Tashkent • Bukhara • Samarkand • Shahrisabz • Darband Village • Tashkent

Join internationally respected dance ethnologist Helene Eriksen on a journey to the heart of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan, to luxuriate in the dances, costumes and music of the Central Asian desert region.

You’ll see all the classic sites, such as Samarkand’s UNESCO-listed Registan Square, but this specialized journey is handcrafted specifically for people who are ready to learn the dance movements of the Silk Road and who love the arts and handicrafts of the people who call this region home. Benefit from the knowledge that your host has accumulated from more than 35 years of researching, dancing and teaching the dances of Uzbekistan.

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Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Hear the sounds of Central Asian musical instruments
    Visit a small private museum where you can hear the curator play typical Central Asia instruments, such as...
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  • Learn to cook plov
    Take part in a cooking class, learning to make Uzbekistan’s signature dish...
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  • Perform for an audience at Gaukushon Caravanserai
    Perform the Central Asian dances you’ve learned at Gaukushon Caravanserai, accompanied by Bukharan Shahmaqam musicians, with a video to take home...
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  • Enjoy the dazzling dances and costumes of Uzbekistan
    Visit a Bukharan madrassah to dine and enjoy a costume show and dance performance by local artists....
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • More than 30 years of Central Asia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Vassar, Dartmouth and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Central Asia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Day 1: Tashkent

In Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, explore the house-museum of one of the country’s most notable folk dancers, and browse the Applied Arts Museum, featuring the painted carved plaster called ganche, carved wood, and tile work. Exhibits include the Uzbek embroidered wall coverings called suzani, ceramics, jewelry, rugs, and musical instruments.


  • Uzbekistan’s capital and largest city, Tashkent
  • The Square of Independence, tracing Tashkent’s history
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Day 2-7: Bukhara

Take the fast Afrosiab train to the Silk Road oasis of Bukhara. Wander the labyrinth of cobbled streets in the heart of the Old Town, seeing the classic sights. Attend master classes with Ms. Lilia Muradova, who will teach on different styles of Central Asian dance, culminating in an evening performance at the Gaukushon Caravanserai, accompanied by Bukharan Shahmaqam musicians.


  • Bukhara’s atmospheric Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Lyabi-Hauz Plaza, center of Bukhara’s Old Town
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Days 8-9: Samarkand

Take a half-day train ride to UNESCO-listed Samarkand. Here in Tamerlane’s blue-tiled capital, hear a private museum curator play typical Central Asia instruments, such as the doira, a large tambourine that is beaten like a drum; learn to cook the country’s signature dish, plov, in a family home; and enjoy a fashion show introducing the national costumes of Uzbekistan.


  • Samarkand, a UNESCO World Heritage Site called “Crossroads of Culture”
  • Registan Square, Samarkand’s most famous landmark
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Days 10-11: Darband Village via Shahrisabz

Set out for Darband Village, stopping first in UNESCO-listed Shahrisabz, Tamerlane’s hometown, to see the remains of Ak Saray, or White Palace. Continue to Darband, passing through the Iron Gates. Pay a visit to the home of local Darband resident Shavkat Turdikulov, the great-grandson of a Silk Road caravan merchant. Admire the steep red cliffs of the "Grand Canyon" of Darband, and visit Boysun, one of the oldest inhabited places in Central Asia.


  • Monumental Ak Saray, in UNESCO-listed Shahrisabz, Tamerlane’s hometown
  • Timur’s Iron Gates, a narrow passageway on the Silk Route, heavily guarded and taxed by Timur’s soldiers
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Days 12-13: Tashkent via Termez, Sairob

Drive to Termez, pausing in the little village of Sairob to see its thousand-year-old plane trees. Termez, near the Uzbek-Afghan border, celebrated its 2,500th anniversary in 2001. Explore the Buddhist monastery complexes of 2nd century Kara Tepe and 1st century Fayez Tepe. Visit the 11th and 12th century Sultan-Saodat complex, honoring the graves of the Termez sayids, or holy men. Fly to Tashkent for a farewell dinner.


  • 1,000-year-old plane (chinor) trees of Sairob
  • Termez, a stronghold of Buddhism from the 1st to the 7th century AD
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices

Trip itinerary currently not available.  

Please contact us for more information and a MIR Destination Specialist will contact with you shortly. Thank you! 

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in well-located middle class hotels throughout the journey.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary and bottled water at group meals. A few meals are not included so that you may enjoy a chance to experiment on your own.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Group arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Transportation throughout itinerary by private van or motorcoach or van (size of vehicle depends on group size).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for private, independent tours of ArmeniaAzerbaijan, and any of the ‘Stans, before or after your tour. Contact us for details.

Or, choose from one of our private travel suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This trip is moderately active, and rated moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow travelers.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

Read our Travel Journals

MIR's Travel Journals offer first hand accounts of MIR's fascinating destinations.

  • Essential Uzbekistan Travel Journal

    Essential Uzbekistan Travel Journal

    A MIR traveler set out with her traveling companion on our Essential Uzbekistan program, where they enjoyed the sites and crafts of Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva as well as the many fabulous fabrics, carpets, tilework and adornments she found there. Take the journey along with her as you read her fascinating comments on this adventure.... Read More

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