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The Silk Road (Moscow - Almaty)

 GoldEagSilMoAl

Moskau - Volgograd - Kara Kum - Khiva - Ashgabat - Merv - Bukhara - Samarkand - Tashkent - Almaty (13 Tage) Auch in Gegenrichtung möglich

Programm

Day 1, MOSCOW

Arrive at Moscow airport, where you are met and transferred to the luxurious five-star Marriott Royal Aurora hotel (or similar) located in the heart of this vibrant city for a two-night stay.  We enjoy a welcome dinner at our hotel, whilst you meet your fellow travellers and, together, look forward to the 13 day voyage that lies ahead. (Please note there will be a main group of travellers on the tour that will travel from Moscow to Beijing as a 21 day journey)

Day 2, MOSCOW

Our city tour of Moscow principally takes us to Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might. Here we see an eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grandeur of The Kremlin and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.  

Day 3, ONBOARD

In the morning of Day 3, we board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.  After settling into our modern, stylish cabins, we enjoy dinner in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as our rail journey to Almaty in Kazakhstan begins.

Day 4, VOLGOGRAD

Standing on the banks of the Volga, Stalingrad, as the city was known in Soviet times, was the dramatic scene of some the most important Second World War battles. The Russians heroically turned back the Nazi advance here to alter the course of the war.  We visit the poignantly sobering Mamayev Kurgan war memorial, followed by the informative diorama and absorbing museum visit.  In the evening we enjoy a beautifully prepared dinner on board our private train.

Day 5, KARA KUM

Today, we enjoy a relaxing day onboard as we travel across the vast expanses of the Kara Kum desert.  As well as experiencing the unique landscape, we can take the opportunity to chat to fellow passengers and maybe take our first Russian language lesson.

Day 6, KHIVA

Crossing into Uzbekistan, our train travels towards Urgench, where we transfer to the ancient city of Khiva, founded 2,500 years ago.  As one of the Silk Road’s most important trading posts and now a World Heritage Site, it lies at the crossroads of the routes between Mongolia, Russia, China and Persia.  A truly magnificent sight to behold, it rises out of the desert to reveal a wealth of impressive architecture.  Stepping back in time, we discover its impressive mosques, bazaars and minarets within Khiva’s ancient walls.  Lunch and dinner are served onboard our train.

Day 7, ASHGABAT

In dramatic contrast to Khiva, we arrive in Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan - the ‘Las Vegas of the Kara Kum’.  Situated between the Kara Kum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, its golden domes and towering modern buildings appear strangely incongruous in this almost biblical setting.

Day 8, MERV

Early morning sees us arrive in Mary, where we transfer to the ancient and mainly unrestored city of Merv. Once an important stopping point on the Silk Road, it claims to have briefly been the largest city in the world during the twelfth century.  1794 saw the demise of Merv, after the Emir of Bukhara destroyed the dam which the population depended on for its water.  After our fascinating exploration we return to our train for dinner.

Day 9, BUKHARA

Bukhara is quite simply outstanding. Like Khiva, UNESCO helped fund the renovation of much of the city for its 2,500th anniversary in 1999.  The highlight of this wonderful tour is a visit to The Ark, a fortified residence of the Emirs of Bukhara - the despotic and ruthless leaders who ruled until Soviet times. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant before we travel out of the city to experience the Emir’s enchantingly named, Palace of the Moon and Stars.

Day 10, SAMARKAND

Founded in the 6th Century BC, Samarkland’s stunning architecture hints at its former status as one of the most important cities in Asia.  Today we will visit some of its most significant sites including the refined elegance of the beautifully proportioned Bibi Khanum Mosque and the Ulag Beg observatory, one of the earliest Islamic astronomical observatories built in 1428. Before dinner in a local restaurant we will visit the illuminated and awe-inspiring Registan Square before returning to our train for a late evening departure.

Today we arrive in the capital city of Uzbekistan and spend the morning touring this modern Soviet-style city which was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1966.  We re-board the train for lunch as we head towards Kazakhstan and Almaty. This afternoon gives us the opportunity to relax with friends or listen to one of the informative lectures designed to give us a greater insight into this fascinating region before we enjoy our final evening on board the Golden Eagle.

Day 12, ALMATY

Just before lunch we arrive in Almaty – the largest city in Kazakhstan. This beautifully verdant city derives its name from ‘Alma’ meaning ‘apple’.  Just a short distance from the city, apple orchards thrive in abundance. Tonight we transfer from the Golden Eagle to the 5 star Inter-Continental Hotel for a 1 night stay.

Day 13, ALMATY

After breakfast, transfer to the Almaty International Airport for your onward flight home.

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