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MIR Corporation 2018 Small Group Tours, Train Journeys and Custom & Private Travel
Brochures / Catalogs | Food & Gourmet / Holidays/Vacations / Tourism & Travel / Travel 2017-10-02 15:41:29
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    2018 Journeys to Legendary Destinations at the Crossroads of Europe & Asia Russia u Trans-Siberian Railway u Mongolia u China u Tibet Silk Route u Central Asia u Iran u South Caucasus u Turkey u Baltics Ukraine u Belarus u Moldova u Balkans u Central & East Europe

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    2 | 30 years experience — www.mircorp.com

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    TO THE CROSSROADS OF EUROPE AND ASIA IR, a word meaning “peace” and “world” in Russian, was a very intentional choice for a company name when we began operating, at the tail end of the Cold War era, 30 plus years ago. It was a time when the message of peace through world travel was meaningful. Americans were connecting with Russians, Uzbeks, Georgians, and Ukrainians, among others. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, these former republics, once shrouded behind an Iron Curtain, began opening up. Freedom to venture across these lands became possible for Americans like never before. This great opening presented a great opportunity, and MIR expanded to even farther-flung frontiers, including Tibet, Tehran, and every place in between. That giant “unknown” landmass at the crossroads of Europe and Asia began to feel closer, and increasingly accessible. Fast forward to the eve of 2018. Could we ever have imagined that three decades later, the world would look and feel as complicated as it does today? That we’d see a return of the days of nuclear threats, government relations on the fritz between East and West, and a virtual return to Cold War tit-for-tat? Our hopes for peace and understanding through travel are as relevant today as they were way back then. And we ask ourselves: Can the value of first-hand travel be overstated in times like these? We think not. Can the importance of making personal one-to-one connections with local people just like us, in vastly misunderstood places like Russia and Iran, be underestimated in our day? We think not. All of us at MIR believe that each individual traveler plays a vital part in world accord. Perhaps travel is the dose of grassroots citizen diplomacy the world needs. It’s been 30 plus years since we first began enabling curious souls to venture to the U.S.S.R., and it’s as important now as it was back then to challenge the stereotypes and break down the walls that divide us. Please join us in this mission. Midnight at the oasis of Khiva, Uzbekistan photo: Lindsay Fincher cover photo: Jeremy Woodhouse www.mircorp.com – 1.800.424.7289 | 3

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    2011 C R U I MIR’s Destinations o you crave travel to underexplored places? So do we! Experience freedom from the familiar and let MIR guide you to the crossroads of Europe and Asia. See where we can take you. Tours of a Lifetime Tours of a Lifetime 2011 S E S Tours of a Lifetime 2011 Tours of a Lifetime 2011 2009 BEST ADVENTURE TRAVEL COMPANIES { ON EARTH } 2009 BEST 50 TRAVEL ADVENTURE Tours COMPANIES of a Lifetime { ON EARTH } ngadventure.com/ratings 2012 50 Tours of a Lifetime 2012 ngadventure.com/ratings 4 | 30 years experience — www.mircorp.com 2009 BEST ADVENTURE TRAVEL COMPANIES { ON EARTH } 50 Tours of a 2009 Lifetime 2012 BEST ADVENTURE TRAVEL COMPANIES 50 Tours of a Lifetime 2012

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    What’s Inside? Introduction 2 Ways to Travel with MIR 6 Handcrafted Private Journeys, Family Travel, Small Group Tours, Rail Journeys by Private Train What Sets MIR Apart 12 New 2018 Tours . 16 Russia 18 Golden Ring, Kamchatka, Lake Baikal, Siberia, Tuva, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Northern Russia, Yakutia, North Caucasus, Russian New Year’s tour, Russian Space Program tour Trans-Siberian Railway . 34 Russia, Mongolia, China; regularly scheduled and private trains; Russian winter tours Mongolia, China, Tibet . 48 Naadam Festival, China’s Silk Route, Tibet Silk Route, Central Asia & Iran . 54 Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan South Caucasus & Turkey . 74 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey Baltics, Ukraine, Balkans, Central & East Europe 84 Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine About the Private Trains . 96 Golden Eagle, Tsar’s Gold, Golden Eagle Danube Express Staff - Destination Experts . 104 U.S. Trip Planners, Overseas Guides & Tour Managers Traveler Information . 108 What’s Included . 109 Reservation Form Insert Tour Calendar . 110 2016 2016 2017 2017 Peacock fans his tail at the Palace of the Moon and Stars, Bukhara photo: Martin Klimenta www.mircorp.com – 1.800.424.7289 | 5

