Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Seljuk Sultans…step back in time and trace the footsteps of history’s most infamous dynasties through the Treasures of Uzbekistan. An exquisitely mismatched country, Uzbekistan boasts a fascinatingly contradictory cultural architecture – palatial, Islamic grandeur collides with mud-walled houses and monoliths of Communist rule. Aboard this immersive, 11-day odyssey, escape into a land of contradiction and discover the awe-inspiring culture at its core. Learn the ancient art of silk-making in Margilan, experience the hauntingly beautiful melody of a Kazakh folklore performance in Tashkent, and follow the trail of the fierce Huns, Turks, and Arab warriors as you explore the Desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm.
The Train: The Golden Eagle has been carefully designed with emphasis on your comfort, relaxation and enjoyment. Aboard your luxurious private train, you can expect well-appointed en suite cabins, fine dining and elegant surroundings. All cabins feature LCD TV, DVD player, wardrobe, air-conditioning, large window and en suite bathroom.
Silver Class Cabins: A compact cabin featuring a small double lower bed and single upper bed with private en suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.
Gold Class Cabins: A well-proportioned cabin including a private bathroom with separate power shower and underfloor heating. Guests also benefit from complimentary drinks off the Standard Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car.
Imperial Suite Cabins: The most spacious cabin which includes a large double bed, lounge area with dressing table and private en suite bathroom with power shower and underfloor heating. Guests can also enjoy drinks from the Standard and Premium Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car along with use of a private guide and chauffer service at many of the destinations.
Duration11 Days / 10 Nights from USD US$17,595*
Type of JourneyRail
Tashkent • Kokand • Fergana • Navoi • Nukus • Khiva • Samarkand
- Private ensuite accommodation on the Golden Eagle train
- Freshly prepared meals on board, using the finest local ingredients
- Authentic dining experiences in local restaurants
- Generous drinks allowance, including international wines with lunch and dinner
- Expertly guided off-train excursions as detailed in the itinerary
- 24-hour cabin attendant service
- Experienced Tour Management team
- Services of a UK-registered Doctor and medical facilities on board
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All gratuities – on and off the train
- Luggage porterage throughout the journey
74895Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
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 travellers.
Day 2: Tashkent
After a leisurely morning and refreshing lunch, begin your touring of the Uzbekistan capital. The 2,200 year old city of Tashkent is a magnificent modern metropolis which beautifully blends decadent medieval structures and minimalistic modern edifices. Your sightseeing tour will include the awe-inspiring Khasti-Imam Complex, the culturally momentous Independence Square, and the Applied Arts Museum (situated in the extravagant former home of Imperial Russian diplomat, Alexander Polovtsev).
Early evening, enjoy a champagne reception and Karnay-Surnay performance (a musical ensemble of the national wind instrument) on the platform as we are welcomed aboard the Golden Eagle. Toast to the Voyage of a Lifetime with a sumptuous Welcome Dinner in the ornate Restaurant Car as you depart towards the Fergana Valley.
Day 3: Fergana Valley
In the morning, 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, begin with a tour of the majestic Palace of Khudayar Khan – aptly known as the Pearl of Kokand. One of the most visited moments in the Fergana Valley, the palace was constructed in 1870s, and covers an impressive four hectares. The entire façade is opulently tiled with multi-coloured geometric patterns, arabesques, and floral motifs – creating a truly spectacular sight. Additionally, you will visit the Jami Mosque – Kokand’s most impressive Mosque. Erected in 1812, the colourful construct features a 100m long portico, supported by 98 Indian red-wood columns and beautifully adorned in traditional Fergana carvings. Your visit will include the opportunity to sample the local delicacy – Halva – a unique confectionary said to have numerous health benefits.
You will then make the short drive to Rishtan, home to the world-famous ceramics centre and discover the secrets of the state-of-the-art techniques of the ancient craft from the prominent local artisan Rustam Usmanov.
After a traditional lunch your next stop today is Fergana City. With Tsarist-era buildings and expansive boulevards – the city has a distinctly different feel from the wider region. Here you will visit the home of the famous Russian General – Mikhail Skobelev – and the Russian Army Assembly Hall. Revered by the Russian people, the formidable General was ominously known as ‘Bloody Eyes’ by his opponents.
Touring concludes with a visit to Margilan. Once a vital, ancient caravan route for Chinese and Western trade, the city is renowned for its beautiful, handmade silk products. Learn the art of silk weaving with a visit to a craftsman’s workshop and studio. In the early evening return to board the Golden Eagle private train now waiting for you in Margilan, from where you continue your 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, enjoy an open-air barbeque and a traditional folklore performance. The folklore of the country is a wonderful representation of the cultural dynamism of Central Asia. Beautifully lyrical, with a hauntingly ritualistic melody, the opportunity to watch a folklore performance is a magical experience.
Day 5: Nukus
Located in the north-west 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, visit the Igor Savislky State Museum of the fine arts, regional archaeology and studies in Nukus. Known as the ‘Louvre in the Sands’, the museum features the largest art collection in Central Asia – with over 100,000 exhibits. The museum was founded by renowned scientists, artist and collector – Igor Savitsky – and includes an eclectic collection of avante-garde pieces and crafts from the Karakalpak region. Enjoy a more leisurely pace this afternoon back on board your private train. Maybe take time to sit in the Bar Lounge Car enjoying afternoon tea and watch the Uzbek landscapes that unfold outside your windows as you continue your voyage to Khiva.
Alternatively, you will 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 you 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 took the additional trip by road will rejoin the train upon arrival to Khiva).
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.
Rooted in its ties with the Silk Road, Khiva has an eclectic culinary identity – 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.
After lunch, we will continue explore Khiva – including a visit to the Palace of Nurrullah Bai. Built in 1912, the Palace is extravagantly bedecked with bronze chandeliers, crystal pendants, and Venetian mirrors. Before returning to the train, visit the Photography Museum. Along with other artists, the museum features the work of Khudaibergen Devanov – the pioneering photographer and cinematographer of Uzbekistan.
Day 7: Bukhara
According to legend, the city of Bukhara was founded by the Persian Prince, Siyavush, in the 5th century B.C. The city is a treasure trove of historical buildings and architectural monuments, many of which are excellently preserved. Your tour of the area will begin with a visit to the Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace (translating to ‘a palace-like stars and moon’). The grand palace offers an insight into local life with displays featuring regional clothing, traditional embroidery, and ceramic creations.
From the palace, visit Chor Minor Madrasa. Translating to ‘Four Towers’, the Chor Minor continues to create architectural interest with its creative and unique design. Interestingly, each of the 17-metre towers feature a different design said to represent the four different religions.
Your morning of architectural exploration concludes with the other-worldly Ismail Samani mausoleum and the Bayland Mosque. The Ismail Samani is the oldest building in Bukhara. Believed to have served as the family tomb for the Samanid dynasty (819-1005), the mausoleum features an intricate baked brick, wickerwork pattern. Whilst the Bayland Mosque represents a distinctly different style – modest white exteriors and interiors adorned with floral patterns and gilded tiles.
After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, visit Shukhov Tower, a water tower erected in 1929. Ascend by lift to reach the top of the observation tower and enjoy the best view of the Old Town of Bukhara. The afternoon concludes with a trip the breath-taking Ark Fortress. This “Noble Abode” perfectly captures the oriental exoticism of Uzbekistan.
In the evening, sample the finest Bukharian cuisine dining in the rooftop restaurant of the Minorai Kalon Hotel. From this magnificent spot, enjoy the finest views of the Kalyan Square at sunset.
Day 8: Bukhara
Bukhara is a magical city; whereby modern life entwines with archaic architecture and an otherworldly allure. Your morning begins with a visit to the Lyabi Hauz Square. Translating as ‘around the pool’, Lyabi-Hauz is a square built around a pool, shaded by lush mulberry trees and local tearooms. Here you will see the fascinating blend of old and new, local tea rooms stand next to evening jazz bars and western-style coffee shops.
