Rejser til Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan er en af de mere usædvanlige lande i Centralasien. Det er en spændende blanding af det helt moderne og det standhaftige traditionelle bredt ud på en vifte af attraktioner, der netop strækker sig fra gammel historie, gådefulde landskaber og interessante kulturer over nutidig civilisation.

Turkmenistans nuværende nærmest stille eksistens modsiger landets fortid, der var fyldt med resterne af nogle af verdens vigtigste civilisationer. Store dele af landet er stadig vildmark, og det giver den rejsende enestående muligheder for at komme væk fra alfarvej.

Man vil kunne se dinosaurfodspor og gaskratere, der sender sine flammende ildtunger direkte op ad et hul i jorden. Tag på camping i den golde og barske Kara-Kum ørken, der betyder Det Sorte Sand på originalsproget.

Kara-Kum dækker 90% af Turkmenistans samlede areal, så der er rigelig plads at brede sig på. Læg også vejen forbi de traditionelle landsbyer, mød pilgrimme på rejse og udforsk resterne af byerne, der engang lå langs Silkevejen. En rejse til Turkmenistan kombinerer absolutte højdepunkter med mindre kendte og lidt skæve perler, men samlet er det netop det, der gør det til en oplevelse i sin helt egen kategori.

Grupperejse 1 ► Turkmenistan - Fra ende til anden
Grupperejse 2 ► Usbekistan, Turkmenistan og Tadsjikistan - Silkevejens sjæl

Grupperejse 1 ► Turkmenistan - Fra ende til anden

Generel information om grupperejser i Turkmenistan

Happy Lama Travels eksklusive grupperejser i Turkmenistan foregår i små internationale grupper med lokal engelsktalende rejseleder. Derfor er rejsebeskrivelserne på engelsk.

En lokal rejseleder kender sit land bedre end en dansk rejseleder. Det er desuden vores erfaring at en lokal rejseleder giver dig et bedre indblik i, hvordan livet leves i Turkmenistan.

Passer rejsedatoerne dig ikke eller vil du selv have maksimal indflydelse på dit rejseprogram – Kontakt os hvis du ønsker et tilbud på en individuel rejse i Turkmenistan.

asien@happylamatravel.com

Trip Summary

On the edge of the Silk Road and with a rich history stretching back millennia, Turkmenistan is a land that few have knowledge of. Dominated by forbidding desert and once the abode of fierce tribesmen renowned for their slave trading, the country today is characterised by sharp contrasts, from the futuristic building projects of the capital to remote communities living in tents among the sands. This two week trip is a comprehensive journey through one of the most mysterious places in Asia. Starting in Ashgabat we combine both ancient and modern, visiting the monuments built by the previous ruler Turkmenbashi as well as the Parthian fortress of Nisa, before leaving the city behind and embarking on our journey to the mountains. We stay as guests of a local community in Nohur, reputed to be descended from the armies of Alexander, then travel through the remarkable canyon landscapes of Yangikala to the pilgrimage site of Gozli Ata, where we spend the night in the company of local pilgrims. From here we head to the Caspian Sea before flying to Dashoguz and visiting the UNESCO listed site of Konye-Urgench, evidence of former glories of this fascinating region. Perhaps the most exciting part of our trip is a three day excursion into the Karakum desert, camping at a flaming gas crater and stopping in isolated settlements to meet people who rarely see tourists. After a brief stop in Turkmenabat we then drive to the Kugitang Mountains, with dinosaur footprints, caves and rare species to discover. On our way back to Ashgabat we visit Merv, a vast site made up of the remains of five different cities, testament to the wide array of cultures that have made their mark here. Turkmenistan is one of the most exciting countries in Central Asia and this pioneering trip takes you to all corners of the country, doing more than just scratching the surface but allowing you a detailed insight into its culture and history. We think this is one of our most exciting trips – join us and we’re sure you will agree.

Fitness**** | Adventure**** | Culture**** | History**** | Wildlife*

Day 1 – Ashgabat

Arrive in Ashgabat and transfer to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the city. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar.

