The Art of the Silk Road

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3671
  • July 16 - 26, 2025
  • 11 Days
  • TBA + air
  • Single Supplement: TBA

Explore collections related to the Silk Road in world-class museums in Berlin, Paris, London, and Oxford

Far Horizons proudly presents a truly unique 11-day tour to Berlin, Paris, and London, with an emphasis on each city’s great museums and their Silk Road collections. During the trip, we will learn about several civilizations that developed along the ancient Silk Road. Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian civilization that at different times included territory located in present-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Parthians were an Iranian dynasty that lasted for nearly five hundred years, successfully taking back territory in the near east from first the Seleucid Greeks and then the Romans. They were followed by the Sasanians, the last Persian (Zoroastrian) Empire before the rise of Islam, who held their own against their arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire to rule from 224 to 651.

Begin our explorations in Berlin, where we enjoy an immersive experience at the Pergamon Museum 3D virtual installation, as well as a tour of Museum of Asian Art.  Fly to Paris where we will visit the National Library, The Musée Guimet, and the Louvre Museum. By train through the Chunnel, we move to London, for a day in the British Museum, including a private viewing of Sasanian artifacts not on public display. Our time in London will also include the British Library and Victoria and Albert Museum. We end the tour with a special day at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Overnights will be in charming hotels within walking distance of these great museums, and dinners will be memorable, including an evening at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant with views over the Trocadéro.  

Art of the Silk Road Tour Led by:

Jenny Rose

Dr Jenny Rose

Assistant Professor

Claremont Graduate University
Zoroastrian Studies of Ancient Iran

Why Explore the Art of the Silk Road with Far Horizons?

  • Explore museum collections in four cities: Berlin, Paris, London and Oxford
  • Dinner in the Eiffel Tower
  • Private tour of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris
  • Private viewing of Silk Road treasures in the British Library
  • Private tour at the British Library, Victoria & Albert Museum and British Museum in London
  • Private tour of the Asmolean Museum in Oxford

Itinerary of Our Silk Road Museums Trip

(B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner

Day 1Depart for Berlin, Germany

Depart on a flight bound for Berlin, Germany.

Day 2Arrive to Berlin and acclimate

Arrive to Berlin and transfer to the Radisson Blu Berlin Hotel for three nights, located in the city center within walking distance of all main attractions. After a light lunch and orientation, the afternoon and dinner are free to rest and explore the city on our own. (L)

Day 3Museum Island, Museum of Asia Art

Day 3:  Five world-renowned museums make up Berlin’s Museum Island in the Spree River. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the buildings were constructed between 1824 and 1930 by the most renowned Prussian architects. The Pergamon Museum houses an incredible collection of exquisite classical treasures such as the striking reconstructions of archaeological buildings – the Pergamon Altar of Zeus, Roman market gate of Milet, Ishtar Gate with the Processional Way of Babylon, and the Mshatta façade. (PLEASE NOTE: The Pergamon Museum closed entirely on 23 October 2023 for three years to carry out extensive renovation work. Due to the construction work, individual rooms, including the hall with the Pergamon Altar, cannot be seen.

A new, temporary exhibition building is located opposite the Museum Island: the exhibition “Pergamon Museum. The Panorama” with the 360-degree panorama by Yadegar Asisi and antique originals from Pergamon makes it possible to experience the Pergamon Altar in its original form and in its urban context on the Acropolis.)

After lunch on our own, we spend the afternoon at the Museum of Asian Art, housing a collection of Central Asian wall paintings and sculptures from Buddhist cave temples along the Silk Road, as well as the Turfan collection of manuscripts and a reconstructed Buddhist temple. Gather for dinner tonight in one of Berlin’s excellent restaurants. (B/D)

Day 4Berlin City Tour

Today we will enjoy a half-day exploration of Berlin’s rich history. The Berlin Wall was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989, and the Berlin Wall Memorial Museum contains a small piece of the barricade along with displays on the history of Germany’s division. The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most famous landmark, was an emblem of Berlin and German division during the Cold War. Today, it is a national symbol of peace and unity.

We will travel by small ferry across the Havel River to Peacock Island, a nature conservation area since 1924. From the deck of the vessel, we will observe landscaped gardens and the striking white palace that was built by Friedrich Wilhelm II in 1794-97.  Peacock Island Palace, or Pfaueninsel, is our destination.  Created as a half-timbered artificial ruin, that interior reflects the 18th century’s intellectual and cultural world. Together with other palaces in Potsdam and Berlin the island and the palace are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Return to the hotel in the afternoon with dinner on our own. (B/L)

