Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey
Caspian Odyssey -
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Caspian Odyssey
12 days, 11 nights
Bucket list journey from Yerevan to Almaty from only £14,350

Explore the countries on both the eastern and western shores of the Caspian Sea – Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. With their location at the crossroads of trade, religion, language and the arts, these countries are home to fascinating modern cultures as well as some of the world’s most ancient and timeless architecture.

The Golden Eagle Train is an exclusive way to truly take in the vastness and varying cultures of the Silk Road countries. It is the ultimate in luxury train travel and allows you to choose an accommodation option to suit your budget; select from Gold, Silver or Imperial.

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The Route

YEREVAN • Lake Sevan • Tbilisi • Gori • Uplistsikhe • Mtskheta • Baku • Cross the Caspian Sea • Ashgabat • Darvaza Gas Crater • Khiva • Bukhara • Samarkand • Tashkent • ALMATY

Yerevan
Yerevan
The Yerevan skyline is dominated by Mount Ararat in nearby Turkey, with its snow covered peak towering in the distance. Yerevan has a rich history and was occupied as early as 6,000 BC.
Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan
Set 1900m above sea level, the Lake Sevan is the largest lake in the Caucasus and one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world.
Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Hemmed in by the Surami Range, the beautiful city of Tbilisi extends for 17 miles (27 km) along the banks of the River Kura. Its fascinating historical sites include the 13th century Metekhi church, the 5th century Sioni Cathedral, the main church of Tbilisi, Holy Trinity Cathedral, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, the Great Hall of the Georgian Philharmonia, the Janashia Museum of Georgia.
Gori
Gori
Gori is one of the oldest cities in Georgia, founded in the 7th century AD as Tontio. Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, was born here in 1879 and he spent his childhood years in the city and later (1888-94) studied at its theological seminary. The small house where Stalin was born is preserved under a canopy outside the huge columned palace-like building that houses the Stalin Museum. To the side of the museum is Stalin’s private railway carriage.
Baku
Baku
Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, lies on the western shore of the Caspian Sea and the southern side of the Apsheron Peninsula, around the wide, curving sweep of the Bay of Baku. The bay, sheltered by the islands of the Baku Archipelago, provides the best harbour of the Caspian Sea, while the Apsheron Peninsula gives protection from violent northerly winds. Baku derives its international importance from its huge oil industry. The walled old town is highly picturesque, with its maze of narrow alleys and ancient buildings, such as the Palace of the Shirvan-Shahs and the Synyk-Kala Minaret and Mosque.
Ashgabat
Ashgabat
The grandiose desert city of Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, is a dreamscape in white marble, an oasis of opulence on a terrain. Situated between the Kara Kum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, Ashgabat has a population of about 400,000.
Darvaza
Darvaza
Darvaza's famous gas burning crater is a spectacular sight best seen at night. Located in the middle of the Kara Kum desert where the area is rich in natural gas, the 70 metre wide crater is known by the locals as the 'Door to Hell' and has been burning for over 40 years.
Khiva
Khiva
Khiva, the pearl of eastern middle age architecture, lies 25 kilometers south of present-day Urgench. According to the legends Khiva was founded by a son of Noah, Shem when he dug a well in the middle of the desert. According to the archeologists Khiva was founded in the 5th or 4th centuries B.C. and was a key trading post on the Silk Road.
Bukhara
Bukhara
Situated in the middle of the Kyzyl Kum desert, Bukhara features about one thousand monuments, which recall the halcyon days of the Great Silk Road. Foreign spices, furs and especially silk fabrics were stored and handled in the caravansaries. The old city is an UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site which features stunning Kaljan Minaret and the Labi-Hauz Ensemble.
Samarkand
Samarkand
The historic town of Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world's cultures. Founded in the 7th century B.C. as ancient Afrasiab, Samarkand had its most significant development in the Timurid period from the 14th to the 15th centuries. The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, as well as Ulugh-Beg's Observatory (UNESCO)
Tashkent
Tashkent
Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, is the largest city in Central Asia. The first mention of Tashkent dates from the 7th century A.D., although it was probably founded by the 1st century B.C. It is located in an oasis near the Chirchik River in a fertile cotton- and fruit-growing region. Tashkent is a very attractive city. The roots of the rich Uzbek culture shine through the city’s architecture, museums and vibrant cultural life.
Almaty
Almaty
Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan, and is still its largest city. Being a financial and cultural center of Central Asia, Almaty offers plenty of entertainment and cultural opportunities and is a wonderful gateway to this distinctive and hospitable country.
Kazan
Kazan
Situated on the River Volga, Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan famous for its rich tapestry of history and culture. One of its highlights is the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel is a stunning mosque and onion-domed cathedral.
Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk is situated in the south part of West Siberia, on the banks of Ob River. The city takes the third place by population in Russia after Moscow and St Petersburg. It's a center of Russian arts, science and literature. 14 most prestigiuos universities of the country are located here. In the heart of the city there is an architectural marvel -the largest opera house in the world.
Sergiev Posad
Sergiev Posad
Sergiev Posad, home to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia, is the historical and spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Vladivostok
Vladivostok
Vladivostok, a military port located on the western shores of the Sea of Japan, is home to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. Due to its military importance, the city was closed to foreigners between 1930 and 1992. Vladivostok (literally translated as ‘Ruler of the East’) offers visitors an interesting opportunity to explore its principal military attractions including a visit to a preserved World War Two submarine.
Terelj National Park
Terelj National Park
Terelj National Park is arguably the most popular destination in Mongolia. Be awestuck by Turtle Rock, an amazing, unique natural rock formation, and take in the breathtaking surrounding alpine scenery.
Mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi
Mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi
The magnificent Mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi is the vast, brightly tiled testament to power and beauty that UNESCO have made a World Heritage site and the Kazakhs revere as their national icon.
Xian
Xian
Xian, the ancient capitals of 13 dynasties, is home to numerous historical and culture sites, such as the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Street, Mount, enchanting Huaqing Hot Spring and many more.
Turpan
Turpan
Turpan is the location where the Flaming Mountains create a magnificent backdrop. Among the highlights are the ancient underground irrigation system and the Museum of Turpan with its 5,000 artefacts.
Kara Kum
Kara Kum
The Karakum desert is Central Asia’s hottest desert. Despite its temperatures and scarce vegetation its home to a few yurt villages. Desert's Darvaza Gas Craters, one of which is burning, is one of Turkmenistan’s most unusual sights.
Samanid Mausoleum
Samanid Mausoleum
The Samanid mausoleum is considered to be one of the most highly esteemed work of Central Asian architecture, and was built between 892 and 943 CE as the resting-place of Ismail Samani - a powerful and influential amir of the Samanid dynasty, one of the last native Persian dynasties that ruled in Central Asia in the 9th and 10th centuries. The mausoleum also houses the remains of his father Ahmed and nephew Nasr, as well as the remains of other members of the Samanid dynasty.
Shakhrisabz
Shakhrisabz
The historic centre of Shakhrisyabz contains a collection of exceptional monuments and ancient quarters which bear witness to the city's secular development, and particularly to the period of its apogee, under the rule of Amir Temur and the Temurids, in the 15th-16th century (UNESCO)
Shiraz
Shiraz
Head to Shiraz, the city of poets, and the lush greenery of a UNESCO World Heritage site: the Persian paradise gardens. Stroll past ornamental pools and date palms at the famous Eram Garden, or visit another of the several historic gardens, all offering their unique flavor of paradise.
Pasargadae
Pasargadae
An ancient city of the Persian kings. Go to Pasargadae, the capital created by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC. His simple tomb watches over the remnants of this long-gone civilization.
Isfahan
Isfahan
Isfahan is one of the most magnificent cities of the 17th century. Standing in the middle of the vast Imam Square, the second-largest public space on Earth and one of its most beautiful, it’s easy to understand how this UNESCO World Heritage site became known as image of the world by its many admirers. Explore the city, tempted by the charm and wares of the merchants and gold market. Be sure not to miss the Si-o-seh Pol at dusk, with this iconic bridge’s 33 arches glowing gold and spanning the Zayandeh River.
Yazd
Yazd
This city’s remote location has kept it an important center for Zoroastrianism. You discover more about this ancient faith at a tower of silence once used for funeral rites, and at a traditional fire temple, where one ritual flame has burned for over 1,500 years.
Mashhad
Mashhad
Iran’s second city Mashhad is one of the seven holy sites of Shiite Islam. Tour the majestic shrine of Imam Reza, an important pilgrimage site. Decorated with the finest marbles and topped with a golden dome and minarets, this complex is a wonder to behold.
Tehran
Tehran
Tehran is the capital city of Iran. A bustling metropolis of 14 million people, it is situated at the foot of the towering Alborz mountain range. It is a cosmopolitan city, with great museums, parks, restaurants, warm friendly people.
Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Discover Crescent Lake, hidden amongst the towering sand dunes and it has sustained life in this region for millennia. In the small oasis city of Dunhuang visit the fascinating Magao Thousand Buddha Cave Complex. This impressive site contains almost 500 grottoes, carved between 700 and 1,700 years ago. Inside there is an amazing collection of beautiful sculptures and murals depicting the evolution of Buddhist religious art over 1,000 years.
Volgograd
Volgograd
Volgograd is one of the most beautiful ancient cities of Russia, established in 1589. Known as Stalingrad during the Soviet period, the city was almost completely destroyed in World War II before becoming recognised as the turning point for victory. Take a city tour and observe the abundance of monuments in memorial of the Battle of Stalingrad and ascend the magnificent Mamayev Kurgan where the majestic statue Mother Russia rises 33 metres into the sky.
Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
One of the world's seven wonders, the Great Wall of China runs like a 5000 miles ribbon through the country. China's first emperor, Qin, started the construction of the wall in the 3rd century BC and it crook 1800 years to build. It is one of the oldest, largest, and most celebrated achievements of human ingenuity.
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is considered the most holy of Beijing's imperial temples and is absolutely unique. Since mid-15th century it is where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would make offerings to heaven and pray for good harvests.
Beijing
Beijing
Beijing guarantees its visitors an unforgettable adventure. Being the nation's political, economic and cultural center, and having its history stretching back 3 millennia, Beijing offers a myriad of cultural hot spots. It is truly a place where you can stand right on the crossroads of time.
Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk stretched along the western shore of Lake Onega – the second largest lake in Europe. It is one the major cultural and industrial centres of North-West Russia and is the capital of the Republic of Karelia.
Ulaanbataar
Ulaanbataar
Ulaanbataar is a Mongolia's economic, cultural and political center. Located on the bank of the Tuul River and surrounded by sacred mountains and pine forests on the North and grassy steppes on the South. Ulaanbaatar is a city of contrast where modern life comfortably blends with Mongolian traditional lifestyle.
Ulan-Ude
Ulan-Ude
The Buryat capital is one of Eastern Siberia’s most fascinating cities. From 1934 to 1980s it was a closed city due to its secret military plants - in fact, there are still mysterious blank spaces on city maps. Today it offers a variety of cultural hot spots, a chance to visit working Buddhist monasteries and sample a taste of the steppes.
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of the Pearl of Siberia. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 20% of the world’s freshwater. It stretches for 636 km longwise and 80 km widthwise. The Baikal’s maximum depth is 1,637 m. It is known as a "laboratory of biodiversity" as it is home to nearly 3,000 species of animals and plants, many of which are found nowhere else, such as a unique breed of freshwater seal.
Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk, capital of South Baikal, is one of the largest Siberian cities and was a key stop for caravans from Buchara and even China. Today Irkutsk became a center of gold-mining production and is developing fast. In the city you can discover unique examples of Irkutsk architectural heritage, such as “White house”, which was first a palace of the merchants Sibiryakovs, then a residence of East Siberia governor-general.
Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg
Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is the third largest Russian city and the capital of the Urals. The cultural and architectural influences of European and Asian civilisations come together in this fascinating and cosmopolitan landscape. The last Russian Emperor, Nicolas II Romanov and his family spent their last days here. On 19th July 1918 the whole family was executed by the Bolsheviks in the basement room of the Ipatiev’s estate. Nowadays there is the Cathedral On Spilt Blood which provides a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.
Moscow
Moscow
A truly iconic, global city, Moscow is the 860 year-old capital of Russia. There are dozens of reasons to come. Being one of the most breathtaking capitals in the world, Moscow has a wide range of cultural landmarks. We suggest exploring them all.
St Petersburg
St Petersburg
St Petersburg is a former Russian capital and a stunning city, crowded with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, wide boulevards, beautiful bridges and is renowned as the Ballet Capital of the World.
Kirkenes
Kirkenes
This small town is located north east in Northern Norway, close to the Russian border and is the capital of the Barents Region. Among popular tourist activities are snow hotels under the northern lights, dog sledding or fishing for king crabs along the Russian border.
Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is located halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As the main city of the Kola Peninsula, it started as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. In 1916, under pressure from the British to establish a support port, Murmansk was founded. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the port is ice-free year-round and is the homeport to Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers.
Kizhi
Kizhi
Kizhi Museum Reserve is one of Russia’s unmissable attractions and by far the most visited of Lake Onega’s 1600+ islands. It is home to dozens of the 18th- and 19th-century wooden buildings which were moved here from Karelian villages during Soviet times. The true marvel is the wooden Church of the Transfiguration (the church of twenty-two wooden domes) built in 1714 without the use of a single nail which has survived the challenges of Russian winters and revolution.
Suzdal
Suzdal
Suzdal is the heart and soul of the Golden Ring. Being one of Russia’s most perfectly preserved walled cities dating back to 1024 it is an open-air museum of more than 200 ancient monuments. It offers a unique combination of genuine antiquity, unique spirit of Slavic traditions, mesmerising architecture and truly holy places.
Vladimir
Vladimir
The ancient city of Vladimir is one of the most visited among the Golden Ring destinations. It was established in 1108 before Moscow and was once the capital of Russia. It preserves several of the finest architectural masterpieces, such as the Cathedral of Saint Demetrius, the Nativity monastery with the white church, Kniaginin monastery and the Assumption Cathedral.
Mariinsky Theatre
Mariinsky Theatre
The Mariinsky Theatre is a historic theatre of opera and ballet in Saint Petersburg. For more than two centuries the Mariinsky Theatre has been presenting the world with a plethora of great artistes, such as Fyodor Chaliapin, Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and many more. Please get in touch with our Destination Experts to order tickets for one of its illustrious ballet and opera performances.
Catherine Palace & Amber Room
Catherine Palace & Amber Room
In the quaint village of Pushkin, on the outskirts of St Petersburg, lies one of the most impressive and iconic buildings in Russia; Catherine’s Palace. The pastel exterior is flamboyantly embellished with gold accents and the interior is far from modestly decorated! The palace is home to the famous Amber Room with its mysterious past which our guides will tell you all about. The residence was destroyed in World War II and has been under construction ever since.
Hermitage
Hermitage
Lose yourself amongst the treasures of one of Russia’s best known sights and arguably the largest collection of fine art in the world. Masterpieces from artists such as Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Kandinsky make the Hermitage an unforgettable visit.
Tretyakov Art Gallery
Tretyakov Art Gallery
Named after its founder, Pavel Tretyakov, this gallery is one of the greatest museums in the world and is a must see for art lovers. The Tretyakov Gallery is made up entirely of Russian art and contains more than 130,000 displays spanning from the 11th century to the early 20th. Our knowledgeable guides will take you to the most popular exhibits and will inform you about the artists and the pieces themselves.
The Bolshoi Theatre
The Bolshoi Theatre
Moscow has one of the best theatre production companies in the world – the famous Bolshoi Theatre. It is a symbol of Russia for all time. It was awarded this honour due to the major contribution it made to the history of the Russian performing arts. This history is on-going and today Bolshoi Theatre artists continue to contribute to it many bright pages. Get in touch with our Destination Experts to order tickets for one of its illustrious ballet and opera performances.
St Basil's Cathedral
St Basil's Cathedral
St Basil’s Cathedral is one of the most recognisable buildings in the world and is an iconic symbol of Moscow. A true architectural wonder, the cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 1500’s and is lavishly decorated with vivid bold colours, striking patterns and shapes. The building is made up of nine churches connected by a web of narrow corridors; each church is lavishly decorated with intricate frescoes; however the exterior of the building is equally as impressive with its famous colourful onion domes! A common myth is that once the building was complete, Ivan had the architects blinded to be sure that they never build anything as beautiful again.
The Red Square
The Red Square
Stepping onto Red Square never fails to inspire. In old Russian "red" stood for the word ‘beautiful’, and the square lives up to the original meaning of its word. The architectural marvels of the St Basil's Cathedral and the Museum of History, the grandeur of the Kremlin and the Mausoleum are among the key impressions the Square has to offer.
Armoury Chamber
Armoury Chamber
A world-wide known treasure house displaying an exquisite collection of more than 4000 unique Russian artefacts including the world famous Faberge egg collection and royal carriages which once transported the great tsars and their families.
Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin

