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The highlights of this trip are the natural and human landscapes of central Asia, the cities of the Silk Road, the khanates of the steppes.
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  1. AZERBAJAN (2)
  2. Batu
  3. IRAN (3)
  4. see this page
  5. Tabriz
  6. Mashad
  8. +Mes Aynak (5,000 year-old city, 40 km southeast of Kabul)
  9. West: ++Minaret of Jam (13th c)
  10. Herat: ++Friday mosque, +Musalla minaret, Bala Hissar citadel of 1305, Gawhar Shad mausoleum (1438), Gazurgah, +Khoja tomb in Gazar Gah (1425)
  11. East: Jalalabad with ++Ahin Posh stupa (2nd century AD)
  12. Ghazna/Ghazni (south of Kabul): +Masud III tower, +city walls
  13. Bamiyan (two great Buddhas, destroyed by the Taliban in 2001)
  14. Shahr-i-Zohak fortress (near Bamiyan)
  15. Mazar-i Sharif: +Hazret Ali mausoleum ("blue mosque")
  16. UZBEKISTAN (3)
  17. Termez: Hakim al Ternezi mausoleum, nearby ruins
  18. Shahrisabz, 90km south of Samarkand (birthplace of Amir Timur, Ak Saray summer place, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque of 1437, Doru Tilovat, Sheikh Shamsuddin Kulal of 1374)
  19. ++Bukhara (++47m Kalyan minaret of 1127, +Miri-Arab madrasah of 1535, +Ismail Samani mausoleum of 907, Chashma Ayub, Mosque Maghak-i Attari, Hazret Bahauddin Nakshbandi, Char Minar, Minar-i Kalam), +hotel Emir ($15, near Lyabi Kanz)
  20. ++Samarkand (+++Registan, ++Ulug Beg madrasah of 1420, Bib Khanym mosque of 1404, Gur Emir mausoleum of 1403, Shah-i Zinda complex of 14th century, Madrasa Shir Dor), +hotel Furqat ($15, near Registan)
  21. TAJIKISTAN (2)
  22. Pamir highway to Pendzhikent/Penjikent, 70 kms from Samarkand (old Bunjikath of the Sogdian empire, 45m wall painting)
  23. Dushambe Khojand (ancient Alexandria Eschate)


Trip Difficulty: moderate
Season: Spring or Fall
Length: 31 days
  • Best time to visit Afghanistan is september to november
  • Visas (one of the few regions of the world where visas are considerably easier if you are a USA citizen):
    • Afghanistan:
    • Uzbekistan: difficult and expensive
    • Iran: easy but expensive
    • Tajikstan: