paper being made from mulberry bark, stops at the Ulug Beg Observatory and the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque, and viewing the interior of the palace-like Gur Emir Mausoleum. Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel (or similar) (BLD)


Day 8              Samarkand
The morning is yours to explore Samarkand or spend as you please. Your train departs for Khiva in the west around noon. Overnight on board (BLD)

Day 9              Khiva
Today you will visit the oasis of Khiva, a fairy tale from 1001 Nights – in stone. Standing at the mighty town wall with its gates and bastions of mud brick you feel transported into another world. On your sightseeing tour of the oasis you have a chance to take in its exotic atmosphere.

Its palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums and madrassas (Muslim religious schools) represent one of the best preserved ensembles of medieval oriental urban architecture in the world.

Enjoy lunch in the surroundings of the former emir’s Summer Palace. Overnight on board (BLD)


Day 10             Bukhara, the Noble One
Located in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert, Bukhara has some one thousand architectural monuments recalling the golden age of the Great Silk Route. Exotic spices, furs, and especially silk were stored and traded then in the city’s caravanserais.

In Bukhara’s Old Town (UNESCO World Heritage), you see the almost fifty-metre tall Kalyan Minaret and the Lyab-I Hauz Ensemble by the pond. In a madrassa courtyard you watch a performance of local dances, and a presentation of colourful national costumes with musical accompaniment. Overnight: Hotel Asia Bukhara (or similar) (BLD)

Day 11              The Samanid Mausoleum
Bukhara, which also bears the by-name Sherif (the Noble one), has preserved its ancient oriental countenance in its extensive, unparalleled collection of authentic architecture.

In the morning we drive you to the splendid Mir-e-Arab Madrassa and the Samanid Mausoleum, one of Central Asia’s most beautiful architectural treasures.

Afterwards you tour the massive Ark Citadel, a city within a city that was once the seat of government of Bukhara’s former rulers. There you view the Throne Room, after which you visit the last emir’s Summer Residence. Your train continues its journey in the evening. Overnight on board (BLD)


Day 12                   Merv, the Pearl of the East
Your private train arrives toward morning at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site of Merv, the remnants of what was once one of the world’s largest and most magnificent cities. The initial impression is of disbelief: gigantic walls and ramparts simply standing in the middle of the desert next to the imposing ruins of ancient buildings such as the Tomb of the Sultan Sanjar, the Maidens’ Castle (Kyz Kala), the historical ice-houses, and other tombs. Lunch is eaten with a local family in their home’s picturesque courtyard. Overnight: Grand Turkmen Hotel (or similar) (BLD)


Day 13             The Capital City Ashgabat and the Former Imperial City of Nisa
In the morning you are driven to the ancient Parthian city of Nisa. After lunch you take a guided tour of the modern-day capital, with its distinctive appearance so characteristic of Turkmenbashi, the self-proclaimed “great leader of all Turkmen”. Hollywood-style settings throughout this city flush with new-found oil wealth can be impressive, but sometimes also cause a chuckle. In the afternoon you take a guided tour of the National Museum in Ashgabat, where you view artifacts excavated from the ruins at Nisa and gain insight into the development of a culture shaped by various peoples, ethnicities, and religions. In the evening you are transferred to airport for your flight home (BLD)

 

Day 14             Return Home
Your flight home departs in the early morning, marking the end of a very special journey

 

Journey Highlights:

· Comfortable private train with 5 different categories

· 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites ( Nisa, Merv, Itchan Kala Khiva, Bukhara, Samarqand, Shakhrisabz, Turkestan)

· Ulug Bek observatory

· Karakum and Kysilkum deserts

· Excavations of ancient Afrosiyob town

· The making of traditional art objects: silk and carpets

· Lunch in a typical Uzbek house


Hotels planned:

· Almaty        1 night                  Rahat Palace

· Samarkand  2 nights                Registan Plaza

· Bukhara      1 night                  Asia Bukhara

· Ashgabat    1 night                   Grand Turkmen



Tour prices include:

· 7 overnights on board the private train in confirmed compartment category

· 5 overnights in hotels

· All meals according to program (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)

· Sightseeing program including all entrance fees according program

· Guided transfers to and from all airports and train stations according to program

· Multi-lingual Tour director

· Experienced local guides for a maximum of 26 guests per group

· Doctor on board

· Traditional welcome in the train stations of Bukhara and Samarkand

· Lunch/dinner with an Uzbek and a Turkmen family

· Wine and Vodka tasting

· Log book with information about the Silk Road

 

Travel documents and vaccinations

· Passport & visas required

· No vaccinations are prescribed

 

Not included:

· Visa fees · Gratuities · Entry tax Turkmenistan (15 US-$, to be paid directly at the border)

· International flights · Personal expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 
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