Tajikistan-Uzbekistan 11-Day Tour

Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

The Tajikistan-Uzbekistan 11-Day Tour is a discovery of the beauty that both nations have to offer. Travel mountainous roads from Tajikistan’s capital city, Dushanbe, to small-town Penjikent before crossing into Uzbekistan for time in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. City tours, a detour to ancient Sarazm and a mountain stay at gorgeous Seven Lakes await you along the way.
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are united by similar customs, a shared history under Soviet rule and a common border where country boundaries feel blurred by sizable minority communities that spill over onto either side. Despite these bonds, the countries maintain distinct identities shaped by separate languages, natural resources and complicated geography that continues to shape both nations to this day.

Arrive in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Transfer to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon. Your guide and driver will meet you at hotel reception for a city tour of Dushanbe, beginning with a drive to the sites at Hissar Historical and Cultural Reserve (30km, 50min):
  • Hissar Fortress (17th-19th centuries), where the impressive gates of a castle, once the home of a Bukharin emir, still amaze with their stateliness;
  • Kukhna Madrasah (17th century), a spacious religious school that functioned until the early 20th century, it now contains a small history museum;
  • Khistin Caravanserai (19th century), an unusual caravanserai constructed of burnt brick.
Drive back to Dushanbe to continue your tour to the following:
  • National Museum of Tajikistan, holding more than 40,000 expositions on Tajikistan’s history, nature and art, including a 12-meter statue of Buddha discovered on Tajikistan territory;
  • Haji Yaqub Mosque (19th century), Dushanbe’s landmark mosque that can hold up to 3,000 people;
  • Rudaki Park, a beautifully manicured park filled with fountain and flowers, with a tasteful monument of Rudaki in the center;
  • Gurminj Musical Instruments Museum, dedicated to celebrating the musical heritage of the Tajiks and Pamiris through a collection of national instruments, music lessons and periodic concerts;
  • Ayni Opera and Ballet Theatre (1940s), whose gorgeous outer décor is accentuated by the pristine lawns that surround it;
  • Statue of Ismail Somoni, a classy tribute to the founder of the Tajik people which towers 25 meters high in the city center;
  • Mehrgon Market, Dushanbe’s newest bazaar housed in an ornately designed atrium.
Overnight in Dushanbe.
Tour Duration: approximately 5 hours
In the morning, meet your drive at your Dushanbe hotel to drive to Seven Lakes in the Fann Mountains (280km, 5-6hrs). Travel along the M34 Highway via the Anzob Pass, which at 3400 meters above sea level is considered the best viewing point for the Fann Mountains.
Arrive at Seven Lakes (Haft Kul), where each lake has a distinct color accentuated by the beauty of the cliffs encircling them. Stop at each lake, about a 10-15 minutes’ drive apart from one another, to take photos and learn about each lake’s unique characteristics.
Stretch your legs with a 30-40-minute hike along a mountain stream between the sixth and seventh lakes, the latter of which is situated 2300 meters above sea level. Go for a stroll around a nearby village, taking photos along the way.
Check in to the guesthouse. Overnight at Seven Lakes.
After breakfast at the guesthouse, a driver will pick you up for transfer to Penjikent (70km, 2hrs). Stop for a tour of Sarazm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sprawling ancient city founded by 3500BC. The excavation site is divided into three sections and still holds intact structures of palaces, temples, altars, homes, city walls and paved roads. Complete the drive to Penjikent for a city tour of the following:
  • Republican Museum of History (Rudaki Museum), which has eight exhibition halls on archaeology, nature, history, culture, lifestyle, Tajik customs and the life of Rudaki, the founder of Tajik-Persian classical literature;
  • Central Mosque and Olim Dodkhoh Madrasah, originally from the Middle Ages and rebuilt in recent times, it now serves as the city’s main mosque and local gathering place;
