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All meals are included in the tour price and are indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal.2-3 500ml bottles of water (per person) will be be provided each day for all site excursions. Participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight are scheduled to arrive in Tashkent mid-afternoon. College (London), Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society & Sackler Scholar.Archaeologist in North Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Middle East.After negotiating officialdom, we continue driving to Khojand (Khojent/Khujand, formerly Leninabad) – capital of Sugd Province in northern Tajikistan.



The fortress gained its name from a local folk-hero, Timur Malik, who resisted the Mongol invasion of 1220 by retreating to an island in the Syr Darya (Jaxartes) River to the west of the city.Lapis lazuli and Badakhshan rubies were dug from the remote Pamir valleys we visit; it decorated the death-masks of pharaohs and the diadems of long-dead kings.Silk sold in local bazaars became the gorgeous robes of Byzantine queens and European bishops.Extraordinarily, the local modelled Arbob on the Winter Palace in St Petersburg and today the building holds a museum dedicated to the history of the Soviet mission to ‘civilise’ Central Asia.

Arbob was also the location where the Tajik Soviet officially declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and where the design for the new Tajik flag was chosen.

We follow ancient trade routes that crisscross Tajikistan and hear descendants of the great traders of the ancient Sogdian traders still speaking their ancient language in remote valleys of the Fan Mountains.