April 27-May 12, 2019
We invite you to join us as we explore the
heritage of Uzbekistan in Spring 2018!
This fascinating Central Asian nation is on the
ancient Silk Road, the trade route between China
and the Mediterranean a millennia ago. In ancient
times, it was a predominantly Persian speaking
region, with cities such as Samarkand growing
rich from the Silk Road.
Uzbekistan is covered by the vast red desert of
Kyzyl Kum, oases, and river valleys plunging
from the mountains. To the northwest is the Aral
Sea, and to the southwest mountains which reach
The area was first inhabited by Iranian
nomads in the 1st millennium BC; Alexander the
Great conquered the area in 327 BC. By the 5th
century, Bukhara and Samarkand were important
In the 8th century, Uzbek scholars set the
foundation for the Muslim Renaissance. Among
their accomplishments were the development of
trigonometry in its modern form, and advances in
optics, astronomy, poetry, geography, and others.
In 1380, Timur (Tamerlane) emerged as the ruler
for the area, including Iran, Mesopotomia, Asia
Minor, and more. He initiated the last flowering of
the region bringing many artisans and scholars to
create a rich Perso-Islamic culture.
Samarkand is renowned for its spectacular
Islamic architecture, as is Registan, a plaza
bordered by ornate, blue mosaic-covered religious
schools from the 15th to 17th centuries. The area
was incorporated into the Russian Empire during
the 19th century, and was linked to Russia until
independence in 1991.
The rich heritage of Uzbekistan will enchant
you. We hope you will join us as we explore this
Margaret M. Betchart
President, Betchart Expeditions Inc.
for AAAS, Sigma Xi, ACS & the Planetary Society
$4,295 plus air