$ 5,810.00 (Cat. Habibi)
$ 7,910.00 (Cat. Ali Baba)
$ 8,580.00 (Cat. Aladin)
$15,795.00 (Cat. Sultan)
Your journey includes 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites and more than a dozen cities both ancient and modern across Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran.
Many of the sights along your chosen route are simply singular on Earth. Here, you encounter many of the world’s oldest cities and some of the most impressive feats of human ingenuity.
From the largest mosque in the world to one of the most bejeweled royal thrones in existence, this Central Asian excursion will leave you spellbound.
Tashkent, also known as Stone City, is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan. You start your unforgettable journey here among its beautiful mix of ancient and modern sights. A transfer takes you to your hotel in the city.
Overnight in Tashkent
After your first night at the hotel, you take this day to explore the city’s many marvels including medieval architecture and monuments to its founders. In the evening you have the opportunity to attend a concert in a music hall (schedule permitting). Later, you board your private train to spend your first night onboard the Orient Silk Road Express, departing for Samarqand.
Overnight: On board.
Meals included: Breakfast (B), lunch (L) and dinner (D)
After breakfast, your private train arrives in Samarqand, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, thought to predate recorded history. Today, you enjoy archaeological sites, the ancient city center and marvelous examples of Central Asian architecture.
Overnight in Samarqand. (BLD)
On your second day in Samarqand, you immerse yourself in the ancient crafts of the city passed down through the centuries. You visit a silk carpet factory and an Uzbek craftsman’s family home. You see paper manufactured from mulberry bark. Finally, you enter the medieval Samarqand Observatory, built by one of the city’s most famous astronomers. Also on the agenda are some of the region’s most important landmarks, including a stunningly restored mosque and the mausoleum of the great conqueror Tamerlane. That evening, after a full day of wonder, you depart on your private train for Bukhara.
Overnight: On board. (BLD)
Bukhara is known for its many monuments. The old city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you see monuments such as the Great Minaret, a Persian-era mausoleum and other examples of regional architecture, including spectacular mosques and other religious buildings. You then take a tour through the Bukhara fortress and museum. Afterwards, in one of the many courtyards of the city, you experience traditional dancers in colorful costumes moving to the tunes of traditional music.
Overnight: On board. (BLD)
Your first stop in Turkmenistan is the city of Mary, near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient Merv, which was once the largest city in the world. In the walled city of Merv, you visit ancient buildings and ruins such as the Sultan’s Tomb and the Maiden’s Fortress. After taking in the impressive sights of Merv, that evening you arrive in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.
Overnight in Ashgabat. (BLD)
In the morning, you are driven to the ancient Persian city of Nisa to witness another UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Fortress of Mithridates. In the afternoon, you go on a guided tour of Ashgabat, whose architecture is a blend of modern high-rises and early twentieth century design. You also see several monuments and museums dedicated to the history and culture of the city and the nation.
Overnight: Hotel Ak Altyn (or similar). (BLD)
After breakfast, you take a bus to Mashhad, the second most populated city in Iran. Here you visit the largest mosque in the world by square footage, the Imam Reza Shrine. The shrine is a complex of buildings which include a museum, library, cemetery, seven courtyards and one of the most comprehensive art collections in the whole of Iran.
Overnight in Mashhad. (BLD)
After a relaxing morning in Mashhad, you board the second private train on your journey, the Persian Explorer, heading toward the city of Yazd, a major center of Persian architecture.
Overnight: On board. (BLD)
Situated in the desert, Yazd is your next destination. The city is known for its unique architecture, much of which helps to irrigate the city as well as to keep its people cool. You see wind towers, also known as wind catchers, across the city which provide shelter from the intense heat and cool the water that collects underground to near freezing temperatures. You also visit fire temples, places of worship for Zoroastrians, a sizeable minority religion in Iran. You visit other religious architecture such as the towers of silence, which are part of the Zoroastrian burial rites. After spending the day in the city, you return to your private train and head to Isfahan, where you check into your hotel and enjoy dinner in the courtyard of a regional roadside inn.
Overnight in Isfahan. (BLD)
When you arrive in Isfahan, your first point of interest is the city’s central square. Also known as Image of the World Square, it is one of the largest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the veranda of the Royal Palace you get a perfect view of the square while you plan your visits to mosques, the city’s neighborhoods, markets and bazaars. As you walk along the Zayandehrud River you people watch as you pass the city’s many famous bridges, where locals meet during the day. Isfahan is where you take the opportunity to spend two full days relaxing and immersing yourself in one of the richest cultures of the world. You finish off the experience with dinner at a local restaurant featuring regional cuisine.
Overnights in Isfahan. (BLD)
Overnights in Isfahan. (B L D)
When you arrive in Shiraz, you immediately notice why it is nicknamed the City of Gardens. Its lush green spaces are still filled with flowers and trees as they were in ancient times. However, its other nickname, the City of Poets, is not immediately noticeable. Shiraz is proud of its native-born poets, Hafiz and Saadi, and you quickly learn their names. The immense spiritual and physical beauty of Shiraz makes it the perfect place for a true romantic. As you have experienced in the other cities on your legendary journey, the bustling bazaars and majestic mosques of Shiraz are simply captivating. The domes of Shiraz, typical of the city’s architecture, are featured in numerous monuments across the city.
Overnight in Shiraz. (BLD)
Close to Shiraz are the ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Persian King Cyrus the Great built the capital city of Pasargadae, while Darius I built Persepolis, or the City of the Persians, as the Greeks called it. On your guided tour of both of these ancient capitals, now archaeological sites, you quickly realize how enormous they must have been in ancient times. Among the various ruins that transport you more than 1,000 years into the past, you marvel at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae, the Gate of All Nations and Apadana Palace in Persepolis and finally, the various burial grounds, called necropolises, on the outskirts of these once majestic cities. After your journey through the ancient Persian past, you are slowly brought back to modernity by a short bus ride that takes you to the station where your private train awaits.
Overnight: On board. (BLD)
Tehran is the Persian Explorer’s final stop, but your journey is not over yet. After you say farewell to the train staff that has taken you this far, you set out to explore the Iranian capital. Among the wonders of Tehran is Golestan Palace, where you see royal gardens, museums and halls built during the 200-year reign of the Iranian monarchy. You are amazed by the beauty of the royal architecture and the riches of the palace, but you are simply speechless when you lay your eyes on the Naderi Throne, which is covered with a seemingly impossible 26,733 gems. Once you are able to bring yourself back to reality, you visit the National Museum of Iran where you come back down to earth before your final night in this sublime region along the ancient Silk Road.
Overnight in Tehran. (BLD)
Today, you leave the hotel for the Tehran Airport after breakfast. Doing so, you look back on this unforgettable experience, realizing that you will miss the people and places you encountered along the way. But instead of frowning, you smile, knowing full well that one day, you will return for another legendary journey. (B)