Treasures of Uzbekistan

Asia
11-day Escorted
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Overview

The Highlights

  • 9 nights on Golden Eagle luxury train, with all meals, drinks, gratuities, included (1 night will be spent at a centrally-located hotel in Tashkent);
  • Palace of Khudayar Khan, the “Pearl of Kokand,” with its opulent tile work;
  • Rooftop dinner in Bukhara watching the sunset over Kalyan Square;
  • Learn how to create Plov, Uzbekistan’s national dish;
  • Gala dance performance and fashion show in Registan Square, Samarkand;
  • Visit to the silk-making workshops of Margilan;
  • Navoi, home to the largest gorge of Stone Age glyphwork;
  • Explore the “Louvre in the Sands” Museum with the largest art collection in Central Asia.

The Tour

Answer the siren call of the Silk Road and immerse yourself in the history and culture of Uzbekistan, the “jewel” of Central Asia.

This brand-new itinerary helps intrepid travelers experience a country that’s a true melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures. Travel aboard the opulent Golden Eagle train for an all-inclusive, luxury exploration of Uzbekistan’s spectacularly global cultural identity. Bustling bazaars, imposing Soviet monoliths, and sumptuous Islamic architecture will all be featured, along with plentiful immersive activities like a Plov cooking class (the national dish of the country), a paper-making demonstration, and a gala dinner and dance performance in Registan Square.

Countries Visited

  • Uzbekistan

Itinerary

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Day 1: Tashkent

Upon arrival at Tashkent Airport, you will be met and transferred to your centrally-located hotel for a one-night stay. This evening we will enjoy a welcome reception and dinner, giving you the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers.

Day 2: Tashkent

After a leisurely morning and refreshing lunch, set out on a tour of the Uzbekistan capital. The 2,200 year old city of Tashkent is a magnificent modern metropolis that beautifully blends decadent medieval structures and minimalistic modern edifices. Our sightseeing tour will include the awe-inspiring Khast Imam Complex, the culturally momentous Independence Square, and the Applied Arts Museum (situated in the extravagant former home of Imperial Russian diplomat, Alexander Polovtsev).

An early evening champagne reception and Karnay-Surnay performance (a musical ensemble of the national wind instrument) welcomes you aboard the Golden Eagle. Toast to your “Voyage of a Lifetime” with a sumptuous Welcome Dinner in the ornate Restaurant Car as we depart towards the Fergana Valley.

Day 3: Fergana Valley

In the morning, we arrive in Kokand, situated within the Fergana Valley region. The city is one of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan and served as a critical trade center on the Silk Road.

After breakfast onboard, enjoy a thrilling day of touring. Begin with the majestic Palace of Khudayar Khan, “the Pearl of Kokand,” and its façade of opulent tile work. Following that is a visit to the Jami Mosque and an opportunity to sample the local delicacy, Halva – a unique confectionary said to have numerous health benefits.

After, make the short drive to Rishtan, home to a world-famous ceramics center. Discover the secrets of the ancient craft from a prominent local artisan, Rustam Usmanov.

After a traditional lunch, our next stop today is Fergana City, with its Tsarist-era feel. Here we will visit the home of the famous Russian General – Mikhail Skobelev – and the Russian Army Assembly Hall. The day concludes with a visit to Margilan – a once vital Silk Road point for handmade silk products. We will learn the art of silk weaving with a visit to a craftsman’s workshop and studio.

Re-board Golden Eagle in the early evening and continue our rail adventure onwards to Navoi.

Day 4: Navoi

Located in the southern region of the Karatau Mountain range, the Sarmish-Say Gorge is said to be the largest gorge for Stone Age petroglyphs and pictographs. The petroglyphs vary in accordance with their origin. Those from the early Iron Age feature a more ‘animalistic’ style. Whilst those from the Neolithic and Mesolithic age feature images of the local rituals and routines of the prehistoric times.

After a visit to these historical monuments, we will enjoy an open-air barbecue and a traditional folklore performance. Beautifully lyrical, with a hauntingly ritualistic melody, the opportunity to watch a folklore performance is a magical experience.

Day 5: Nukus

Located in the northwest of Uzbekistan, the city of Nukus is surrounded by three deserts — the Kara Kum, Kyzyl Kum and Ustyurt. As such, the city has a beautiful, undisturbed landscape – featuring endless sandy scenery, deep dunes, and towering peaks.

Following breakfast, we will visit the Igor Savislky State Museum. Known as the ‘Louvre in the Sands,’ the museum features the largest art collection in Central Asia – with over 100,000 exhibits.

Return to the train for a leisurely afternoon on board as we continue our voyage to Khiva.

Alternatively, you have the option to travel by road to visit the ‘Valley of Fifty Fortresses’. Uzbekistan’s ancient desert castles date back more than 2,000 years and were originally built to protect locals from nomadic raids. Feel like an archaeologist as we explore ‘Toprak Kala’ (the ‘Dusty Fortress’, I-IV century AD) and Ayaz-Kala (the ‘Windy Fortress’, III-II century BC).

In the evening, the train arrives in Khiva. Those who chose off-train touring will rejoin everyone here.

Day 6: Khiva

Our day begins in the ancient city of Khiva. Traced back to the 10th century, Khiva is a “city-museum,” magnificently adorned in majestic buildings, spiraling columns and beautifully carved doors.