Ashgabat
Ashgabat was a fairly insignificant town before the arrival of the Russians, who chose it as an administrative centre and began to develop it in the late 19th century. In 1948 it was hit by a powerful earthquake which all but destroyed the city, and the city had to be completely rebuilt. Although reconstruction occurred during the Soviet era, it is Ashgabat’s development since independence in 1991 which has given the city its very unusual character. A pet project of the then dictator Niyazov, Ashgabat was the focus of his ‘nation building’ efforts and as such is home to a bewildering array of monuments, most of them faced with white marble tiles that give the city an almost glittering effect. There are few cities in the world that are so linked to one man, and Ashgabat is a striking and unusual place, at odds with other Central Asian cities but fascinating in its own right.

Day 2 – Ashgabat

Spend the day exploring Ashgabat. Visit the Sunday Bazaar, Independence Park and Neutrality Arch before heading to the National Museum and then the ruins of the ancient Parthian fortress at Nisa, a little way outside the city. Ashgabat is a city of grandiose monuments giving an insight into the nation building efforts that took place after the end of the Soviet Union, and a good place to start getting to grips with Turkmenistan. Overnight at Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Nisa
Located on a natural high platform at the foothills of the Kopetdag mountains, the fortress of Nissa was constructed by early Parthian rulers who took over control of the area from the Seleucids in the middle of the 3rd century BC. Under Parthian rule the fortified territory was protected by 43 defense towers, and was called Mitridatkert (literally: fortress of king Mitridat). Hellenistic influence is clearly visible in the building architecture, sculptures and other interior decorations found at the site. A circular temple-hall where remains of a stone altar were found indicate the location for Zoroastrian rituals. The most magnificent artefacts found to date at what is believed to have been the treasury is a large collection of ivory rhytons, which can be seen at the National Museum in Ashgabat. Nisa has been enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.

Day 3 – Geok Tepe - Nohur

After breakfast visit a private horse stables. We then head off to the Kopetdag Mountains. We stop first at the Turkmenbashi Mosque in Kipchak and then continue to Geok Tepe, site of a famous battle between Russian and Turkmen forces during the conquest of Central Asia. Moving on we stop at the underground lake of Kowata. After lunch we continue to the village of Nohur our base for the night. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Geok Tepe
Geok Tepe town hosts the modern Saparmurat Haji mosque, a history museum and the ruins of the fortress, where in 1881 a battle between the forces of the Russian tsar and Turkmens of the Teke tribe took place. After the fall of Geok Tepe Turkmenistan was subjugated to the Russian Tsarist Empire. In memory of the victims of that battle a mosque was constructed in 1995 and topped with a blue dome (Geok Gumbez), rising to a height of 42 m and flanked by four minarets each 63 m tall.

Nohur
Nohur is home to a small community that lives in the high valleys of the Kopetdag Mountains. Nohur local culture has been preserved due to its isolation from the rest of Turkmenistan, and its distinctive features can be seen in the style of its architecture. Nohur is also a centre of keteni (Turkmen silk dress material) weaving, and this art is practiced by virtually every household even today. Next to its cultural interest, a visit to Nohur also offers opportunities to enjoy magnificent mountain landscapes, canyons, and highlands. The inhabitants of Nohur believe they are descended from the armies of Alexander the Great.

Day 4 – Balkanabat

Leave Nohur behind and drive through walnut and pomegranate groves to Magtymguly. Our route takes us alongside the Iranian border so we can expect to meet several checkpoints along the way. We stop at the ‘Moon Mountains’ a series of rather striking barren hills, before continuing on to Balkanabat. Arrive early evening and check in to the hotel. Overnight Nebitchi Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 5 – Yangikala - Gozli Ata

After a visit to the local bazaar to stock up on supplies, we drive to the Balkan Mountains and the canyons of Yangikala, home to some of the best scenery in Turkmenistan. We explore by foot and take a picnic lunch among the canyons. When the sun sets we drive to the pilgrimage site of Gozli Ata. Overnight local pilgrim house (multi-share accommodation). (BLD)

Yangikala
Impressive limestone formations rise up from the desert sands at Yangikala, with views of the Karabogaz Gulf in the distance. These limestone cliffs are the remains of massive coral reefs from the pre-historical Parathetys Sea. Different soil layers are clearly visible: at the lower part, the hills are orange-red colored, whereas towards the top they become bright white. This surreal landscape is impressive at any time of day but sunset and sunrise offer particularly spectacular views. The area is reachable only by 4wd vehicles, crossing a highland region where camels, sheep and horses graze, and friendly shepherds will greet you with their Alabai shepherd dogs.