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    PRIVATE JOURNEYS our Dream, ur Design MIR has specialized in personalized, private journeys for 30 years. We love to take your ideas and weave them into a trip tailored especially for you. An original itinerary to the crossroads of Europe and Asia can fit anyone’s travel preferences, from individuals and family groups to special interest, alumni and museum associations. Travel wherever, however, and with whomever you like, relying on our expert assistance. THOUGHTFULLY HANDCRAFTED At the Crossroads of Europe & Asia This vast, varied, and under-explored region includes Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the earth’s deepest and oldest freshwater lake; the bazaars of Bukhara, piled with pomegranates and silvery grapes; and the ancient cultures, cuisines and traditions of the South Caucasus. Our destination know-how and personal attention combine with knowledgeable local guides to create a memorable travel experience. Consult Tell us what your dream is for this trip: Your personal travel specialist will listen, ask questions, and make creative suggestions. THOUGHTFULLY HANDCRAFTED Create In collaboration with you, we’ll design a personalized itinerary matching your specifications of place, pace, duration and date. Coordinate We’ll distill the details of your dream, presenting you with a slim folder of well-organized documents, and you’ll soon be on your way. Commence! Escape the everyday, and dive into your destination – with in-country transportation, lodging, expert local guides and private drivers ready and waiting. RESEARCHED & READY FLEX IBLE ESSENTIAL Prefer that we suggest an itinerary for you? No problem. Our series of pre-planned Flexible Essential Private Journeys are classic independent itineraries already researched and ready to book. There are lots of them to choose from, covering all our core destinations at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Contact us for descriptive itineraries, solo traveler pricing and booking details. Lonely rider on the Mongolian steppe photo: Helge Pedersen 6 | 30 years experience — www.mircorp.com

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    “We flew to Xi’an, China, and began a tailor made 64-day (mostly ground) expedition to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan… Our journey was an amazing one filled with marvels that we are still struggling to comprehend. “Our adventure was complete with only the most minor of ripples to the well-laid out plan that MIR devised… Kudos to you, your domestic and international staff!” AikenBill Aiken, SC www.mircorp.com – 1.800.424.7289 | 7

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    8 | 30 years experience — www.mircorp.com

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    MIR SIGNATURE SMALL GROUP TOURS At the Crossroads of Europe & Asia Designed by Travelers for Travelers oin a small and diverse group of world travelers for expert-led explorations of both world-class sites and overlooked corners. We take you places you didn’t even know you wanted to go – into a Moscow apartment for an intimate dinner party; over the threshold of a Mongolian ger to share tea with a nomad family; into a classroom of Georgian children who greet you in their best English. Our line-up of Small Group Tours boasts creative itineraries, great value, and ingenious extras. Each is different from the next, but they all have these qualities in common: Intimate MIR Small Group Tours are intentionally small, with a firm upper limit of 16 participants (Explorer Series trips are capped at 12). Experiential Each tour embraces our “MIR Signature Experiences,” relevant, authentic, and sometimes surprising elements that are challenging to find on your own. Distinctive Choose from our Cultural Series, offering a wealth of uncommon experiences; Premier Series, adding bestin-class hotels and innovative cultural components; and Explorer Series, for more adventurous travelers. Thoughtfully Led MIR tour managers and talented guides are on hand to identify on-the-spot opportunities and focus on catering to the interests of the group. Comprehensive A dedicated MIR travel planner oversees the details of your all-inclusive land trip, providing customized trip extensions, visa guidance and air tickets from our in-house agency, as desired. “The tour was splendidly arranged, the guide was amazing, and I would recommend MIR to anyone (and have). “The tour itself, the planning, organization, and customer service all were excellent. And our guide was superb in his knowledge, adaptability, and eagerness to make the experience pleasurable.” I. Montagnes & E. Wilson Port Hope, ON Pocket theater at St. Petersburg’s Usupoff Palace photo: Jonathan Irish www.mircorp.com – 1.800.424.7289 | 9

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    RAIL JOURNEYS BY PRIVATE TRAIN An Exceptional Way to Travel Traverse Legendary Routes in Convenient Comfort ail journeys by private train are in a class of their own, sweetening the dream of Old World rail travel with modern amenities – particularly pleasant on such epic routes as the Trans-Siberian and the Silk Road. A sampling of our journeys: Ride across the biggest country on earth, Russia; roll into Mongolia for the amazing Naadam Festival; or cross formerly forbidden frontiers into Iran. Romantic Nothing compares to train travel. Rocked to sleep by the rhythm of the rails, you wake in the heart of a celebrated city, dine with sophisticated travelers, and relax deeply as the world scrolls by your window. Convenient Waste no time packing and unpacking, sleep in your own comfy cabin (most of them with en suite facilities) and disembark for fascinating forays into irresistible communities for hand-picked highlights. Epic These uncommonly comprehensive itineraries allow you to catch all the highlights in dozens of countries across thousands of miles, in a way that only a well-planned rail journey can do. Tailored Your dedicated MIR travel specialist can handcraft a private extension, provide access to our in-house air expert, give you guidance on visas, and answer all your questions about the trains and destinations. Comfortable Travel in style aboard your choice of trains, ranging from the comfortable Tsar’s Gold to the luxury Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express and Golden Eagle Danube Express. Rolling hills meet Mongolian steppe photo: Ross Hillier 10 | 30 years experience — www.mircorp.com

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