Day 5 Fly to Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale

An early morning flight takes us to Paris and the Bibliothèque Nationale, the national repository of all that is published in France along with works of visual art. Here we will join a curator for the Persian Collections for a private viewing of artifacts not on public display (if available). We will see The Khosro Cup, also known as the Cup of Solomon, a stunning and intricate Sasanian Persian vessel made of gold, garnets, rock crystal, and glass; a 16th century copy of the Book of Ardā Wīrāz, a Zoroastrian religious text of the Sasanian era; and an exquisite Sasanian intaglio, a gemstone with an image finely carved into it. Overnight for two nights at Hôtel Le Bellechasse, a charming boutique hotel located just steps away from the Musée d’Orsay on the Left Bank. Dinner is on our own to explore the vast culinary options at Parisian restaurants. (B/L)

Day 6Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower Restaurant

The Louvre Museum contains important collections of Central Asia and Persian artifacts, most removed from Iran by French archaeologists in the 19th century. These include a basalt tablet engraved with the Code of Hammurabi, edicts set in place by the 17th century BC Babylonian king that is one of the oldest known sets of laws. The Louvre also has large sections of polychrome glazed brick walls from the Susa palace of the Persian emperor Darius I, including the frieze of lions, and another of archers, showing an army of warriors carrying spears, bows, and quivers.

This afternoon, enjoy a visit to the underground collection at the Louvre to see the Cambyses stele and other related Iranian artifacts that are hidden in the bowels of the building. Lunch and the late afternoon are our own to return to the collections or view other areas of the museum. Gather this evening for a very special dinner party in the Eiffel Tower restaurant with a breathtaking view over Paris. (B/D)

Day 7The Musée Guimet, Chunnel to London

The Musée Guimet was created by Emile Guimet, a wealthy industrialist who traveled around the world. During his travels, he acquired extensive collections of objects which he put on display in a museum opened in Lyon in 1879 and later was moved to Paris. Over the years, it obtained large collections of objects that had been brought back by major expeditions to Central Asia and China. It has the largest collection of Asian art in Europe and we will peruse the artifacts that relate to the Silk Road, along with treasures from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. After lunch, board the Chunnel to travel to London. Dinner is on our own. Overnight at the Radisson Edwardian Blu Bloomsbury, located next to the British Museum, for three nights.  (B/L)

Day 8British Library, Victoria and Albert Museum

Day 8: The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, it displays a unique and extensive Iranian collection as well as a collection of Middle Eastern and Persian rugs and carpets, amongst the finest in the world. Within the museum, the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art houses a display of 400 objects with the highlight being the Ardabil Carpet, the centerpiece of the gallery. This 16th century carpet made of silk and wool measures almost 35’ by 18’ and contains 26 million knots! It is considered one of the best of the classical Iranian (Azerbaijanian) school of carpet creation. It was first placed in a mosque in Ardabil, but over time became heavily worn and was sold in 1890 to a British carpet broker who restored it and then sold it to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Also on view is a patterned silk fragment showing the mythical creature, the sēnmurw, enclosed in a roundel of pearls. Part bird, part beast, the sēnmurw is a creation of Sasanian art, although it was derived from more ancient Babylonian and Assyrian cultures, as well as from the sea-horse of Greek art.

After a quick lunch, enter the British Library where (if available) Ursula Sims-Williams, the Curator of Iranian languages, will host us for a private viewing of items from the Library’s Sogdian and Khotanese collections, along with antiquities discovered by Sir Aureal Stein during his Central Asia expeditions in the early 1900s.  Return to the hotel with dinner on our own. (B/L)

Day 9British Museum

We spend today in the world-renowned British Museum where we will experience a behind-the-scenes tour of the pre-Islamic collections from Iran hosted by the curator of the Central Asian collection (if available) to unlock pieces of Sasanian silver that are not on public display for us to view.  Lunch and the afternoon will be on our own to spend more time with the pre-Islamic collection or to view other sections of the museum. We will gather for our final dinner together in a nearby restaurant. (B/D)

Day 10 Ashmolean Museum in Oxford

Day 10: Our journey today takes us to Oxford and the esteemed Ashmolean Museum, Britain’s first public museum.  From Iran to the Eastern Mediterranean, across some 10,000 years, the artifacts displayed in its Ancient Middle East Gallery reveal some of the most important developments in human history. Among the highlights on display, we will see the famous Sumerian King List (about 1800 BC), which names the cities of Mesopotamia and their rulers as if in an unbroken sequence from before ‘the Flood’ to the time it was made, and extraordinary objects removed from the Mesopotamian city of Kish, including inlay decoration from Mesopotamia’s earliest royal palace. Before leaving Oxford, we will also visit Bodleian Library to view an early collection of Persian manuscripts. In the late afternoon, transfer to the Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Airport Hotel, located within minutes of the international airport, where we overnight. (B/L/D)

Day 11Depart London

Transfer to the airport for our flights home. (B)

Tour Information

Tour Cost & Inclusions

Price is based on double occupancy and includes:

  • Internal flights during the trip (if applicable)
  • The accompaniment of your scholar throughout the entire trip
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Hotel accommodations (3 or 4 stars; or best available based in the area)
  • Ground transportation
  • Airport transfers for arrivals and departures
  • Most meals as noted in the itinerary
  • Entry fees to all included sites and museums
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, and restaurant and hotel staff
  • Coordination for any private presentations or tours

Trip prices are based on a minimum number of participants. If this minimum number is not met, trip prices are subject to change. Should the prices need to change, Far Horizons will reach out to registered guests to discuss directly.