Gozli Ata
The mausoleum of Gozli Ata is one of the holiest pilgrim sites in Turkmenistan. The mausoleum, located on a low platform against the backdrop of stunning pink and red limestone rock formations, is now part of a larger Salor tribal graveyard. Gozli Ata (literally: all-seeing father) was a famous 12th century Sufi teacher who was said to have the capacity to see inside peoples’ soul and who was killed by the Mongolian armies.

Day 6 – Caspian Sea

Drive first to the pilgrimage site of Kemal Ata with its interesting volcanic landscape, where we explore the site and take lunch. From here we continue to the Caspian Sea, stopping at the salt lakes of Mollagara if time permits. We end our day in the seaside resort of Awaza, a sharp contrast to our experiences of the last few days. Overnight Hotel Seyrana or similar. (BLD)

Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea. Like the Black Sea, it is a remnant of the ancient Parathetys Sea. It became landlocked about 5.5 million years ago due to a tectonic uplift and a fall in sea levels. Over 130 rivers provide water to the Caspian, with the Volga and Ural Rivers being the largest. It has a salinity of approximately 1.2 %, about one third of most seawater. The only outflow of water is through condensation. The water level is currently measured to be 28 metres below sea level. Several salt marshes can be found along the coastline, such as the Karabogaz Gulf and lakes such as at Mollagara. Numerous kinds of sturgeons, trout, white fish and the Caspian seal call the Caspian home, and millions of birds winter at protected areas along its shores, including thousands of flamingoes and pelicans.

Day 7 – Turkmenbashi - Dashoguz

We head first to nearby Turkmenbashi where we visit the port and the fish market. After an early lunch we fly to Dashoguz in the north of the country. We spend our time here visiting the bazaar to stock up on supplies for our desert crossing. Overnight Hotel Dashoguz or similar. (BLD)

Day 8 – Konya-Urgench - Darwaza

Drive to the site of Konye-Urgench, an ancient capital of the land of Khorezm with beautiful mausoleums. After visiting its key sites we travel on the highway through the Karakum Desert to Darwaza, a burning gas crater where flames literally leap from the ground. We set up camp here and watch the sun go down, the crater lighting up the night sky with its fires. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Konye-Urgench
Konye-Urgench was the capital of the ancient land of Khorezm in the 10th century, but has not had the easiest time since then. Falling first to the Seljuks and then falling under the control of their successors the Khorezmshahs, it enjoyed a brief period as the centre of Islamic Central Asia, replete with numerous beautiful mosques and medressas. This was not to last long however. In 1221 it was attacked by the armies of Genghis Khan, who besieged the city for six months before destroying it, leaving little but ashes and bodies. ‘Konye-Urgench became the abode of the jackal and the haunt of the owl and the kite’, wrote one local historian. Having rebuilt itself it was then sacked by Timur (Tamerlane), adding to its woes. Fortunately, a few architectural monuments survived this tragedy, notably the impressive mausoleums of former sultans as well as arched gates and fortresses which stand as testament to the former glories of this remote corner of Asia.

Darwaza
While drilling in 1971 geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 50-100 metres. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn the gas. Geologists had hoped the fire would go out in a few days but it has been burning ever since. Locals have named the cavern The Door to Hell, and the sight of the crater at night indeed gives a somewhat spooky feel. The crater now has a diameter of approximately 60 m, and a depth of 20 m. Hundreds of fires burn inside the crater, some of them with flames up to 10-15m high.

