The Silk Road. Samarkand. Bukhara. Khiva. Surely some of the most evocative place names imaginable. Will the destinations themselves live up to the romantic images of great caravans, ancient trade routes and fierce conquerors?
Central Asia is one of the most surprising places. Situated at the furthest reaches of Europe it is a region of vast steppes, deserts, mountain ranges and lakes. It specialises in huge perspectives and monumental skies. Kazakhstan, for example, is half the size of mainland USA.
The region is big on history too. Uzbekistan was opened up by the Silk Road and rapidly became a battleground for Romans, Chinese, Huns, Turks and Arabs. To the east, Kyrgyzstan only escaped its Soviet conquerors in 1991.
Push the boundaries of Europe – ask our experts about exploring the surprising region of Central Asia and you could be introduced to Azerbaijan’s buzzing city of Baku, itself a stark contrast to the archaic surrounding villages or Georgia, with its wonderful Black Sea coast.