To the west of the square stands the oldest mosque in Bukhara – Magoki Attori. Constructed in 714, the mosque represents the emergence of Islam in this region. The UNESCO site boasts an incredibly grand exterior, with carved columns, intricate decorative trimmings, and imposing arches. Explorations bring you to Kalyan Square and the iconic Kalyan Mosque. Featuring a traditional design – large maksura rooms, pillar-domed galleries and deeply recessed niches a walk around the site will transport you back to a long-gone era.
After lunch in the Lyabi-Hauz area, there will free time to explorer Bukhara further at your own pace. Take the time to visit the beautiful bazaars which decorate the Lyabi-Hauz Square, or maybe stop to sample the produce from the “Chaihanas” tearooms.
In the evening, enjoy the unique experience of a traditional Uzbek BBQ on the train platform by the Golden Eagle. It is hard to miss the aromatic aromas of fresh BBQs as you explore the streets of Uzbekistan, and now is the chance to sample some of these delicious dishes. Succulent meats, richly marinated and flamed grilled on an open fire…these melt in your mouth dishes are the perfect end to a day of adventure. Re-board the train as and head for your 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. Fascinatingly, the town is a living museum to the famous dynasties who have passed through including Genghis Khan, Temurids, and Russians. As such, mudbrick houses shoulder structured neighbourhoods of painted and decorated homes, whilst opulently bedecked Mosques loom on the horizon.
Fascinatingly, such influences span beyond architecture to astronomical discovery. Ulugh Beg, the Ruler of Transoxiana (1409-49) had been interested in astronomy from childhood, continuing to build the largest Observatory in the pre-modern era, to support his studies. The incredible feat of engineering centres of a huge sextant (40m radius), embedded in a 2m trench. The magnificence of this construct is not limited to its interiors spanning three stories, the exterior is exquisitely decorated with glittering, glazed tiles, mosaics and majolica.
From a study of the stars, then move to the Shakhi Zinda Necropolis – a building framed by a constellation of glimmering turquoise domes. The necropolis consists of 11 mausoleums, individually decorated with majolica tiles, carved mosaics, and porticos. As we wander through the gilded avenues, it is clear to see why the site has served as an important pilgrimage centre.
Before lunch gain further insight into the intertwining identity of the ‘Crossroad of Culture’, Samarkand. Until the Middle Ages, Samarkand served as the main supplier of paper to the Arab world and Europe. With a visit to the Meros Paper Mill, learn about this ancient art with an up-close lesson of the laborious process, ancient machines, and centuries old methods.
Cuisine is at the very core of a culture. Continue your immersion into Uzbek identity with an interactive cooking class and Plov lunch. Considered Uzbekistan’s national dish, Plov is intrinsic to the national identity and a staple dish at social gatherings. Representative of Uzbekistan’s rich history, Plov is shaped by the Mediterranean, Chinese and Russian cultures who have settled in the region. After lunch there will be the opportunity to explore Samarkand at your leisure before returning to the train to make preparations for the spectacular evening that lies ahead.
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 cross over to the famous, now illuminated, Registan Square to enjoy a fabulous gala dance performance and fashion show. Soak up the magical atmosphere as the setting sun seeps down the world’s most recognised Mosque.
Day 10: Samarkand
Registan Square is the main square in Samarkand constructed by the Turkic-Mongolian leader, Timur (of the Timurid dynasty). To stand in the tiled expanse is a breath-taking experience ethereally ornate portals, intricate minarets and glimmering cupolas loom above. As you explore the revered site, it is easy to see why the Viceroy of India, George Curzon, described it as “the noblest public square in the world”.
Our second day in Samarkand continues 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 craftmanship 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. Featuring 5 hectares of trade rows and over 17 variations of Samarkand bread…. you will most certainly be spoilt for choice.
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 an onboard Gala Farewell Dinner as the train departs Samarkand for Tashkent.
Day 11: Tashkent
After your arrival in Tashkent, your private transfer will be waiting to transfer you to Tashkent Airport for your return flight home.
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