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Art Pursuits Abroad specialises in Art History and Architectural Cultural Study Tour Holidays in Europe and beyond.


The golden road to Samarkand

Art and architecture of Central Asia

 

20 - 30 May 2017 (11 Days)

3,280.00

Places Available

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Study Tour Lecturer:

Sue Rollin

Sue Rollin

Study Tour Overview

Tales of the Silk Road have enticed and beguiled the West for centuries, and images of the ‘mysterious east’, numinous, exotic and dangerously seductive, lingered on in the western imagination long after the overland trade route had disintegrated. Even today, the six central Asian ‘-stans’ are a poorly-understood region well off the European radar, and Uzbekistan is the ‘-stan’ nonpareil, being bordered by the other five. But Uzbekistan’s geographical and political isolation, for better or worse, has slowed the inroads of modernity, and here the glories of the Silk Road have withstood the sands of time.

After flying to Tashkent, the tour proper begins in the walled city of Khiva, a figurative and literal oasis of majolica and glazed brick that owed its wealth (and notoriety) to the vast slave market at its spectacular East Gate. From Khiva we continue to ‘the Dome of Islam’, Bukhara, to wonder at its 150-foot high Kalyan minaret, the magnificent Balyand mosque, and the Lyab-i Hauz architectural complex of Sufi boarding-houses and madrassahs. Our third major stop is Samarkand, Tamerlane’s capital, which he endowed with many spectacular buildings, including the vast Bibi-Khanym mosque and his own solemn mauseoleum, where visitors may find themselves recalling the words of the English poet James Elroy Flecker: "Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells / When shadows pass gigantic on the sand / And softly through the silence beat the bells / Along the Golden Road to Samarkand."

 

The golden road to Samarkand Art History Cultural Study Tour Holiday

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The programme details for this Art History Cultural Study Tour are as follows:

Day 1

Fly with Aeroflot at c. 11.30am from London Heathrow to Tashkent via Moscow. On arrival in Tashkent in the early hours of the morning transfer to the hotel for some rest.

Day 2

After an early lunch and a short orientation tour of Tashkent we take an afternoon flight to Urgench. From Urgench it is a short drive to Khiva for the first of two nights at the Orient Star hotel, a historic building within the old walls which was once the largest theological college in the city. A short introductory walk will be followed by dinner.

Day 3

All-day excursion on foot exploring the old walled city of Khiva, capital of Khorezm from the 16th to the 20th centuries — now a unesco World Heritage Site. One of the most remote of the Silk Road cities, Khiva enjoyed a renaissance in the 19th century — its buildings glisten with glazed brick and its carved woodwork is second to none. Visits the Kunya Ark (old fortress), original residence of the Khiva khans, the magnificent Friday mosque, its prayer hall a forest of carved wooden pillars, the mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmoud, and several madrassahs which now house museums. After lunch explore the old slave market, a domed bazaar and huge caravanserai and the beautifully decorated Tash Hauli (stone palace) with public reception area and private harem for the khan’s four wives.

Day 4

After breakfast leave Khiva and drive across the Kizil Kum (red sand) desert to Bukhara for the first of three nights. During the journey we see the great Amu Darya or Oxus River. There is a picnic lunch en route.

Day 5

Exploration of Bukhara, Transoxania’s hub of Islamic art and scholarship before Tamerlane. Although the conqueror razed it to the ground the city re-flourished under the Uzbeks in the 16th century. Visits include an exquisite brick mausoleum of the 10th-century Persian Samanid dynasty, the idiosyncratic Chasma Ayub shrine built over a spring connected with the Prophet Job and the imposing Ark (fortress) of the Bukhara emirs with its neighbouring prison containing the ‘Bug Pit’ from which few escaped alive. After lunch, stroll through the city and see the Kalon mosque and its adjacent minaret, left standing by Genghis Khan, several madrassahs, traditional Bukharan bazaars housed in characteristic trading domes and the lovely architectural ensemble around the Lyab i-Hauz pool fed by the waters of the ‘Royal Canal’ which still runs through the city.