Discover the treasures that lie in wait for you behind the walls of Moscow’s most famous landmark: the almighty Kremlin! Home to a myriad of the city’s most exquisite cathedrals and monuments, as well as the official residence of President Putin himself, the Kremlin remains a political landmark in Russia and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.

Maps

Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey

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YEREVAN TO ALMATY

DAY 1, YEREVAN, ARMENIA
2013 10 06 12 34 49 yerevan

Upon arrival at Yerevan International Airport you will be met and transferred to the centrally-located Armenia Marriott Hotel (or similar), where we stay for one night. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at our hotel, whilst you meet your fellow travellers and look forward to the journey across six countries of the South Caucasus region and Central Asia.

Why not extend your stay in Yerevan with additional nights before the tour to explore more of the city and region at your leisure?

DAY 2, YEREVAN, ARMENIA

The Yerevan skyline is dominated by Mount Ararat in nearby Turkey, with its snow covered peak towering in the distance. Yerevan has a rich history and was occupied as early as 6,000 BC. The fortress of Erebuni was erected there in the 8th century BC. Seized by a succession of conquerors, the city later passed back and forth between the Turks and the Persians until 1827, when it was taken by Russia. It became the capital of Soviet Armenia in 1920 and following the demise of the Soviet Union, the capital of the new nation of Armenia.

Our day's touring will take us 23 miles (37 km) out of Yerevan to the ancient Geghard Monastery. The beautiful monastery contains a number of churches and tombs, many of them cut into the rock. The complex of medieval architecture is set into a landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at the head of the Azat Valley.

We’ll also visit the 1st Century pagan temple of Garni, built to worship the Sun God Mitra. We’ll explore the remains of an ancient fortress, palace and baths there. Back in Yerevan city we’ll visit the Cascade giant stairway and inside it the Casfejian Museum of Modern Art.

In the evening we board our Golden Eagle private train and start our rail adventure to Almaty.