Day 9 – Damla - Ak Molla

We head deeper into the Karakum Desert, across rough tracks and sand dunes, until we reach the small settlement of Damla. We stop here for lunch and explore the village, with superb opportunities to meet and interact with people who rarely get to see western visitors. Later we continue our desert drive through to Ak Molla, where we camp for the night. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Damla
Damla is located in a low basin, surrounded by hills with huge medicinal flowers, from which the inhabitants make a medicinal syrup. Damla is virtually cut off from the outside world: no electricity or telephone lines, gas or water pipes reach this region, and people will be overwhelmingly pleased to see visitors. A visit to this settlement gives you a good glimpse into desert life. While having a cup of tea, you can observe traditional living conditions in yurts and watch local household practices, such as the baking of Turkmen flat bread in a clay oven fired by saxaul desert wood, and the milking of the numerous camels. Or watch the village women making Turkmen felt mats or knitting traditional colourful socks and amulets.

Day 10 – Gonur Depe - Mary

A full day of driving. We stop at the archaeological site of Gonur Depe, dating back to the Bronze Age. Around 55 hectares in size, the site comprises of the remains of a fortified citadel with walls and towers clearly visible. From here continue to Mary for the night, where a hotel room and shower awaits. Overnight Hotel Mary or similar. (BLD)

Day 11 – Merv - Turkmenabat

Visit the ancient site of Merv, the most important in Turkmenistan and dating back 2500 years with an array of old mosques and citadels. After exploring Merv we head to Turkmenabat for the night. Overnight Jeyhun Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Merv
The site of Merv spreads over one hundred square kilometres and holds the remains of a number of ancient cities spread over centuries. At various times it has been home to Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Christians and Moslems and has been controlled by a number of dynasties including the Timurids. Merv’s attractions are wide and varied – mausoleums of former rulers and Sufi scholars, old Seleucid citadels, traditional ‘ice houses’ and the remains of ancient walls. Merv was comprehensively sacked by the Mongols in the 13th century but rose to prominence again under the Timurids two hundred years later. With so many influences, Merv is a microcosm of Central Asian history and a delight to explore.

Day 12 – Astana Baba - Koyten

Drive out of Turkmenabat, passing ruins of old Silk Road settlements and stopping at Astana Baba with its interesting mausoleums dating back to the 11th century. From here we follow the Amu Darya River, crossing it by pontoon bridge, and continue to the Kugitang Mountains. We reach the village of Koyten, in a lush green valley, by early evening. Overnight basic lodge. (BLD)

Day 13 – Koyten

We spend today exploring the surrounding area, discovering dinosaur footprints, hiking to the Umbar Dere waterfall and walking to a cave and hot springs. This area is part of the Kugitang Nature Reserve, and several rare species are found here including the Bukhara urial, a mountain sheep. Overnight basic lodge. (BLD)

Kugitang Nature Reserve
Kugitang Nature Reserve is located in the south-western slopes of the Koytendag mountains and lies at elevations of 900 to 3139m above sea level, a peak which it reaches at Ayrybaba (the highest peak of Turkmenistan). There are a substantial number of water bodies: karst lakes, freshwater springs and hydrogen sulphate wells. Koytendag is famous for its unique caves and other geological features as well as its archa forest and species of rare plants and animals such as the blind cave loach which inhabits underground lakes in the caves. Notable elements of the flora include Juniperus trees (archa), tulips, and almond, jujube and pistachio forests. Kugitang is also famous for its representing the main periods of the planet’s development, with rocks of the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cainozoic Eras rich with ancient fossils of molluscs, brachiopods, and dinosaurs – including a dinosaur footprint trail.

Day 14 – Turkmenabat - Ashgabat

Drive back to Turkmenabat, this time following the northern banks of the Amu Darya. Here the landscape is different and much more arid, with little agriculture and few settlements, in contrast to the southern banks. Arrive in Turkmenabat in the afternoon and from here fly back to Ashgabat for your final night in Turkmenistan. Overnight Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 15 – Ashgabat

Transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

Grupperejse 1 ► Turkmenistan - Fra ende til anden
Grupperejse 2 ► Usbekistan, Turkmenistan og Tadsjikistan - Silkevejens sjæl

Grupperejse 2 ► Usbekistan, Turkmenistan og Tadsjikistan - Silkevejens sjæl

Generel information om grupperejser i Turkmenistan

Happy Lama Travels eksklusive grupperejser i Turkmenistan foregår i små internationale grupper med lokal engelsktalende rejseleder. Derfor er rejsebeskrivelserne på engelsk.

