Celebrating 25 years of outstanding service
5 unique Uzbekistan experiences which one will you choose?
To celebrate Indus Experiences’ 25th anniversary, we are offering a complimentary, unique in-country experience to all customers, by way of thanks for your support. We can now reveal an enticing selection of five special experiences in Uzbekistan. Please choose one of these, with our compliments, on confirming your holiday booking (View our Uzbekistan Itineraries here). An entertaining puppet show, learn the traditional pottery-making from a true master, try your hand at miniature painting, wine tasting some of the unique wines of Samarkand , or uncover the secrets of the Samarkand paper - the choice is yours!
Location: Gijduvon (near Bukhara)
Pottery Master Class
Excursion Duration: 3 hrs
There are two main centers of pottery in present day Uzbekistan - Rishtan in the Fergana Valley and Gijduvon near Bukhara.
Gijduvon potters have clung to traditional ways of production, their ceramics are rather an art than business; where skilled craftsmen pass on their knowledge from generation to generation.
Foot powered wheels, wood fired kilns and another unique aspect of Gijduvon pottery is that the craftsmen use an engobe - special clay paints, each color is extracted from different deposits located far away from Gijduvon: red ones from Mount Karnab in the Nurata Range, yellow from the Kyzylkum Desert near Gazli, white comes from the deposit in the vicinity of Tashkent.
Learn about the uniqueness of Gijduvon pottery and then try your hand at creating your very own masterpiece.
The magic of Puppet Theatre
Excursion Duration: 1 hr
The tradition of puppet theater in Uzbekistan dates back to 550-330 BCE, to the reign of the Achaemenids. However, it was not until the 14th century, in the reign of Timur and Timurid, when the puppet theater obtained wide acceptance. Especially popular over the course of history were the fantoccini and glove puppets.
Among the contemporary puppet theaters of Uzbekistan, the State Puppet Theatre of Khorezm region, located in Khiva, differs with its special coloring. This is the only puppet theater in Uzbekistan, where one can still feel the spirit of the medieval bazaar performances: the theatrical, puppets, plots, style of live action take the audience back to the past centuries.
Enjoy a performance under the ancient walls of the Ichan-Kala.
The secret of Samarkand paper
Excursion Duration: 2 hrs
It was betrayal that brought the paper-making craft to Samarkand or so the story goes. In the year 751 the Chinese invaded Central Asia, but the ruler of Samarkand defeated their troops and captured many thousands of soldiers. To save their lives, craftsmen among the captives revealed their knowledge of paper-making to their captors. From then on, Samarkand became a center for paper production.
Today, Konigil, a village near Samarkand the talented Mukhtarov brothers continue the legacy of creating the Samarkand paper.
Interestingly the secret to Samarkhand paper. The process is laborious and entirely manual, from stripping the Mulberry tree bark, to cleaning, boiling, pressing and polishing. Since no chemicals are added it produces characteristic yellow colouring and makes it much more durable. Good quality mass produced paper will last 40-50 years however Samarkand paper for 300-400 years. It is not hard to imagine its demand in its heyday.
Miniature Painting Masterclass
Excursion Duration: 2 hr
The traditional of miniatures in Central Asia dates back to the reign of Tamerlane (1370 - 1405). It traces its roots to its use in poetry illustrations. By the early 1700s Bukhara was a noted centre of miniature paintings.
Davlat Toshev is a member of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan; he is one of the most exciting and in-demand contemporary masters of Bukhara miniatures and calligraphy. The master is also well-known for his local house in Bukhara where one can view his art in at-home surroundings. Here you can also watch a master class of Usto Davlat and even have a go at creating your own miniature masterpiece.
Excursion Duration: 2 hrs
“Either give me more wine or leave me alone” - Rumi
Samarkand’s winemaking history dates as far as the back early 19th century. Visit the Samarkand Museum of Winemaking, located at the winery, to learn about its history. Hear from your guide about the scientist who redesigned methods for producing award-winning vintage wines, earning prestigious recognition from worldwide competitions with multiple gold and silver medals.Taste 10 of the best varieties of Uzbek wines and two types of cognac produced by Khovrenko Winery — Sherdor and Samarkand — famous throughout central Asia.