DAY 3, LAKE SEVAN & DILIJAN, ARMENIA
2013 10 06 12 35 18 caspian2

Our train takes a scenic route today around the stunning Lake Sevan and we make a short stop to walk to the beach for a photo opportunity. Along with Lake Van and Lake Urmia, Sevan was considered one of the three great lakes of the historical Armenian Kingdom, collectively referred to as the Seas of Armenia; it is the only one within the boundaries of today’s Republic of Armenia.

We’ll continue to Dilijan to visit the nearby Monastery of Haghpat, built between the 10th and 14th centuries. Its beautiful location in dense wood in the gorges of two small mountain rivers make an atmospheric backdrop for St. Astvatsatsin Church, its most important building.

We’ll have an Armenian cognac reception at Avan Dzoraget Hotel on the Debed River, nestled among the forest-covered hills and rocky slopes of the Caucasus Mountains.

DAY 4, TBILISI, GEORGIA
2013 10 06 12 35 44 caspian4

Heading into Georgia, we visit Tbilisi. Hemmed in by the Surami Range, the city extends for 17 miles (27 km) along the banks of the River Kura. Despite the wars and fires which caused innumerable changes in the topography of Tbilisi, the old part of the city still retains much of its original layout, a spider’s web of narrow winding streets and alleyways.

Historical sites we visit include the 13th century Metekhi church, a cross cupola church which forms part of the Royal Residential complex, and the 5th century Sioni Cathedral, the main church of Tbilisi. We’ll also visit the recently built Holy Trinity Cathedral, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world and take a walking tour of the old town and Rustaveli Avenue. Here we will see the Great Hall of the Georgian Philharmonia, built in 1969-71, which has been acknowledged as one of the finest public buildings since the Second World War. We’ll see the treasures of the city housed in the Janashia Museum of Georgia.

DAY 5, TELAVI, GEORGIA
Today we explore the beautiful Kakheti region, which borders the Great Caucasus Mountain range. This region is known as a birthplace of Georgian viticulture and wine-making. We tour the Tsinandali country estate of the Alexandre Chavchavadze family with a marvellous garden, house-museum, park and winery dating back to the 19th century, located near Telavi, a couple of hours’ drive from Tbilisi.
DAY 6, GORI, UPLISTSIKHE CAVE CITY & MTSKHETA

2013 10 06 12 36 44 goriGori is one of the oldest cities in Georgia, founded in the 7th century AD as Tontio. Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, was born here in 1879 and he spent his childhood years in the city and later (1888-94) studied at its theological seminary. The small house where Stalin was born is preserved under a canopy outside the huge columned palace-like building that houses the Stalin Museum. To the side of the museum is Stalin’s private railway carriage. The museum is filled with interesting photographs of the man responsible for more deaths and suffering than any other human being. From the town we will go directly to Uplistsikhe where we will have a private performance of traditional Georgian polyphonic singing.

The famous cave city of Uplistsikhe dates from the 6th century BC and is first mentioned in the chronicles of the 1st century AD. Carved into rocky plateau we find huge echoing halls, meandering corridor-streets, chambers for pagan worship and even the remains of Georgia’s oldest theatre, complete with auditorium, stage and orchestra pit. Like the other cave-towns of Georgia, it is rooted in the prehistoric traditions of the peoples of the Near East. On one side the fortress was protected by the Mtkvari and an almost vertical rock face, on the other, by powerful fortifications. Its strategic position on the approaches to Gori and, in particular, its strong defences made it possible to control the surrounding terrain. There were numerous attempts to destroy Uplistsikhe. Only in the 13th century, however, did the hordes of Genghis Khan’s son Khulagu succeed in doing so, after capturing and destroying many fortresses in Transcaucasia with the help of siege machines. The 5,000 inhabitants of Uplistsikhe perished and life ended forever in the fortress.

Late afternoon we visit the city of Mtskheta, Georgia’s Old Capital. Due to its historical significance and numerous ancient monuments, Mtskheta became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

DAY 7, BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
2013 10 06 12 42 12 baku

Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, lies on the western shore of the Caspian Sea and the southern side of the Apsheron Peninsula, around the wide, curving sweep of the Bay of Baku. The bay, sheltered by the islands of the Baku Archipelago, provides the best harbour of the Caspian Sea, while the Apsheron Peninsula gives protection from violent northerly winds. Baku derives its international importance from its huge oil industry. The core of present-day Baku is the Old Town, or fortress, of Icheri-Shekher. Most of the walls, strengthened after the Russian conquest in 1806, survive, as does the 90 ft (27 m) tower of Kyz-Kalasy (Maiden Tower, 12th century). The walled old town is highly picturesque, with its maze of narrow alleys and ancient buildings. These include the Palace of the Shirvan-Shahs, now a museum, the oldest part of which dates from the 11th century. Also of the 11th century is the Synyk-Kala Minaret and Mosque (1078-79).

