The human occupation of Central Asia dates back to the late Pleistocene Epoch approximately 25,000 to 35,000 years ago. In the 6th century CE the first Turkic people established an empire that lasted for two centuries and greatly influenced the region’s subsequent ethnic character. The region was gradually Islamized beginning in the 11th–12th century, a process that was virtually complete by the 15th century. The Mongols took over almost all of Central Asia in the 13th century, and their rule in the form of various independent khanates lasted until the conquests of Timur (Tamerlane) about 1400. Following the breakup of his dynasty, southern Central Asia became divided into several rival khanates that were ruled by his descendants.
This in-depth visit to the five ‘Stans offers a rare and exciting view into the cultural personalities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Admire masterpieces of Islamic architecture, interact with locals in vibrant bazaars and witness the daily life of these countries — visiting eight awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way.