The countries of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran are woven together like the burnished threads of a fine Persian carpet. From earliest recorded history, these lands have exchanged rulers, architecture, art and religion. Explore the dazzling bazaars and extravagant desert architecture along the byways of the old Silk Road between Tashkent and Tehran on this 20-day journey with MIR Corporation. The tour I slated November 9-28, 2015 and starts at $7,195. For more info, visit http://www.mircorp.com/trip/once-forbidden-lands-of-central-asia-iran or call 800-424-7289 FREE.
Days 1-3: Tashkent, Samarkand
In Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, visit the private studio of a 6th generation ceramicist. Admire Samarkand’s UNESCO-listed Registan, radiating majesty through the ages. Converse with your hostess at a convivial meal in her family’s Samarkand home.
Days 4-7: Gijduvan, Bukhara, Khiva
En route to the Silk Road oasis of Bukhara, enjoy lunch at the renowned Gijduvan ceramics workshop, admiring the profusion of lustrous glazed earthenware. In Bukhara, wander the labyrinth of mud brick streets in the heart of the Old Town. Explore the World Heritage Site of Khiva’s atmospheric Old Town, including the 19th century Tash-Hauli Palace and the Dzhuma Mosque, with its interior forest of carved wooden pillars.
Fly to the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashkabad, and tour a working farm that breeds the elegant Akhal-Teke horse. Visit UNESCO-listed Nisa, ancient capital of the Parthian kingdom.
Days 10-13: Mashad, Tehran, Yazd
Cross the border into enigmatic Iran, visiting Mashad, where the Tomb of Imam Reza is one of the most sacred sites of Shi’ite Islam. Tour Tehran’s vivid Carpet Museum and spend time in Yazd, famed for its Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, wind catchers and weaving centers.
Days 14-18: Shiraz, Persepolis, Isfahan
Stop in Shiraz, a place of poetry and luxuriant gardens; explore the fascinating remnants of Persepolis, one of the most important cities of the Ancient World; and admire the luminous bridges of Isfahan and its graceful UNESCO-listed Imam Square.
Days 19-20: Kashan, Qom, Tehran
In Kashan, visit the classical Persian Bagh-e Fin Garden, with its centuries-old cypress trees. Continue to the sacred city of Qom and finish in Tehran.
MIR Corporation, whose name means “peace” and “world” in Russian, has specialized in Russia (and neighboring countries) since 1986. Offering scheduled and custom journeys to Russia, along the Trans-Siberian and across the Silk Route, MIR’s Seattle-based experts design imaginative trips that take travelers far from the familiar, and work closely with local affiliates in Western Russia, Siberia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to carry them out. MIR has twice been named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth,” and is a preferred operator for museum, alumni and special interest organizations across the country. http://www.mircorp.com