Other notable historic buildings are the Law Court (Divan-Khan), the Dzhuma-Mechet Minaret, and the mausoleum of the astronomer Seida Bakuvi. Around the walls of the fortress, the regular streets and imposing buildings of modern Baku rise up the slopes of the amphitheatre of hills surrounding the bay.

We stay at the five-star Four Seasons Baku for two nights, while our train is loaded on the ferry to cross the Caspian Sea.

DAY 8, BAKU, AZERBAIJAN

This morning we offer a Freedom of Choice tour to Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape. Located 40 miles (64 km) from Baku on the west bank of the Caspian Sea, Gobustan is an outstanding archaeological site of more than 6,000 pre-historic rock engravings. The area also features the remains of inhabited caves, settlements and burials. This is followed by lunch overlooking the Caspian Sea.

Returning to the city in the afternoon, you can choose to enjoy free time in the city or visit a local theatre. Dinner will be held in a traditional local restaurant this evening.

NB: Early morning our train is loaded onto a cargo ferry for a 12-14 hour crossing of the Caspian Sea from Baku to the town of Turkmenbashi. Formerly known as Krasnovodsk, it is the western terminus of oil and natural gas pipelines and of the Trans-Caspian Railway, which links the Caspian region with central Asia.

The cargo ferry has limited passenger facilities with basic cabins and catering, and the adventurous amongst the group can choose to travel on the ferry with our train. Upon arrival at the port at Turkmenbashi our train will be offloaded and you will travel overnight to Ashgabat (this option needs to be requested at the time of booking the tour).

DAY 9, ASHGABAT, TURKMENISTAN

2013 10 06 12 45 08 ashgabatFollowing breakfast we take a morning flight to Ashgabat. The capital of Turkmenistan is known as the ‘Las Vegas of the Kara Kum’. Situated between the Kara Kum desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, Ashgabat is a relatively modern city built upon the ruins of the Silk Road city of Konjikala and the Soviet city built after the devastating earthquake of 1948.

The city’s extravagant fountains, golden domes and towering modern buildings appear strangely incongruous in this desert setting. Highlights on our visit include a trip to the National Museum and Kipchak Mosque. Stay overnight in Oguzkent Sofitel hotel (or similar).

DAY 10, DARVAZA, TURMENISTAN
2013 10 06 12 43 39 caspian3The Golden Eagle makes a brief scheduled stop at Ichoguz, where we have the option to leave the train and make a short journey to Darvaza’s famous burning gas crater, a spectacular sight best seen at night. Located in the middle of the Kara Kum desert where the area is rich in natural gas, the 70 metre-wide crater is known by the locals as the ‘Door to Hell’ and has been burning for over 40 years. A unique experience that is not to be missed.
DAY 11, KHIVA, UZBEKISTAN
2013 10 06 12 45 32 khivaOur train travels towards Urgench, from where we transfer to the ancient city of Khiva, founded 2,500 years ago. As one of the Silk Road’s most important trading posts and now a World Heritage Site, it lies at the crossroads of the routes between Mongolia, Russia, China and Persia. A truly magnificent sight to behold, it rises out of the desert to reveal a wealth of impressive architecture. Stepping back in time, we discover its impressive mosques, bazaars and minarets within Khiva’s ancient walls.
DAY 12, BUKHARA, UZBEKISTAN
2013 10 06 12 46 43 silkroad7Bukhara is quite simply outstanding. Like Khiva, UNESCO sponsored the renovation of much of the city for its 2,500th anniversary in 1999. The most enjoyable aspect of this city is to just immerse oneself in the atmosphere of this unique and ancient city and re-live some of its fascinating history at the crossroads of Asia. The main highlight of this wonderful tour is a visit to The Ark, a fortified residence of the Emirs of Bukhara – the despotic and ruthless leaders who ruled until Soviet times. We then travel out of the city to experience the Emir’s enchantingly named, ‘Palace of the Moon and Stars’.
DAY 13, SAMARKAND, UZBEKISTAN

2013 10 06 12 47 17 silkroad3Just the mention of Samarkand instantly conjures up evocative images of the Silk Road, more so than any other town. Founded in the 6th century BC, Samarkand’s stunning architecture hints at its former status as one of the most important cities in Asia and is particularly noted for its architectural remains from the 14th to the 17th century, when it flourished as the fabled capital of the Mongol empire of Timur and his successors.

Today we will visit some of its most significant sites including Registan Square, the refined elegance of the beautifully proportioned Bibi Khanum Mosque and the Ulag Beg observatory, one of the earliest Islamic astronomical observatories built in 1428. Before dinner we will return to the now illuminated and awe-inspiring Registan Square.

DAY 14, TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN

Tashkent is the capital city of Uzbekistan and we spend time touring this modern Soviet-style city which was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1966. Our tour of the city includes the Old Town, where traditional homes and religious buildings line the narrow streets and here in a small library we’ll be privileged to see one of Islam’s most sacred relics – the world’s oldest Koran. This is followed by a visit to the Railway Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts.

