We leave early today and drive to Bukhara.
Along the way we travel through the Kyzyl-Kum (Red Sands Desert), the largest desert area in central Asia and inhabited by various nomadic people. We also meet the Amu Darya River, which was once known as the Oxus. This river bubbles up far to the south-east in the Pamirs and then runs west through the area now bordering modern Afghanistan – once famous throughout the ancient world for its lapis-lazuli mines. Curling slowly northward the river bisects the Kyzyl-Kum and Kara-Kum (Black Sands Desert), before stretching toward the southern tip of the shrinking Aral Sea. It was the Greeks who named this area ‘Transoxiana’ – literally ‘beyond the river’ – a name that echoes through the ages in literature and poetry and also in the imagination of travellers.
With the impressive sights of Bukhara and Samarkand ahead of us, this journey is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the journey so far, or catch up on some reading, or simply sit back and imagine you are a trader – relieved to have made it safely through the desert!
We arrive in the holy city of Bukhara and enjoy a free moment to absorb its ambience. Trading domes nearby still offer an intriguing and colourful array of goods including embroideries, jewellery, spices, handicrafts and all manner of Silk Road treasures. This is the place to test your haggling skills, as well as share a joke or two with friendly local merchants. This is truly a magical place and it is sure to cast its spell on you too!
Overnight in Bukhara