Day 6

A second day in Bukhara will take us to the Chor Minar, a curious gatehouse with four towers on the outskirts of the old city, the traditional Bukharan mansion of Faizullah Khodjaev, first president of the Uzbek SSR, the Balyand neighbourhood mosque, a jewel of 16th-century architecture and the Emir’s summer palace, built in 1911. Free afternoon.

Day 7

After breakfast by coach to Shahr-i-Sabz, birthplace of Tamerlane, where the conqueror built an enormous palace of which only part of the imposing and beautifully decorated audience chamber remains. Here also is the family burial ground, where two of Tamerlane’s sons and other kinsmen are buried and where his grandson, Ulug Beg, built the Kok Gumbaz mosque with its sparkling blue dome. After our visits we drive alongside the Zerafshan mountains to Samarkand for the first of three nights there.

Day 8

A day in Samarkand, capital of Tamerlane, who used the vast resources of his far-flung empire to endow the city with splendid monuments. The ancient deserted site of Afrosiab was the first location of the city until its destruction in 1220 by Tamerlane. Excavation finds are housed in the excellent history museum and include fascinating 7th-century murals depicting a royal procession and the ruler receiving foreign envoys. The huge Bibi Khanum mosque nearby was built by Tamerlane for his favourite wife. Alongside, in the main city market, Samarkand’s traders ply their colourful wares. After lunch we visit the famous Registan, the city’s main square. Redesigned by Ulug Beg, Tamerlane’s scholarly astronomer grandson, and framed by three brilliantly ornamented madrassahs, it is one of the loveliest architectural ensembles anywhere.

Day 9

Morning visit to the magnificent Gur Emir mausoleum, which was commissioned by Tamerlane for his favourite grandson Mohammad Sultan, who died young, and where the conqueror himself and his immediate descendants are also buried beneath the loveliest of all Timurid bulbous blue domes. Coach excursion to the outskirts of the city where Ulug Beg built an observatory without equal in east or west. It was destroyed by religious fanatics in the 15th century but in 1908 part of the enormous sextant was rediscovered. The afternoon is free for further exploration and shopping.

Day 10

From the little mosque of Khazret Khizr, patron of travellers and guardian of the waters of life, there are lovely views over the bazaar, Bibi Khanum and the Shah i-Zinda necropolis.The latter is an extraordinary collection of mausolea of Timurid princesses, which boast exquisitely decorated majolica facades. Within the cemetery is the shrine of Qussum ibn Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Mohammad, who came to Transoxiana to convert the people to Islam but was beheaded by fanatical Zoroastrians while at prayer. Local worshippers still come to pay their respects. After lunch we drive to Tashkent for our final night, crossing en route the Syr Darya or Jaxartes River. Farewell dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 11

After a morning visit to the State Fine Arts Museum we take a short walk through the old town where we also see the Osman Koran, claimed to be the world’s oldest, housed in a new annexe to the rebuilt Tellya Sheikh mosque. After lunch in the centre of Tashkent, transfer to the airport for our direct Uzbekistan Airways flight to London Heathrow, scheduled to land at c. 8pm.

Please note that at this stage the programme is still provisional. Although we aim at the greatest degree of accuracy from the outset, some details, especially the order of visits, may be subject to change.


 

What Is Included Click to Show - Click to show details

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This Art History Cultural Study Tour includes:

  • Scheduled international flights (economy class) with Aeroflot from London Heathrow to Tashkent via Moscow and from Tashkent to London Heathrow with Uzbekistan Airways
  • Domestic flight from Tashkent to Urgench
  • Transfers and excursions in Uzbekistan by private coach
  • Accommodation: In Tashkent, two nights B&B in the highly rated four-star hotel Tashkent Palace (lottehotel.com/city/tashkentpalace)— in Khiva, two nights B&B in the Orient Star, a madrassa which has been converted into a hotel. Facilities are simple but it has been recently renovated and the ambience is great! Please note that there are no upmarket hotels in Khiva — in Bukhara, three nights B&B the Hotel Asia (asiahotels.uz/en/Asia-Bukhara.html), very well located in the heart of the old town — in Samarkand,  three nights B&B in the modern four-star Registan Plaza (registan-plaza.com), centrally located near Tamerlane’s mausoleum
  • All dinners and all lunches
  • Guided visits to monuments and museums listed in the programme
  • All entrance fees for visits included in the programme, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters
  • Services of the lecturer, a tour manager and a local guide
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • Small group between 12 and 22 participants