En lokal rejseleder kender sit land bedre end en dansk rejseleder. Det er desuden vores erfaring at en lokal rejseleder giver dig et bedre indblik i, hvordan livet leves i Turkmenistan.

Passer rejsedatoerne dig ikke eller vil du selv have maksimal indflydelse på dit rejseprogram – Kontakt os hvis du ønsker et tilbud på en individuel rejse i Turkmenistan.

asien@happylamatravel.com

Denne rejse kombinerer Turkmenistan med Tadsjikistan og Usbekistan.

Trip Summary

The legendary ‘Silk Road’ occupies a mythical place in the imaginations of western travellers, a remote region in the centre of the Eurasian landmass through which countless traders journeyed on their voyages between Europe and the Far East. As well as commerce, the exchange of ideas and cultures flowed through the various arteries of the Silk Road, resulting in an incredible flowering of architecture, education and religion. Tucked away between the Indian subcontinent and Russia lay the legacies and monuments of numerous civilisations, and a warm and friendly people with intriguing cultural traditions. This tour takes you on a journey through the enigmatic sites and unique cultures of this mystical region. We visit the truly astounding sites of Khiva and central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara and of course take in the spectacular architecture of Samarkand’s Registan – one of the most stunning collections of architecture to be found anywhere. Stepping further afield we travel to Turkmenistan and the ancient capital of Konye-Urgench as well as the splendid site of Merv, and cross the border to Tajikistan with its stunning mountain scenery. This breathtaking region has often been at the centre of world history, its strategic routes fought over by Mongols, Russians, British and many more and its treasures long coveted by others. Those who travel here will understand why.

Fitness*** | Adventure**** | Culture**** | History***** | Wildlife*

Day 1 – Tashkent

Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the city. Overnight at Shodlik Palace or similar.

Tashkent
Uzbekistan’s capital displays its Silk Road heritage even today. An ancient city dating back 2000 years it is the largest in Central Asia and probably it’s most cosmopolitan. Although much of it has been rebuilt following an earthquake in the 1960s, its old quarters still retain their charm with narrow streets and 500 year old mosques, medressas and other religious buildings. Tashkent has always been a centre of commerce – with trading links established with Russia it became wealthy during the Middle Ages. In the middle of the 19th century it was a focus of rivalry between the Emir of Bukhara and the city of Khokand, to which Tashkent paid tribute, and seizing the opportunity to take advantage of the regional turmoil the Russian army was able to gain control of Tashkent, bringing it under the Tsar’s rule in a gradual process of imperial expansion throughout Central Asia. Tashkent became the capital of Russian Turkestan and attracted great number of immigrants – today there are sizeable Russian and Korean communities within the city.

Day 2 – Khiva

Fly to Urgench and transfer to Khiva (30km), a stunning city with a wealth of ancient monuments. We spend the afternoon exploring its sites, including its many mosques, medressas and mausoleums of former rulers. Overnight Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (B)

Khiva
Khiva is one of the true highlights of this astounding region – its ancient monuments have been superbly preserved and its historic centre contains more than fifty of them, along with around 250 old houses dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The inner town, or Ichon Qala, is encircled by 18th century mud walls and holds the cream of Khiva’s sites, a collection of remarkable palaces, mosques and mausoleums capped with bright blue domes and bedecked with stunning decoration. Minarets poke into the sky while its graceful archways betray links with Moghul India, and it is easy to visualise what this city once looked like when it was one of the most important in the region. Khiva was once an independent khanate renowned as a centre of the slave trade – raiders from Khiva would set off to vulnerable communities bringing back slaves to live in tortuous conditions or be sold to end up somewhere else along the Silk Road. Peter the Great first sought to bring Khiva under his control in 1717, but it was not to be – Russian forces were tricked and then massacred, humiliating the Tsar. In following years a number of attempts were made to free Russian slaves and take Khiva but it was not until 1873 that it fell.