This evening we enjoy our Farewell Dinner onboard the Golden Eagle as we head overnight to our final destination of Almaty.

DAY 15, ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN
This morning we arrive into Almaty, our final destination and bid farewell to the Golden Eagle. Today we will take a tour of Almaty including a visit to Panfilov Park, located in the heart of the city, and home to the Zenkov Cathedral, a 19th century Russian Orthodox Church made entirely of wood. Overnight we stay for one night at the InterContinental hotel (or similar).
DAY 16, ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN

Following breakfast you will be transferred to Almaty Airport for your onward flight. 

Why not extend your stay in Almaty with additional nights to explore more of the city and surrounding region at your leisure?

The Golden Eagle Express

Travelling on the Golden Eagle is an exclusive way to truly take in the vastness and grandeur of the world's largest country.

The Golden Eagle entered service in 2007 and the 12 sleeping cars on the train are separated into three classes: Imperial, Gold and Silver Class.

In the restaurant, the chefs use the finest of local ingredients for lunch and dinner. From traditional and world renowned 'Borsch', to caviar and Omul fish unique to Lake Baikal.

Quality wines from around the world compliment the meals, along with mineral water, soft drinks and naturally, vodka. After a long day sightseeing, unwind in the newly designed and stylishly built Bar Car.

Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey

Imperial Suites are the most spacious cabins available onboard the Golden Eagle measuring 120 sq ft (11.1 sq metres) and benefiting from a large and luxurious double bed as well as a lounge area with dressing table.
Imperial Suite facilities include a private en-suite bathroom with power shower and the luxury of underfloor heating; individual air-conditioning; wardrobe; DVD/CD player with LCD screen; complimentary fully stocked minibar; safe; small library and two large picture windows to watch the world go by.
Exemplary service starts with a complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon champagne when you board the train to toast the start of your wonderful adventure.
Imperial Suite guests will also benefit from the option of a private guide and car service in most of the places we visit along the route, the inclusion of drinks from the standard and premium bar list in the Bar Lounge Car, a laundry service and room upgrades to the next available category at the hotels which are featured in the itinerary.

Specification

  • Sleeps 2 in King Size bed
  • Sitting area
  • Remote controlled air-conditioning and heating
  • Recessed lighting and wardrobe
  • Dressing table
  • Personal safe
  • Private en-suite bathroom with full power shower and underfloor heating
  • Bathrobes, slippers, hairdryer and toiletries provided
  • Complimentary minibar
  • DVD/CD player with LCD screens
  • Towels and linens changed every second day or daily on request
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water available at all times
  • In-cabin dining available on request
  • Drinks from the Bar Lounge Car included from the Standard and Premium Bar List (excluding Premium Wine List)
  • Private car and guide options in selected cities for off-train excursion programme
  • Laundry service included
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey

At 77 sq ft (7 sq metres) Gold Class cabins are extremely well-proportioned and have everything from a private bathroom with separate power shower cubicle and underfloor heating to a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, large picture window as well as featuring a double lower bed and a single upper bed.
Guests in Gold Class benefit from complimentary drinks off the Standard Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car.
Exemplary service starts with a complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon champagne when you board the train to toast the start of your wonderful adventure.

Specification

  • Sleeps 2 in either lower standard double bed or bunk style
  • Remote controlled air-conditioning and heating
  • Recessed lighting and wardrobe
  • Personal safe
  • Private en-suite bathroom with full power shower and underfloor heating
  • Bathrobes, slippers and toiletries provided
  • DVD/CD player with LCD screens
  • Towels and linens changed every second day or daily on request
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water in cabin available at all times
  • Drinks in the Bar Lounge Car included from the Standard Bar List
  • Laundry service available at an additional charge
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey

Silver Class cabins, which are more compact at 60 sq ft (5.5 sq metres), feature a small double lower bed and a single upper bed as well as DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe and large picture window.
The Silver Class cabins have private en-suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.

Specification

  • Sleeps 2 in lower small double bed or bunk style
  • Remote controlled air-conditioning and heating
  • Recessed lighting and wardrobe
  • Personal safe
  • Private en-suite bathroom with 'wet-room' style shower and toilet
  • Bathrobes, slippers and toiletries provided
  • DVD/CD player with LCD screens
  • Towels and linens changed every second day or daily on request
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water available at all times
  • Laundry service available at an additional charge
Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey

Hurry to secure 3% OFF - the BLACK FRIDAY SALE is on until 26 November 2017

GBP

Caspian Odyssey Golden Eagle 2017 Departure Dates

DEPARTURE

Silver Class

Gold Class

Imperial Suite

Twin Single  Twin Single Twin Single
Eastbound Yerevan - Almaty
OCT
Без имени 1
17