Not Included:

  • Transport between home and London Heathrow
  • Travel insurance. We strongly advise you to be covered by adequate travel insurance.
  • Visa: British nationals require a visa to enter Uzbekistan. Passports must be valid for at least six months after travel. Before the tour, they must be submitted individually to the visa agency CIBT(cibtvisas.co.uk) for approximately two weeks. Alternatively, you may obtain a visa through the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan (uzbekembassy.org/e/visas_for_tourists/). Other nationals please enquire.

 

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The price of this tour is £3,280.00 per person, based on two people sharing.

Options available are: Double room for sole use supplement £180.00. The price of this tour without flights £2,810.00.

Deposit payable at the time of booking £300.00 per person.

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Stamina

Specific fitness requirements for this Study Tour:

This tour is longer and more strenuous than most other Art Pursuits Abroad Study Tours. Apart from several hotel changes, it involves a lot of walking, often through city centres, on uneven pavements, sometimes on rough ground and up and down steps. Site visits require long periods of standing without the possibility of a rest. Some longer coach journeys, some as long as four hours (with comfort stops en route), are unavoidable.

Please note that all our Study Tours involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps and inclines. While we do not have an upper age limit for participants, we require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participents' enjoyment of the holiday and you should be able to walk at a reasonable pace and / or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular tour is suitable for you, please ring us to check before placing your booking.


 

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How to Book a Study Tour Holiday:

You can book on-line by going to the tour web page and clicking the "Book this tour" button, or download a tour booking form** or ring us on 01280 820521 or write to us - see our address details below. More information about the booking procedure can be found in the "Booking Procedure, Terms and Conditions" section below.

How to Pay by Credit or Debit Card:

You can pay your deposit or balance payment for a Study Tour Holiday in the following ways:

  • On-line by clicking the "Make a payment" ..button in this section and following the instructions.
  • Or ring us to make your payment (please have your your credit or debit card details ready (and we will also need to have your phone number or email address) - our contact details are on each page.

Please note that payment can be made by cheque, bank transfer or debit card (Maestro or Visa Debit cards - free of charge). On-line card payments are processed securely by WorldPay on our behalf. Credit card payments (Visa and MasterCard only) incur a 2% handling fee to contribute to the charges levied upon us by card companies and this handling fee is non-refundable under any circumstances. We will NOT retain any card information once payment has been received.

**Note: You can get a free copy of Acrobat Reader by clicking here.

We only accept payment in British Pounds (GBP) and accept the following types of cards only:

Visa Credit and Debit payments supported by Worldpay Mastercard payments supported by Worldpay Maestro payments supported by Worldpay Worldpay Payments Processing

An on-line booking may be cancelled within 7 days of the booking being made and the associated on-line payment will be refunded less an administration charge. We would need to be informed of the cancellation in writing within the 7 day period. Our normal booking terms and conditions will also apply.

Art Pursuits Abroad will not have access to any of the card details that you provide to WorldPay when you make your payment.

Already made your booking:

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Booking Procedure, Terms and Conditions Click to Show - Click to show details

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BOOKING PROCEDURE

PROVISIONAL BOOKING

A provisional booking should be made by telephone or through our website. Once we have confirmed availability, we will hold your reservation for one week.

DEFINITE BOOKING

To make your booking definite, fill in our booking form. This must be signed by the person authorised by all persons named on the form to make the booking based on our terms and conditions. If you make a booking on behalf of others as well as yourself, we shall take it that you have the authority of each of those other people to enter into that contract and that you and they have agreed to be jointly and severally liable to us. You then need to send your completed and signed booking form to us together with the deposit specified in the tour description. This deposit is non-refundable unless we have to cancel the holiday in which case all money you have paid us for that tour will be refunded.