Day 3 – Khiva

Continue our exploration of this marvellous city, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later there will be time for you to explore on your own. Overnight Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 4 – Konye-Urgench - Ashgabat

We cross the border into little known Turkmenistan and head for the site of Konye-Urgench, an ancient capital of the land of Khorezm with beautiful mausoleums (240km). After visiting its key sites we fly to Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat. Overnight Ak Altyn Hotel or similar. (B)

Konye-Urgench
Konye-Urgench was the capital of the ancient land of Khorezm in the 10th century, but has not had the easiest time since then. Falling first to the Seljuks and then falling under the control of their successors the Khorezmshahs, it enjoyed a brief period as the centre of Islamic Central Asia, replete with numerous beautiful mosques and medressas. This was not to last long however. In 1221 it was attacked by the armies of Genghis Khan, who besieged the city for six months before destroying it, leaving little but ashes and bodies. ‘Konye-Urgench became the abode of the jackal and the haunt of the owl and the kite’, wrote one local historian. Having rebuilt itself it was then sacked by Timur (Tamerlane), adding to its woes. Fortunately, a few architectural monuments survived this tragedy, notably the impressive mausoleums of former sultans as well as arched gates and fortresses which stand as testament to the former glories of this remote corner of Asia.

Day 5 – Ashgabat - Mary

Spend the morning exploring the sites of Ashgabat, a modern city that has been the focus of extensive and some would say eccentric building projects. We then fly to Mary, an oasis town close to the ancient city of Merv. Overnight Margush Hotel or similar. (B)

Ashgabat
Ashgabat was a fairly insignificant town before the arrival of the Russians, who chose it as an administrative centre and began to develop it in the late 19th century. In 1948 it was hit by a powerful earthquake which all but destroyed the city, and the city had to be completely rebuilt. Although reconstruction occurred during the Soviet era, it is Ashgabat’s development since independence in 1991 which has given the city its very unusual character. A pet project of the then dictator Niyazov, Ashgabat was the focus of his ‘nation building’ efforts and as such is home to a bewildering array of monuments, most of them faced with white marble tiles that give the city an almost glittering effect. There are few cities in the world that are so linked to one man, and Ashgabat is a striking and unusual place, at odds with other Central Asian cities but fascinating in its own right.

Day 6 – Merv - Bukhara

This morning we visit the ancient site of Merv, the most important in Turkmenistan and dating back 2500 years with an array of old mosques, citadels and Buddhist stupas. After exploring Merv we cross the border back into Uzbekistan and head to Bukhara (350km), Central Asia’s holiest city. Overnight Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

Merv
The site of Merv spreads over one hundred square kilometres and holds the remains of a number of ancient cities spread over centuries. At various times it has been home to Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Christians and Moslems and has been controlled by a number of dynasties including the Timurids. Merv’s attractions are wide and varied – mausoleums of former rulers and Sufi scholars, old Seleucid citadels, traditional ‘ice houses’ and the remains of ancient walls. Merv was comprehensively sacked by the Mongols in the 13th century but rose to prominence again under the Timurids two hundred years later. With so many influences, Merv is a microcosm of Central Asian history and a delight to explore.

Day 7 – Bukhara

We spend today exploring Bukhara, one of the most spectacular cities in the region and with a superbly preserved old quarter. Overnight Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

Bukhara
Mighty Bukhara is renowned as the holiest of Central Asia’s cities and is said to have been in existence when Alexander the Great passed through the region, more than two thousand years ago. Its old centre is exceptionally well preserved and contains old medressas and mosques, ancient minarets and protected buildings dating back as far as the 10th century. The independent khanate of Bukhara was one of the focal points of the ‘Great Game’ – a period of imperial rivalry between Britain and Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries that saw each seek to expand their influence. The British sent Alexander Burnes to the city in 1832 in an attempt to bring the city into their sphere of influence, but this was inconclusive and although Burnes was treated well, later emissaries were to fare far worse – two English officers were kept captive there for some time before eventually being executed in Bukhara’s Registan square.

