Making Ikats: Colors of the Silk Road (VIDEO)

Making Ikats: Colors of the Silk Road (VIDEO)

We caught up with MIR Tour Manager Abdu Samadov, who recently visited one of Uzbekistan’s renowned silk workshops in the Fergana Valley. While inside the studio, he captured this footage of a weaver creating a classic Uzbek silk fabric known as ikat. Take a brief look at the intricate process behind making these brilliant Silk Road textiles in this video. Read More


New 2016 UNESCO Sites: Our 3 Picks for Sites in Uzbekistan and Iran

New 2016 UNESCO Sites: Our 3 Picks for Sites in Uzbekistan and Iran

Every July, UNESCO throws a big conference and decides which of the world’s most amazing places qualify as new World Heritage Sites. The stakes are high, with tourism money flooding in to the new sites, but so are the requirements. Not only do the sites have to have universal cultural or natural significance, but they have to be sufficiently protected from development and encroachment. In 2016, the UNESCO committee added 21 new sites to its list, including seven in MIR’s destinations. Here are our picks for three sites to add to your bucket list – two in Iran, and one in Uzbekistan. Read More


Meet the Masters: 4 Ways to Learn from the Best as You Travel

Meet the Masters: 4 Ways to Learn from the Best as You Travel

A memorable tour is one that widens your horizons, tickles your fancy and gives you something to think about. In each MIR trip you’ll experience at least one moment when you realize you’re learning something you’ve never known before. It might be about the history or habits of a place, or it might be how to make or do something grand. These moments are precious, and they can happen at any time or place. They will surely happen when you travel with MIR. Read More


Learn from the Locals: Navruz in Uzbekistan

Learn from the Locals: Navruz in Uzbekistan

Born and raised in Samarkand, Abdu Samadov is full of inside information about Uzbekistan. Abdu guides MIR travelers throughout Central Asia and enjoys sharing his knowledge with other travelers. Navruz is his favorite holiday. Navruz is the time when rituals and traditions come alive all across the region. In his hometown there are a number of rituals that he has been witnessing over the years, some of which are rarely practiced nowadays in the urban areas. Read More


Hear the Sounds of the Silk Route: Music of the Karakalpaks (VIDEO)

Hear the Sounds of the Silk Route: Music of the Karakalpaks (VIDEO)

In the remote desert region of western Uzbekistan lies the small city of Nukus. It’s here that you’ll find the famous Savitsky Art Museum, which houses a massive collection of banned Russian avant-garde art. On a recent trip to Uzbekistan, MIR staffers caught some footage of a traditional Karakalpak musical performance while touring the Savitsky Museum. The footage highlights two distinct musical styles and types of performers. Musicians once held a most important role in Karakalpak society, acting as both singers and storytellers. They were an essential part of special occasions and weddings, many of which lasted for days, sometimes weeks. Read More


Traveler Spotlight: Dispatches from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

Traveler Spotlight: Dispatches from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

MIR traveler Fred Lundahl spent 30 years serving in U.S. embassies abroad with the Foreign Service. During his postings, he fell in love with Central Asia, and still travels there every couple of years. Recently, Fred traveled with MIR on another trip through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, including some hiking “in the most picturesque mountains that no one in the U.S. has heard of – the Fann Mountains north of Dushanbe [Tajikistan].” Read Fred’s Travel Journal for all of his dispatches from Central Asia. Read More


An interview with author Caroline Eden about Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus

An interview with author Caroline Eden about Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus

Travel, culture, and food writer Caroline Eden, an occasional MIR traveler, has just the book for you, featuring sumptuous photos and tantalizing recipes from quite a few of MIR’s destinations. Entitled Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus, it is gorgeous enough for the coffee table, but will more likely be found propped open on the kitchen counter, spattered with dabs of butter and drips of pomegranate juice. Also, mark your calendars: Caroline will be hosting a special tour for MIR in 2017, Backstreets & Bazaars of Uzbekistan, during the spring festival of Navruz, March 18-27. I caught up with her recently to find out more about Samarkand. Read More


MIR Moments: Dances, Dinners & Delights in Uzbekistan

MIR Moments: Dances, Dinners & Delights in Uzbekistan

Every few years, internationally respected dance ethnologist Helene Eriksen leads a group of enthusiasts to a different region of the world to explore its traditional dances, costumes and music. Since 2016, Helene has teamed up with MIR for a Dance Tour Through Uzbekistan, which takes travelers on an unconventional journey to the heart of the Silk Road – Uzbekistan – to explore the dances, costumes and music of the Central Asian desert region. Tour Manager Abdu Samadov shares some favorite highlights and surprise moments from the most recent departure of the trip. Read More