Single Supplement

Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement must be charged.

Exclusions

  • International round trip airfare
  • A separate donation check of $150.00 per person to a designated donation project
  • Passport or visa fees
  • Required vaccines or tests
  • Airport or departure taxes
  • Alcoholic drinks, beverages or food not included on set menus
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Personal tips and hotel incidental expenses
  • Laundry or other items of a personal nature

Donation Checks

As a tour company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural sites and projects which we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and the academic and local communities that has helped us establish an extensive list of lecturers and contacts in each of our destinations. We ask that each participant donate to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable.

Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Prices are based on currency exchange rates keeping below a projected level. While it is unlikely, if the exchange rates should change substantially, Far Horizons reserves the right to charge an additional amount to the trip cost.

Registration

A deposit of $1000 per person is required along with your registration & health forms, which will be linked in the email confirmation you receive once you pay your deposit on our booking platform. Final payment is due 120 days before departure. Prior to departure, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information.

Cancellation

Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $500 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received less than 120 days before the departure date will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the trip, Far Horizons will not reimburse any fees. Upon registering for the tour, the purchase of travel protection with both trip cancellation and emergency evacuation is strongly advised. Links to recommended insurance policies will be included in the email you receive confirming receipt of your deposit.

Air Ticketing

International round trip flights are not included in the cost of the trip. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased. Please send your complete air schedule as soon as you have it. NOTE: Please contact Far Horizons if you would like for us to handle your air ticketing.

Private Tours and Talks

The private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be on site when our groups arrive due to other commitments.

Walking and Standing

Far Horizons expects all participants to be physically active and able to walk and climb independently throughout the full touring days. This includes walking over uneven terrain (uphill and downhill) for 2 miles or more at each site. You should expect to be on your feet for much of each day, averaging as much as 5 miles of walking per day. As such, each participant should be able to walk unaided at a pace of 3 miles per hour for at least an hour at a time, and to stand unsupported for at least 60 minutes. Bearing this in mind, we suggest that, if you have not already done so, you begin walking several miles every day, ideally including stairs and hills. If you have questions about your ability to keep up with the group or the strenuous nature of this trip, please contact the Far Horizons staff.

Expectations During Travel

This tour is designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. We have designed this trip to be as comfortable as possible, while also aiming to visit some remote or unique sites that other companies do not attempt to include in their itineraries. There may be days where we have very long drives and the conditions of the roads may vary. Hotels and transportation in some remote areas may not be up to western standards. There may be times when no bellhops are available; please pack with the understanding that you need to be able to handle your own luggage at times. Sometimes we may be walking over uneven trails for a mile or more; hiking boots are strongly recommended. Not every meal will be haute cuisine and several lunches may be picnics or box lunches. By maintaining a flexible attitude we will soon be captivated by the beauty of the natural scenery, the hospitality of the local people, and the fascinating sites we will see. Your flexibility and patience will be appreciated.

Itinerary Changes

Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. While we are committed to keeping as close to the published details as possible, sometimes it is simply not possible. Weather events, government affairs, or other factors out of our control sometimes come into play. A good book to read as well as patience, flexible attitude, and a sense of humor are essential.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend that you consider purchasing travel insurance. Should illness or an unforeseen event force you to cancel your travel plans after your final payment or during your trip, it would be doubly unfortunate to incur a significant financial loss. Trip cancellation protection will enable you to be reimbursed for the loss of your payment if you are unable to travel for any of the covered reasons in the “Outline of Coverage” section, or should you have an accident or suffer from any medical conditions during the trip.  
Far Horizons offers customized protection plans through Travel Insured International (a Crum & Forster Company) with the following benefits:
 
• Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption for covered reasons
• Trip Delay
• Baggage Loss and Baggage Delay
• Emergency Medical Expenses and Emergency Medical Evacuation
• 24-Hour Accidental Death & Dismemberment
• 24-Hour Travel Assistance & Concierge Services
• Option to upgrade to ‘Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)’
 
We recommend reviewing the language in detail so you are aware of specific parameters; Depending on the policy, to waive the Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion or to upgrade to CFAR coverage, the plan must be purchased within 14 to 21 days of the initial trip deposit, full trip cost must be insured, and traveler is medically fit at time of plan purchase. Otherwise, coverage may be purchased at any time prior to departure. 
 
To obtain a personalized quote and/or purchase a plan through Far Horizons/Travel Insured International, simply click HERE. For specific questions regarding the Worldwide Protector Plan, please contact Travel Insured International’s Customer Care Center at 1-800-243-3174 or by email at customercare@travelinsured.com, and refer to Far Horizons’ account number: 54070.