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Expert: Janet Clare Janet Clare

Textile Traditions of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is on many a textile lover’s bucket list. Situated in the centre of Asia and on the Silk Road, one of the world’s most important historical trading routes linking China to the Mediterranean, Uzbekistan offers a smorgasbord of culture and colour and a fascinating textile history.  On this tour, we’ll see examples of local craftsmanship in embroidery, ikat fabrics, carpets and silks and enjoy an embroidery workshop with a local expert as well as three hand-stitching workshops with our accompanying expert.  There’ll be plenty of opportunity for some retail therapy too, as we enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas of the markets and bazaars throughout our journey.

15 days from £3,999pp Departure Dates

Your Tour Includes

  • Return economy class flight from London (via Istanbul), 1 piece of checked baggage included
  • 13 nights half-board accommodation
  • 3 hand-sewing workshops with our expert, kit included
  • Take part in a workshop at Alisher Nazrullayev’s embroidery studio
  • Masterclass in suzani embroidery with a local expert
  • Tour accompanied by our textile expert throughout
  • Services of an Arena Travel Tour Manager
Experts
Janet Clare

Janet Clare

Janet Clare is an artist, textile designer, teacher, author, quilter and all-round creative thinker. She is inspired by words, sayings and lovely phrases that she comes across and also by children and the joy they find in the mundane.

Janet has created a range of quilt and stitchery patterns, written five books and designed eight fabric collections in collaboration with Moda. Her products retail in quilt shops across the UK and in her online ETSY store, as well as featuring on Create and Craft TV, where Janet presents a live show once a month. Her work features frequently in patchwork and quilting publications and as an experienced speaker and teacher, she regularly hosts talks and workshops at quilt shops, guilds and in her own studio focusing on the design process and the creative techniques she uses.


Pat Archibald

Pat Archibald

Pat is a UK textile artist and tutor based in Edinburgh. Her fascination for fabric began in her childhood when she discovered her grandmother’s scrap bag bursting at the seams with exotic fabrics and by the age of 11, she had created her first piece of patchwork. Throughout her creative career, Pat has exhibited her work worldwide, won some wonderful awards and even established Scotland’s first dedicated patchwork and quilting shop.

Pat loves to travel both around her home country as well as further afield. As her own horizons grow literally, then so too do the experiences that she can then express in her quilt making. She feels that each collection of quilts has its own unique identity and captures the essence of her view of the country or city.


Itinerary

Overview

Meet your textile expert and Arena Travel Tour Manager at London airport for your overnight flight to Tashkent, via Istanbul. Tashkent is the capital and largest city in Uzbekistan. Dinner and overnight in Tashkent.

Includes Dinner

Overview

We will be met by our local guide and transfer to our hotel. After some time to freshen up, we’ll visit the Applied Art Museum; home to over 7,000 examples of embroidery, skull caps, jewellery and other examples of craftsmanship from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day.   Later this afternoon we’ll enjoy our first hand-sewing workshop with our expert. Dinner and overnight in Tashkent.

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Workshop

Overview

This morning we’ll travel by train to Kokand, one of the ancient cities of Uzbekistan, and crossroads of two of the main ancient trade routes into the Fergana Valley. On arrival we’ll enjoy a city tour. Highlights will include Khudoyer Khan Palace and Juma Mosque. Built in 1871, Khudoyer Khan Palace is staggeringly grand. Originally consisting of 7 courtyards and 119 rooms, sadly only 2 of the courtyards and 19 rooms have survived. Our tour will continue to Dangara, where we’ll visit a wood carver’s and Rishtan, one of the oldest and most famous centres of ceramics in Uzbekistan.  Dinner and overnight in Kokand.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Kokand

Overview

We start the day with an excursion to Margilan which by the end of the 9th Century was already an important stop on the Silk Road. We’ll enjoy a tour of the city including: - Said Akhamad-Khoja Madrasah, which is now home to numerous craftsmen producing handmade carpets and silk - Yodgorlik Silk Factory, where we’ll see the production process of silk with traditional Ikat patterns. The factory was established in 1972 and today the staff number around 450 people, most of them women. Every month the factory produces up to 6000 metres of fabric, including pure silk and half-silk fabric - Hunarmandchilik Markazi craft centre Dinner and overnight in Kokand.

Includes Breakfast

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Margilan home to handmade carpets and silks

Overview

This morning we return to Tashkent where we’ll continue our city tour, including:  - Amir Temur Square, the true heart of the city - Independence Square: the largest square in Tashkent, more like a park than a square, with several monuments and fountains and filled with trees and flowerbeds. - Prince Romanov’s Former Palace - Alishger Navoi Theatre, one of the leading centres of performing arts in Central Asia - Akbar Rahimov’s Pottery School, where we’ll see how the products are made and enjoy tea and oriental sweets. The school began in the mid-20th century and is now run by the founder’s son and grandson Dinner and overnight in Tashkent.