BOOKING CONFIRMATION

Once we have received these, a contract exists between you and Art Pursuits Abroad Ltd. We will then issue you a booking confirmation invoice. Please check this invoice carefully as soon as you receive it. Contact us immediately if any information appears to be incorrect. We regret we cannot accept any liability if we are not notified of any inaccuracies in any document within fifteen days of sending it out. If you are booking within eight weeks of the date of departure, full payment is required with your booking. The final balance is payable at the latest eight weeks before the tour. It is your responsibility to ensure that the full amount reaches us on time. If it doesn't, we are entitled to assume that you wish to cancel your booking. In this case, we will be entitled to keep all deposits paid or due at that date.

PAYMENT

Payment can be made by cheque, bank transfer or debit card (Maestro or Visa Debit cards - free of charge). We also accept credit card payments (Visa and MasterCard only), but these incur a 2% handling fee to contribute to the charges levied upon us by card companies. Please note that this handling fee is non-refundable under any circumstances.

Download a copy of the Booking Procedure.

BOOKING TERMS AND CONDITIONS

PRICE

A list of what is included in the price of a tour is given in each tour's description. The basic tour price is per person sharing a double room and includes VAT.

INSURANCE

We require that you have adequate holiday insurance, covering medical treatment, repatriation, loss of property and cancellation charges. We also recommend that you carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which can be obtained from the Department of Health.

AGE AND FITNESS

All our tours involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps. While we do not have an upper age limit for participants, we require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participants' enjoyment of the holiday and you should be able to walk or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular tour is suitable for you, please ring us to check before placing your booking. If you or any member of your party has any medical condition or disability which may affect your study tour or has any special requirements as a result of any medical condition or disability (including any which affect the booking process), please tell us before you confirm your booking so that we can assist you in considering the suitability of your chosen study tour and/or making the booking.

In any event, you must give us full details in writing at the time of booking and whenever any change in the condition or disability occurs. You must also promptly advise us if any medical condition or disability which may affect your participation in our study tour develops after your booking has been confirmed. If we reasonably feel unable to accommodate properly the particular needs of the person concerned, we must reserve the right to decline their reservation or, if full details are not given at the time of booking or the condition/disability develops after booking, cancel when we become aware of these details. You further agree to accept the authority and decisions of Art Pursuits Abroad and our tour lecturer or manager whilst on your study tour. If in the opinion of any such person(s) your health endangers the safety or smooth running of the study tour we reserve the right to cancel your study tour or your participation in any part of it and shall have no further liability to you..

PASSPORTS AND VISAS

You must have a valid passport for all our tours. For most countries, this needs to be valid for six months beyond the dates of travel. Non-European nationals may have to obtain a visa. Visa requirements for British citizens on our tours outside Europe are stated in the individual tour description.

CANCELLATIONS AND CHANGES BY YOU

If you have to cancel your booking, we will make a charge to offset costs incurred on your behalf. Charges vary according to the period of notice given. Up to 57 days before the tour the deposit is forfeited. Thereafter, a percentage of the total cost of the tour will be due:

  • Between 56 and 29 days: 40%
  • Between 28 and 15 days: 60%
  • Between 14 days and 3 days: 80%
  • Within 48 hours: 100%

We take as the day of cancellation that working day on which we receive written confirmation of your cancellation. Your travel insurance policy may cover you for at least some of your losses.

If you want to make a change after your initial booking, we shall endeavour to try to satisfy your requirements once we have received written confirmation from you, but we shall make a charge to reflect any cost involved in this.

CANCELLATIONS AND CHANGES BY ART PURSUITS ABROAD LTD

We do our utmost to provide the tour programme as confirmed, but we reserve the right to modify or cancel the tour and any of its ingredients if unforeseen circumstances arise. If a programme change represents a significant loss to the tour, we will offer compensation. If you decide to cancel because the alternative offer were not acceptable, we will give a full refund. We also reserve the right to cancel the tour if there are insufficient bookings up to eight weeks before departure. If we have to cancel the tour, we will offer a full refund.

