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The story goes that its eventual collapse will signify the end of the world.In the morning we visit the world-renowned Savitsky Museum, which contains some of the richest collections of artefacts in Central Asia.Built in the 3rd century AD, its remains include the residences of Khorezm governors, workshops which formerly manufactured bows, and a palace with three imposing towers.Step into a world of Arabian Nights made real: we spend a whole day in Khiva, with its narrow alleys, graceful minarets and thriving markets.Heaped mounds and crumbling walls mark the remnants of a long-abandoned metropolis.

Today is all ours to wander brilliant Bukhara, judged by UNESCO to be “the most complete example of a Medieval city in Central Asia.” Long a part of the Persian Empire, the city was seized by the Samanids in 903 AD, and went on to become a significant center for intellectualism in the Islamic world.

Founded in 1876, and formerly known as the Lenin Museum, this is one of the oldest institutions in Central Asia, and boasts an epic assortment of artefacts.

Highlights include the remains of a primitive man dating from 1.5 million years BC, as well as significant statues and reliefs from the country’s Buddhist period.

Khiva was the center of an independent Uzbek Khanate until it was captured by the Russians in the 19th century.

The first of Uzbekistan’s sites to achieve World Heritage status, the city still boasts its original defensive walls and gates, as well as a wealth of ornate mosques and mausoleums.

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