Khiva has an eclectic culinary identity, which has been heavily influenced by Chinese, Turkish and Persian traditions. After a walking tour of the city, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and taste the Khorezmian cuisine. We recommend the famous green pasta ‘shivit oshi’, tuhum-barak (a fluffy dough-filled dish) and fresh fish sourced from the Amu Darya river with freshly baked bread.

Afterwards, we will visit the Palace of Nurrullah Bai and the Photography Museum. Along with other artists, the museum features the work of Khudaibergen Devanov – the pioneering photographer and cinematographer of Uzbekistan.

Rejoin the train for dinner and a relaxing evening in your beautiful cabin.

Day 7: Bukhara

The city of Bukhara is a treasure trove of historical buildings and architectural monuments. And there’s lots to see and do during our time here.

Visit the Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace (translating to ‘a palace-like stars and moon’) with its regional clothing, traditional embroidery, and ceramic creations. Next step is the Chor Minor Madrasa, which means ‘Four Towers’ because each of the tall towers features a different design representing the four different religions. The other-worldly Ismail Samani mausoleum and the Bayland Mosque are next. Today is a study in contrasts, between the Ismail Samani with intricate baked brick and wickerwork patterns, and the Bayland Mosque with modest white exteriors and interiors adorned with floral patterns and gilded tiles.

After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, we visit Shukhov Tower. We will ascend by lift to enjoy the best view of the Old Town of Bukhara. Our afternoon concludes with a trip to the breath-taking Ark Fortress. This “Noble Abode” perfectly captures the oriental exoticism of Uzbekistan.

In the evening, a true highlight – the finest Bukharian cuisine at the rooftop restaurant of the Minorai Kalon Hotel. From this magnificent spot, we will enjoy the finest views of the Kalyan Square at sunset.

Day 8: Bukhara

Our morning begins with a visit to the Lyabi Hauz Square, which surrounds a pool and is in turn surrounded by a fascinating blend of old and new – local tea rooms stand next to evening jazz bars and western-style coffee shops. Next is the UNESCO site Magoki Attori, which represents the emergence of Islam in this region. Then, we explore Kalyan Square and its iconic Mosque that will transport you back to a long-gone era.

After lunch in the Lyabi-Hauz area, explorer Bukhara further at your own pace. Take the time to visit the beautiful bazaars that decorate the Lyabi-Hauz Square or maybe stop to sample the produce from the “Chaihanas” tearooms.

In the evening, rejoin the group to enjoy a traditional Uzbek barbecue on the train platform. We re-board the train as we head for our final destination of Samarkand arriving late evening.

Day 9: Samarkand

Samarkand, the ‘Crossroad of Culture’, has an awe-inspiring history of over two and a half millennia. The town is a living museum to the famous dynasties that have passed through – including Genghis Khan, Temurids, and Russians. As such, mudbrick houses shoulder structured neighborhoods of painted and decorated homes, whilst opulently bedecked Mosques loom on the horizon.

This morning, visit the largest Observatory in the pre-modern era, a true feat of engineering, science, and design. From a study of the stars, we then move to the Shakhi Zinda Necropolis – a collection of 11 individually-decorated mausoleums framed by glimmering turquoise domes. Next, visit the Meros Paper Mill and enjoy an up-close lesson of the laborious process, ancient machines, and centuries-old methods used here. (Until the Middle Ages, Samarkand served as the main supplier of paper to the Arab world and Europe.)

Enjoy a lunch to remember with an interactive Plov cooking class. Considered Uzbekistan’s national dish, Plov is intrinsic to the national identity and a staple dish at social gatherings.

Following lunch, explore Samarkand at your leisure.

This evening, celebrations begin with cocktails and dinner at the Oriental Sweets Caravan Sarai. The 300-year-old restaurant boasts a beautiful open air dining space, shaded by lush mulberry trees, and framed by ornate arches.

After dinner we will cross over to Registan Square for a fabulous gala dance performance and fashion show. Soak up the magical atmosphere as the setting sun seeps down the world’s most recognized Mosque.

Day 10: Samarkand

Our second day in Samarkand begins with a visit to the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum. Serving as the resting place of Leader Timur, the beautiful building features a uniquely fluted azure dome and magnificent portal. The interiors are an exquisite example of medieval craftsmanship – bedecked in gilded mosaics, the lofty ceilings imitate a starry sky.

Following lunch, test your local knowledge and try your hand at bartering at the famous Siab Bazaar. A must-see spot, the bustling oriental market is a thriving and exhilarating hive of activity. Close by stands the majestic Bibi-Khanym. Impressive in both its size and beauty, the structure is oft compared the gates of heaven. Boasting carved marble structures, elegant minarets, and glistening gold walls, such a comparison is understandable.

Return to the train in the late afternoon and enjoy our onboard Gala Farewell Dinner as the train departs Samarkand for Tashkent.

Day 11: Tashkent

Following breakfast on the train, your private transfer will be waiting to transfer you to Tashkent airport for your flight home.

Dates & Prices

2023 Dates

October 20 - 30

  • All prices are per person.

2024 Dates

April 18 - 28

October 20 - 30

For a limited time, 2023 pricing is in effect for 2024 departures.

More

Americans and Canadians will need a visa to enter Uzbekistan. We will provide visa guidance according to your nationality.

Latest News: Click here for owner Owen Hardy’s blog on improvements on the Golden Eagle.