COMPLAINTS AND PROBLEMS

If something goes wrong, please inform a member of our staff as soon as possible. We will then endeavour to put things right quickly. If a problem cannot be resolved while on tour, you will need to send us a written report within 28 days of your return, giving full details of your complaint. We will then endeavour to agree a reasonable level of compensation, if appropriate. In the unlikely event that agreement cannot be reached, you may wish to take advantage of the independent dispute resolution scheme offered by AITO - details available on request.

YOUR FINANCIAL PROTECTION

In accordance with the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 all passengers booking with Art Pursuits Abroad Limited are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Art Pursuits Abroad Limited.

FOR ART PURSUITS ABROAD LIMITED AIR HOLIDAYS

We provide full financial protection for our package holidays, by way of our Air Travel Organiser's Licence (number 6436). When you buy an ATOL protected flight-inclusive holiday from us you receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and whom to contact if things go wrong.

We will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where we are unable to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable).

If we are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.

FOR ART PURSUITS ABROAD LIMITED RAIL-BASED PACKAGES AND INDEPENDENT TRAVELLERS

In accordance with the Package Travel, Page Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 all passengers booking with Art Pursuits Abroad Limited that do not include flights are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements in the unlikely event of the insolvency of Art Pursuits Abroad Ltd.

Consumer Aware: Your booking is insured by IPP Ltd and its panel of insurers. This insurance is only valid for passengers who book with and pay directly to Art Pursuits Abroad Ltd. For further information see www.ipplondon.co.uk.

OUR LIABILITIES TO YOU

We accept responsibility for ensuring that all parts of the tour are supplied as described and that all services reach a reasonable standard. However, we shall not be liable for the failure or improper performance of these services where such failure or improper performance is attributable to the fault of the client, or the unforeseeable or unavoidable actions of an unconnected third party or to unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our or our suppliers control. Our obligations and responsibilities shall also be limited where international conventions in respect of air carriers apply.

ENGLISH LAW

These conditions form part of your contract with Art Pursuits Abroad Ltd and are governed by English law. All proceedings shall be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.

Download a copy of the Terms and Conditions.

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Financial Security and Consumer Protection Click to Show - Click to show details

Financial Security and Consumer Protection Click to Hide - Click to hide details

In accordance with The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 all passengers booking with Art Pursuits Abroad Limited are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Art Pursuits Limited.

 

FOR ART PURSUITS ABROAD LIMITED AIR HOLIDAYS

Art Pursuits Abroad Limited air holidays are ATOL Protected, since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 6436. All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

 

Art Pursuits air holidays and flights are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our Atol number is 6436.

FOR ART PURSUITS ABROAD LIMITED RAIL-BASED PACKAGES AND INDEPENDENT TRAVELLERS

In accordance with the Package Travel, Page Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 all passengers booking with Arts Pursuits Abroad Limited that do not include flights are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements in the unlikely event of the insolvency of Art Pursuits Abroad Ltd.

Consumer Aware: Your booking is insured by IPP Ltd and its panel of insurers. This insurance is only valid for passengers who book and pay directly with/to Art Pursuits Abroad Ltd.  For further information see www.ipplondon.co.uk.

 

IPP

 

OUR LIABILITIES TO YOU

We accept responsibility for ensuring that all parts of the tour are supplied as described and that all services reach a reasonable standard.  However, we shall not be liable for the failure or improper performance of these services where such failure or improper performance is attributable to the fault of the client, or the unforeseeable or unavoidable actions of an unconnected third party or to unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our or our supplier’s control. Our obligations and responsibilities shall also be limited where international conventions in respect of air carriers apply.


 

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IPP
Art Pursuits Abroad air holidays and flights are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our Atol number is 6436.
Art Pursuits Abroad is a member of AITO. Our AITO number is 5162.