Built spaces tell us the stories of the civilisations that shaped them. They’re products of their time; windows on the politics of the past. Architecture isn’t just art, it’s anthropology.
Architecture Across the Ages takes travellers to some of the most important – and most often overlooked – architectural sites across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Visit Uzbekistan’s towering turquoise mosques, see how Georgia shook off Soviet rule with cosmic-inspired superstructures, and witness the rebirth of Turkmenistan with its audacious white marble city.
At the roof of the world, political landscapes give way to natural ones. As travellers reach the peaks of Central Asia, the ideological shifts which have shaped the region through the centuries suddenly seem very small — ripples on a vast, rugged and largely uninhabited terrain.
The mountains of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan offer soaring views across jagged peaks, steep-sided valleys and high plateaus. Roads at the Roof of the World grants travellers a rare glimpse of lands largely untouched ideological undulations, and the people who call them home.
From outer space, borders vanish; and the conflicts that divide nations fade away. But it was conflict that kickstarted the space race, catapulting man into the stratosphere. In the mid 20th Century, space was the dramatic arena for an ideological struggle between Communism and Capitalism. Winning the Space Race meant winning the Cold War.
Stairway to the Stars celebrates 60 years of humans in space. It takes travellers “one small step” closer to the stars, granting them a rare and privileged glimpse inside the Russian space programme. Travellers can train like real cosmonauts, experience the exhilaration of weightlessness, and witness the raw power of a rocket launch up-close.
We create sustainable, ethical, design-led tours to the most incredible places on earth. We’ve built close relationships with local guides, and will work with you to create an extraordinary trip which fits your budget, timeline and interests.
Follow in the footsteps of legendary polar explorers, climb smoking volcanoes in the remote Far East, or cross the endless Gobi desert on camelback. We’ll take you there. We’ll get you closer. Get in touch to discuss your next adventure.
We’re respectful of being guests in other countries with different cultures, but won’t stand silent when human rights are violated. In some of the countries we visit, the authorities regularly crack down on the media, harass peaceful protesters, engage in smear campaigns against political rivals, and ban independent foreign organisations.
We donate 1.5% of the price of each tour to local community projects, and a further 1.5% to Human Rights Watch, an independent, non-profit NGO that exists to give voice to the oppressed and hold those responsible accountable. Read more here.
There is no better way to understand other cultures than to visit them. But, ultimately all travel has an impact on the environment.
Each of the tours we offer creates between 6.5 and 9.31 tonnes of CO2e per person. Working with Joro Experiences, who founded the Conscious Travel Foundation, we’ve reduced the average footprint of each tour by 7-12% so far. All remaining unavoidable carbon emissions are offset through our partners at Chooose. Chooose uses that money to capture the equivalent carbon emissions from the atmosphere and store it in stable ways.
In the USSR, a spa weekend wasn’t a pampered holiday. It was a requisite, prescribed by the Soviet state. In their heyday, millions of citizens across the Soviet Union visited sanatoriums each year, on an all expenses retreat paid for by the state. Today these icons of communism are crumbling, in varying states of decay, with just a few still welcoming guests.
With its concrete clover windows and ornately carved scenes in red stone, the National University of Architecture and Construction is one of the most striking examples of Brutalist architecture in Yerevan. The inside is just as beautiful, although if you wander aimlessly through the halls taking photos, the security guards will come and politely escort you off the premises.
Two hours by car from Yerevan, nestled amongst grazing cattle and the farmers who tend to them, is the abandoned remains of a telescope which once searched for signs of life beyond our world. Space exploration was initially a practical concern: rocket technology solved the problem of sending huge nuclear payloads over long distances. But the Space Race soon evolved into something of much greater symbolic significance.
In the 1930s, the Writers’ Union of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic commissioned a writer's retreat to be built on Sevan Island. Around the time that the retreat first opened to writers, Sevan Island was in the middle of a dramatic transformation. The Soviet state was diverting water from Lake Sevan to irrigate the Ararat plain and generate hydroelectric power. Over the next two decades, the lake’s water level fell by around 20 metres, and Sevan Island became a peninsula.