£14,795
£14,351

 £21,595
£20,947
£18,695
£18,134
 £27,195
£26,379
£26,995
£26,185
On Request

2018 PRICES Eastbound Yerevan - Almaty

DEPARTURE

Silver Class

Gold Class

Imperial Suite

Twin (£) Single (£) Twin (£) Single (£) Twin (£) Single (£)
Eastbound Yerevan - Almaty
SEPT 21 - OCT 6
Без имени 1

17,495 
16,970

25,495
24,730
21,995
21,335
31,995
31,035
35,595
34,527
On Request

All Tours Include:

As far as possible tours are all inclusive with no hidden extras. What follows are those elements which are included in the tour price. The only extra items you will need to budget for include personal expenses such as international and internal flights, visa costs, travel insurance, drinks from the Bar Lounge Car and laundry.

Experienced Tour Managers

Experienced tour managers and their assistants are selected for their travel knowledge and their linguistic and organisational abilities allowing you to relax and enjoy your rail cruise. Golden Eagle receive exceptional passenger comments about their Tour Managers and their aim is to ensure you enjoy every minute of your holiday.

Arrival and Departure Transfers

Arrival and departure transfers are included.

Hotel and Onboard Accommodation

Although you will spend much of your time sightseeing or relaxing in the train’s public areas, you will find you hotel room or cabin a welcome retreat at the end of a rewarding day. All hotels are of 5 star standard or, in certain locations, the best available. Room upgrades are available on request and at extra cost.

Welcome and Farewell Dinners

Each tour begins with a Welcome Dinner, an ideal opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers; for the Tour Manager to brief you on the trip; and introduce you to the Golden Eagle Luxury Trains team and the Tour Doctor. The Farewell Dinner is the perfect end to your adventure by private train where you can relive the journey and look ahead to future tours.

Route Guide, Itinerary and Information Pack

When you board the train there will be a brochure in your cabin detailing more about your journey and the places en-route. Tour Manager will organise a programme of briefings on the cities or places we visit and, each evening, will issue a programme for the next day’s touring schedule.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Daily

All departures feature one or two uniquely designed restaurant cars where you can enjoy the excellent waiter-served food and wine. Several times during the tour you will also sample authentic local cuisine off the train.

Drinks with Meals and from the Bar Lounge Car

A generous drinks allowance is included with lunch and dinner. For passengers travelling in Gold Class onboard the Golden Eagle, drinks from the Standard Drinks List in the Bar Lounge Car are also included. For Imperial Suite guests, drinks from both the Standard and Premium Bar Lists in the Bar Lounge Car are included.

Onboard Service

You can expect service which is attentive, friendly and unintrusive. Your car attendants provide 24-hour housekeeping and bedding turndown services, with one attendant always on duty to assist you and to ensure you are comfortable in your cabin. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottle drinking water are available in your cabin 24 hours a day.

Guided Off-Train Excursions

The history and culture of the places we visit on our rail cruises will come alive through our expert local guides. All tours include a wide-ranging sightseeing schedule to make the most of the time you have off the train and bring you closer to the culture, people and history of your destinations. We believe it is the special little touches that help create magical memories.

Imperial Suite guests will benefit from the option of a private car and guide in the majority of places we visit along the route.

Freedom of Choice Touring

Customise your journey and enjoy the opportunity to select from an array of Freedom of Choice Touring options that best suits your interests. Your off-train excursions will still take in all the major attractions of the places we are visiting but, in featured locations, you will be presented when you are onboard the train with a variety of activities from which to choose, and enjoy a tailor-made experience. Look at the individual itineraries where we are operating Freedom of Choice Touring.

Freedom of Choice Touring options may be subject to variations dependent on finalised train timings and local charges. Touring options available will typically be advised in the evening prior to the day’s tour.

Personal Headsets

On all the off–train excursions, to enhance your enjoyment and comprehension of the places you visit, you will be provided with a lightweight personal headset on which to listen to your tour guide as you take in the sights. So you do not need to worry about missing any of the interesting details on your excursions.

Onboard Doctor and Medical Facilities

To give you peace of mind our tours are accompanied by a doctor who travels with us for the entire journey; so you can rest assured that medical assistance is always available. On call 24 hours a day, the doctor is on hand to give primary care as required. Normally, the doctor will be English speaking and be registered with the General Medical Council in the UK.

Porterage

As you only have to unpack once, your luggage and belongings will stay with you on the train throughout the journey but, wherever necessary, porterage is included between the hotel and stations.

All Gratuities

You will not have to worry about tipping on and off the train on your rail journey with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains as all gratuities are included in the tour price.

Please note the following deposit is payable on this tour:

SILVER CLASS CABIN GOLD CLASS CABIN IMPERIAL SUITE
£1,000 £2,000 £4,000

Caspian Odyssey - Golden Eagle Luxury Journey

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