China Span + One Globe
Day 1. arrive in Shanghai, China
Day 2. to Urumqi
Day 3-5. to Kashgar
Day 6. to Osh, Kyrgyzstan
Day 7. to Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Day 8. to Khiva
Day 9-11. to Bukhara
Day 12-13. to Smarkand
Day 14-15. to Penjikent, Tajikistan
Day 16. to Iskanderkul
Day 17. to Dushanbe
Day 18. to Khujand
Day 19-20. to Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Day 21. trip ends in Tashkent.
We have organized many trips to the Silk Road over the last three decades, but this one is different. For more than 2,000 years, Central Asia has been a meeting ground between Europe and Asia, the locus of ancient east-west trade routes collectively called the Silk Road, and at various points in history a cradle of scholarship, culture and power. We will explore famous archeological sites, enter oasis with lush vegetation amidst barren desert, observe local villagers’ life and enjoy the magnificent background view of snow-capped mountains. The ancient pace and Silk Road flavor is still there, especially outside the cities.
Our Great Silk Road trip starts from China’s Xinjiang Province mainly lived by the Uighur people. In Kashgar, China’s most westerly frontier city, we will get to enjoy the famous Sunday Bazaar hailed by Marco Polo more than 700 years ago. We will take a drive on Karakorum Highway to Karakuli Lake, located between Mt. Muztagata and Mt. Goner. It is a sparkling jewel on the Pamir Plateau.
From Kashgar, we will start our overland trip towards the west and enter Kyrgyzstan. Our first stop is Osh, founded by King Solomon as legends say. It places an important role on the trading routes of the Great Silk Road. We will move on to cross Kyrgyz-Uzbek border and reach Fergana where we will take a short flight to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is arguably the most historically fascinating among the Central Asian republics. It has a rich history that dates back to the depth of millennia. As archeologists witness, it is one of the most ancient places inhabited by humans whose age exceeded 1 million years. In Tashkent, we will be impressed by the wonderful collections in its museums. In Khiva, the Museum City, we will marvel at its old citadel surrounded by massive outer walls. It is an architectural museum whose buildings represent the best masterpieces of ancient architects and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In Bukhara, the Holy City, we will celebrate the exuberant Silk and Spices Festival. In a celebration of cultural heritage, dance troupes and musicians in brilliant national costumes lead lively performances and parades joined by puppeteers and tightrope walkers. Skilled craftsmen from Uzbekistan and neighboring countries display carvings of fine woods, bright copper, brass and silk work, handcrafted jewelry, unique ceramics, luxurious silk carpets and intricate embroideries. Bukhara means “the monastery” in Sanskrit, a perfect description as it is an “open air museum city” with more than 140 architectural monuments from the Middle Ages. In Samarkand, we will wander around Registan Square, where all celebrations, festival and bazaars took place; we will visit numerous mosques and monuments and we will be fascinated by the refined architectural shapes, intricate ornamentation, mosaics, blue-tiled domes and facades. It is one of the ancient cities of the world with a 2,500 years-old history, along with Rome, Athens and Babylon. “Precious Pearl of the Islamic World”, “Eden of the East”, “Face of the Ground” were the names give to Samarkand by the poets and historians of the past.
A short drive east of Samarkand will take us into Tajikistan, rugged, mountainous and landlocked. Though the smallest of the Central Asian republics, it has some of Central Asia’s most beautiful countryside and the scenery is totally unspoiled. We will visit the ancient ruins of Penjikent; settlement of Sarazm, a UNESCO World Heritage site; beautiful lakes in the mountain; Dushanbe with the world’s largest clay Buddha made about 1,600 years ago just to name a few. From Tajikistan, we will drive over high passes through spectacular scenery to return to Tashkent of Uzbekistan, completing our circle of these three “stan” countries.
Rich in historical and architectural heritage, these are exciting places for adventurous people who will find the experience highly rewarding. So join us on an unforgettable exploration of these mysterious lands with an everlasting unique appeal.
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