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.
Starting from USD$13,500 p/p
Carbon footprint: 9.31 tonnes CO₂e p/p
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.
Starting from USD$9,500 p/p
Carbon footprint: 6.5 tonnes CO₂e p/p
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.
Starting from USD$29,950 p/p
Carbon footprint: 7.4 tonnes CO₂e p/p
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.
Rising above the banks of Budapest’s Danube river is Gellért Hill, an affluent residential area with elegant tree-lined streets. But, hidden beneath the surface is a strange and surreal sight - the József Gruber Water Reservoir. Every March, it’s emptied for its annual cleaning. With 106 stretched columns, the second basin makes for a futuristic and dystopian landscape.
Along the southern border of Issyk-Kul lake, Kyrgyzstan, two shining golden gates and 1,500 metre long wall shield a giant hundred hectare complex. I scaled the wall and on the other side, I discovered hundreds of abandoned yurts, an outdoor theatre and a handful of colourful peeling murals. ‘Aalam-Ordo’, which translates as ‘the centre of the universe’, now sits abandoned.
High above the southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake, in east Kyrgyzstan, we wait and watch for movement on the rocky hillside below. Movement means prey. And that means that the hunt is on. For centuries, the nomadic people of Central Asia have used eagles to hunt for food and fur. On one a freezing morning in December, I went hunting with Nur-Sultan, Kyrgyzstan’s most famous eagle hunter.
A few hours drive from Istanbul is a remote valley with soft rolling slopes that is surrounded by woodland. What sets it apart from other valleys in the area, is the hundreds of identical chateaus. More than 500 palatial homes sit abandoned on a 250 acre site. I have a deep interest in the Soviet Union and abandoned places. While this town isn’t Soviet, it’s too bizarre to not write about.