Includes Breakfast

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Included Highlights

Amir Temur Square

Overview

We fly to Urgench this morning and continue by road to Khiva. Khiva was the first site in Uzbekistan to be inscribed in the World Heritage List. Our city tour today will include:  - Kalte Minor, a large blue tower in the central city square - Madrassah Amin Khan, which is now a hotel - Madrassah Muhammed Rahimkhan, now a museum of literature and history - Kunya Ark (old fortress) - Juma Mosque - Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum: shrine of Khiva’s patron saint and the holiest site in Khiva. The interior displays an array of Khiva’s famed woodcarving, ceramic painted decoration, metalwork and inlay craft traditions - Islam Khoja Minaret and Madrassah, the smallest madrassah in Khiva but the highest minaret at 57 metres - Tash Hovli Palace - Madrassah Allakuli Khan, now a restaurant We'll visit the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) for the development of local handicrafts. Here we’ll see tie-dyeing, carpet making, and wood carving. We’ll also visit a silk carpet manufacturer which is under UNESCO sponsorship, which produces high-quality silk carpets and embroidered textiles using ancient designed from the Timurid dynasty taken from floor tiles and doors in the city. Dinner and overnight in Khiva.

Includes Breakfast

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Included Highlights

Kalte Minor

Overview

Today we travel by train to Bukhara, Uzbekistan’s fifth largest city. Bukhara’s historic centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   Bukhara is also a centre for local artisans and during our stay here we will be able to watch many of them at work on a variety of handicrafts including colourful Suzani products and gold embroidery as well as other forms of textiles, clothing, carpets and costumes. Dinner and overnight in Bukhara.

Includes Breakfast

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Detailed hats

Overview

Our tour of Bukhara will include:  - Bukhara Artisan Development Centre - Colourful local markets where the Caravan Saray (trade domes) and former madrassahs offer splendid embroidery work, textiles, clothing, jewellery, carpets, costumes, spices and other Silk Road treasures - Chor Minor: an historic gatehouse for a now destroyed madrassah - Poi Kalyan complex: an Islamic religious complex centred around the Kalan minaret, which dominates the historic centre of the city - Ulugbeg Madrassah, today the museum of history of the restoration of the architectural monuments in Bukhara - Abdulazizkhan Madrassah, now the museum of woodcarving - Silk Market - Labi Hauz complex, the area surrounding one of the few remaining hauz (pond) in the city, which served as a source of water. The ponds were notorious for spreading disease and were mostly filled in during the 1920s and 1930s. The Labi Hauz complex survived because it is the centre piece of a magnificent architectural ensemble - Bobokul’s studio, where we’ll see the traditional way of producing and colouring silk This evening we’ll dine at Akbar House, located in the historical Jewish quarter, where we’ll see a demonstration of cooking plov, a rice pilaf with meat, carrots, onions and spices. Overnight in Bukhara.

Includes Breakfast

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Included Highlights

Labi Hauz complex

Overview

This morning we’ll take an excursion to Gijduvan. From ancient times, Gijduvan was known as a centre for handicrafts due to its proximity to the Silk Road. Caravans on the Silk Road stayed here overnight before continuing to India and China. Here we’ll take part in an embroidery workshop at Alisher Nazrullayev’s house.   On our return to Bukhara we’ll enjoy a herbal tea tasting and fashion show at Retro Saloon Timur, followed by a hand-sewing workshop with our expert at the hotel.  Dinner and overnight in Bukhara.

Includes Breakfast

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The Silk Road

Overview

Today is dedicated to learning about local suzani embroidery. The name is taken from the Persian word *suzan*, meaning needle. We’ll visit the house of Toshev Rakhmon Buranovich, a local master in this style of embroidery, for an embroidery masterclass. We’ll also visit the gold embroidery factory in Bukhara, whose products include carpets, curtains, chapans (quilted dressing gowns), headdresses, caskets, handbags, purses and shoes.   In the afternoon we’ll take an excursion to Sitori-I-Mokhi Khosa, the summer residence of the last emir of Bukhara. We’ll see the last emir’s collection of gifts, Chinese porcelain, Russian cut glass and crystal vases, as well as his rich collection of local suzani embroidery.   Dinner and overnight in Bukhara.

