Great Empires by Private Jet: Exploring Ancient Persia to the Mediterranean

Q&A with Kristin Romey


Editor and archaeologist Kristin Romey has reported on—or excavated— ancient sites from Central Asia to the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. On digs that have taken her from the depths of the Black Sea to underwater medieval cities in Kyrgyzstan, she’s helped tell the stories of some of history’s most fascinating civilizations. We asked her what travelers might expect to experience; here’s what she had to say.

Q: What do you hope travelers will take away from the expedition?

A: This expedition will lay bare how empires grow, why they conquer, and how they fall. Understanding how today’s civilizations are shaped by the empires of the past gives us a unique perspective on the future of our world.

Q: The itinerary goes off the beaten path to places like Iran, Turkmenistan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. What awaits us in these destinations?

A: Iran is replete with ancient Persian architecture and art—unique works that are stunning in their geometry and intricacy. In Turkmenistan, we’ll visit the shimmering oasis of Ashgabat, remarkable for its large population of nomads that have settled in a very modern city. Bosnia and Herzegovina gives us a wonderful opportunity to better understand the Ottoman Empire and its influence on the multiculturalism of today’s Sarajevo.

Q: Will travelers encounter remnants of more modern empires?

A: The Belarusian city of Minsk holds the last great remains of the Soviet empire, with Stalinist architecture and Khrushchev-era city planning that give a strong sense of a bygone time. We’ll have the opportunity to compare this timeworn city with Belgrade, a former Soviet satellite that is racing into the future.

Q: The trip includes a stop on the Mediterranean isle of Corsica. What imperial influences can travelers find here?

A: Corsica has been at the center of European maritime history since the Bronze Age. It’s the perfect place to get a perspective on how the Mediterranean shaped history—not only of the nations that surround it, but of the islands within it.