Your journey begins in the lively streets of Tashkent, one of the oldest cities in Uzbekistan. After a huge earthquake in the 1960s, the city’s historic architecture was largely destroyed, resulting in its current eclectic mix of tree-lined boulevards, Soviet blocks, mud-walled houses and plentiful mosques. Spend a couple of days soaking up the artistic delights of this culturally rich, mismatched capital.
Marvel at the highly skilled work of the Rakhimov family – sixth-generation Uzbek ceramicists with a family history of pottery making dating back to the 1790s. Try your hand at these age-old techniques in an exclusive master class of shaping, firing, dyeing and glazing. You can also browse the extensive exhibits housed within the stunning walls of the Museum of Applied Arts. At night, relax in the luxury of the Hyatt Regency, ideally located in downtown Tashkent.
A city of two halves – the old and the new – Tashkent offers endless opportunities for exploring and immersing yourself in rich Uzbek culture and lifestyle. From the bustling streets of the Chorsu Bazaar, filled with fragrant spices and vibrant colours, to the towering walls of Kukeldash Madrassah, become lost in the city’s electric atmosphere. Delve into the labyrinth of 19th century mud-walled houses, emerging into the historic Khast Imam Square, home to some of Tashkent’s oldest monuments. Continue your historical tour with a visit to the Uthman Koran, considered by Sunni Muslims to be the oldest Koran in the world. Though only a third of the manuscript remains, the experience of viewing this sacred document is a truly powerful one.
Boarding a high-speed train, your journey continues south to Samarkand, deep into the heart of this fascinating country. An oasis on the fringes of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, Samarkand is perhaps the best known of the Silk Road towns. A true ‘crossroad of cultures’, this beautiful town boasts architectural wonders such as the Registan Square, Gur-Emir Mausoleum and Bibi Khanuam Mosque. Stroll the streets and gaze in wonder at the breathtaking pillars, domes and intricately detailed tiles which adorn these magnificent structures. Recuperate in the comfort of the Dilimah Hotel, offering a choice of pools, spa facilities and modern bedrooms.