Includes Breakfast

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Sitori-I-Mokhi Khosa

Overview

Our tour of Bukhara continues with visits to:  - Ark fortress: initially built and occupied around 5th century, the ark encompassed a town that was inhabited by the various royal courts that held sway over the surrounding region. The Ark remained a fortress until it fell to Russia in 1920 and currently houses museums covering its history - Bolo Hauz mosque, built in 1712 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - Ismail Samani mausoleum built in the 10th century the mausoleum is an iconic example of early Islamic architecture. It was built as the resting place of the powerful and influential Islamic Samani family dynasty that ruled from approximately 900 to 1000 - Chashmai Ayub, meaning Job's well, is named according to the legend in which Job (Ayub) visited this place and made a well by striking the ground with his staff - Magokki Attori mosque, used as a carpet museum This afternoon travel by train to Samarkand. Samarkand is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia. The city prospered from its location on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean and in the 14th century became the capital of the empire of Tamerlane.  Dinner and overnight in Samarkand.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Ark fortress

Overview

Our full day in Samarkand includes:   - Ragistan Square, the centrepiece of the city. There are three madrassahs framing the square, Madrassah Ulugbek, Madrassah Sher-Dor and Madrassah Tillya-Kori - Happy Bird Handicraft Centre, where we can meet with local artists and shop for souvenirs - Meros silk paper mill, restored by well-known masters the Mukhtarov brothers. Thanks to their efforts an ancient tradition based on old Samarkand technologies has been revived. The production process is manual, and we’ll be able to observe this during paper making and bread baking masterclass. The area surrounding the mill is very picturesque, with shady trees, the Siab river and a small tea house serving delicious pilaf and fruits - Gur Emir Mausoleum, the tomb of Tamerlane, his sons, and grandsons Dinner and overnight in Samarkand.

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The three Madrassah's

Overview

We start the day with an excursion to Urgut bazaar, one of the few remaining traditional bazaars where people from the countryside sell their homemade produce. On our return to Samarkand we’ll visit the former family home of Avraham Kalantarov, a wealthy Jewish merchant. The building now houses a museum.   Hand sewing workshop with our expert at the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Samarkand.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Urugut bazaar

Overview

During our final morning in Samarkand we’ll visit:  - Fine Art Museum of Samarkand, housing a fine collection of textiles - Afrosiab Museum, dedicated to the history of the city - Shakhi Zinda necropolis, the burial place of royal persons and nobles - El Merosi theatre of historical costumes, where we’ll see costumes from different historical periods - Aisha textile, famous for the manufacture of natural silk fabrics under the leadership of Valentina Romanenko. A large variety of products are presented here including contemporary works decorated with hand-embroidery, ancient costumes, traditional Uzbek suzani, suits made of silk for evening dress and business meetings Dinner and overnight in Samarkand.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Afrosiab Museum

Overview

Time to say farewell to Uzbekistan as we travel to Samarkand airport for our return flight via Istanbul *Please Note: This tour involves some long coach journeys of up to 8 hours. A good degree of mobility is required due to the amount of walking involved on some of the visits.*

Includes Breakfast

Perfect for Textile Lovers

Perfect for Textile Lovers

Uniquely created for textile lovers, this Stitchtopia textile holiday is the perfect way to discover fascinating fabrics and cultures, whilst travelling to some of the world’s most inspiring places. Our talented stitching expert will be on hand throughout the holiday and host creative workshops with beautifully designed projects inspired by your travels.

Accommodation

You will be staying on the Inspira S, Tashkent 3-star for 4 nights, Asmald Palace, Kokand 2-star for 2 nights, Sasha & Son, Bukhara 3-star for 4 nights, Orient star, Khiva 4-star fr 1 night and at the Royal Hotel, Samarkand 5 star for 4 nights. 

Sasha & Son

This 3-star boutique hotel, a former Jewish merchant’s house dating back to the 16th Century, offers a homely atmosphere within just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of Bukhara.

Hotel Facilities

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Room
  • TV
  • Tea and Coffee Making Facilities
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe Box
  • Air Conditioning
  • Fridge
  • Bath
  • Telephone
  • Free Wifi
General
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
Service
  • Laundry Service
Hotel
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • WiFi Available
Additional Information

Hotel Inspira S

The 3-star Hotel Inspira S. seamlessly combines elegance, sophistication and modern design and is ideally located within walking distance of the famous Chorsu Bazaar. Facilities include a restaurant and bar, along with a spa, including massage rooms, Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, and a gym.

Asmald Palace

This 4-star hotel is ideally located just a few minutes' walk from the main sights of the city. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool with gym, a restaurant and lovely landscaped garden.

Orient Star

The Orient Star Hotel occupies a former madrasa in the heart of Khiva’s walled city. The building has been expertly restored using gorgeous, glazed tilework and traditional mud bricks.

Royal Hotel

The Royal Hotel offers an unforgettable stay with warm hospitality and quality service and is ideally located very close to the main attractions in the city.