Day 8 – Gijduvan - Samarkand

Drive to the legendary city of Samarkand (300km) stopping en route at Gijduvan, locally renowned as a centre for ceramics. Upon arrival in Samarkand we start to explore. Overnight Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 9 – Samarkand

A full day exploring glorious Samarkand with its spectacular collection of traditional buildings. Samarkand is most famous for its Registan Square, which contains perhaps the most stunning and well preserved architecture in the whole region. Long held in awe by early western travellers, it is easy to lose yourself in wonder at the incredible mosques and medressas, elaborately decorated in blue tiles and traditional Islamic art. Overnight at Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Samarkand
Samarkand is perhaps the most atmospheric of all of Uzbekistan’s and indeed the whole region’s cities, a glorious collection of immaculately preserved monuments that reach their climax in the superb Registan square, renowned as the finest architectural ensemble in Central Asia. Founded in the 8th century BC by the Persians, Samarkand has always been an important centre for the various forces passing through and has at times been controlled by Arabs, Sogdians and the armies of Alexander the Great. It was Timur who left the greatest mark on the city, designating it as his capital and embarking on a program of building that was continued after his death to produce one of the most startling sights in Asia. Vivid blue capped minarets jostle for space with tiled medressas, enormous arched gateways decorated with Islamic art and numerous mosques and mausoleums of the great and the good, as well as a marvellous observatory built by the ruler and astronomer Ulug Beg. Samarkand takes your breath away – there is no other place like it.

Day 10 – Termez

A long day of driving will bring us to Termez on the border with Afghanistan (450km). On arrival we will visit the Termez Archaeological Museum to gain an insight into the particular history of the city Overnight Meridien Hotel or similar. (B)

Termez
Perched on the border with Afghanistan, Termez is unusual in that it contains the only evidence of past Buddhist civilisation in Uzbekistan, with some old monasteries and a Buddhist stupa that date back to between the 1st and 3rd centuries still remaining today. In the 7th century the city was conquered by Arab forces and became a major centre of Islam. In the 13th century Genghis Khan stormed through here and razed much of the city to dust, but was rebuilt under the Timurids. Its position meant that it had a particular strategic significance when it was under Russian control, and it was one of the further outposts of the Russian and Soviet empires.

Day 11 – Dushanbe

After breakfast we will view the ironically named “Friendship Bridge”, before visiting the 15th century mausoleum of al Hakkim al Termezi, the Sufi leader known as Termez Ota or the Father of Termez City. From there we cross the border into Tajikistan and drive to Dushanbe (270km), the capital. On arrival we explore Dushanbe’s sites and soak up the atmosphere of this little visited Central Asian city. Overnight Hotel Gulistan or similar. (B)

Dushanbe
Dushanbe is a relatively modern town that rose to prominence during the Soviet era, when it was made the capital of the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and named Stalinabad. Its name means ‘Monday in the Tajik language, arising from the fact that this was the day that the market was held when Dushanbe was still a small and fairly insignificant village. The ousted Emir of Bukhara, fleeing from the Bolsheviks, stayed in Dushanbe and cooperated with Enver Pasha’s Basmachis until he had to leave the region. From Dushanbe, he fled to Afghanistan in 1921, the year the town was freed from the Basmachis as well.

Day 12 – Iskander Kul

Drive through stunning scenery to Lake Iskander Kul in the Fann Mountains (150km), where we have opportunities to hike around the lake shore. We have the rest of the day to explore the area and can visit nearby waterfalls and springs as well as small settlements. Overnight tourist cottages. (BLD)

Day 13 – Istravshan

After breakfast drive to Istravshan (165km), along the Fon-Dariye River and over the Shahristan pass. Upon arrival in Istravshan we will visit Mugh teppa, Kok-Gumbaz and Chor-Gumbaz mosque and local bazaar Overnight Hotel Sadbarg or similar. (BLD)

Day 14 – Tashkent

Cross the border back to Uzbekistan and head to Tashkent (265km) for our final night. Overnight Shodlik Palace or similar. (B)

Day 15 – Tashkent

Tour ends with a transfer to the airport. (B)

Kontakt os for priser og datoer eller et tilbud på en individuel rejse til Turkmenistan asien@happylamatravel.com

Lamanyt

Referencer