  • Penjikent Bazaar, a bustling bazaar at the junction of the city’s main roads, complete with all the standard goods and Tajik souvenirs;
  • Ancient Penjikent (5th century BC), a labyrinth of walls and passages decorated with amazing murals, the site includes foundations of houses, Zoroastrian fire temples, a cemetery and reconstructed living spaces.
Check in to the hotel. Overnight in Penjikent.
Tour Duration: approximately 4 hours
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by transfer to Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border crossing at Jartepa-Sarazm (30 km, 40min). After passing through customs, meet your driver at the Uzbekistan border for transfer to Samarkand (50km, 1hr). Arrive in Samarkand, where hotel check-in begins at noon.
Begin your tour of Samarkand, a city at the crossroads of the world’s cultures. The private city tour includes:
  • Gur Emir, the imposing burial site of Tamerlane and Mirzo Ulugbek;
  • Registan Square, the commercial center of Samarkand for centuries and Samarkand’s most famous site today. The square includes three madrasahs: Ulugbek Madrasah (15th century), Sher-Dor Madrasah (17th century) and Tilla-Kori Madrasah (17th century);
  • A boulevard lined with workshops, souvenir stores and ice cream stands;
  • Bibi Khanum Mosque, built by Tamerlane for his favorite wife;
  • Siab Bazaar, a multi-level complex where you can shop for souvenirs and sample sweets, fruits and Samarkand’s famous bread;
  • Shakhi-Zinda, a burial complex built between the 9th-14th centuries. Climb the blue-domed path and explore more than 20 small mausoleums that line the broad alleyway.
Breakfast at the hotel. Your sightseeing tour of Samarkand region will continue to the following:
  • Visit to the excavation site and museum of the ancient city Afrosiyob.
  • Ulugbek Observatory, where you can see the remains of a 14th-15th century sextant and tour the Ulugbek Museum.
  • Tour of the Khodja Daniyar Mausoleum, believed to be the tomb of the prophet Daniel, whose remains were brought here by Tamerlane.
  • Drive to Konigil Village to observe the traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry leaves.
  • Excursion to the Oriental Silk Carpet Factory to see firsthand how top-quality carpets are created. You can even learn basic skills from the masters and try carpet weaving yourself!
Overnight in Samarkand.
Total Duration: approximately 5 hours
Breakfast at the hotel before taking the morning train to Bukhara (280km, 1.5hrs). Arrive in Bukhara and transfer to your hotel in the Old City, an area resembling a scene from Arabian Nights. With your private local guide, enjoy a walking tour of the most impressive sights of Bukhara’s Old City:
  • Lyabi-Hauz Ensemble, holding the largest artificial reservoir of medieval Bukhara (14th-17th centuries). This ensemble includes some of the largest madrassahs in the city: the Khanaka Madrassah, Kukeldash Madrassah and Nadir Divan Beghi Madrassah (all 16th century).
  • Magoki-Attori Mosque, the oldest mosque in Bukhara (12th century).
  • Four Trade Domes (15th-16th centuries), which still house local handicrafts for sale.
  • Poi Kalyan Ensemble (12th-16th centuries), consisting of the Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque, Amir-Alimkhan Madrasah and Miri-Arab Madrasah.
  • Ulugbek Madrasah (15th century) and Abdulazizkhan Madrasah (17th century), relatively untouched yet impressive religious schools.
  • Ark Fortress (4th century), the ancient center of Bukharan statehood and currently home to a small museum.
  • Bolo-Khauz Complex, consisting of an artfully decorated 18th century mosque, a minaret and reservoirs that once provided water for the entire city.
Overnight in Bukhara.
Tour Duration: approximately 6 hours
Have breakfast and check out from the hotel by noon. Enjoy free time before continuing your tour of Bukhara to the following locations:
  • Chor Minor (Four Minarets), an unusual madrassah built by Niyazkul in the 18th century, whose four minarets are said to reflect the four major world religions of that period.
  • Samanids Mausoleum (9th-10th centuries), believed to be the most ancient brick building in Central Asia, and the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum.
  • Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (19th century), the emir’s summer residence boasting of a blend of Oriental and Russian architecture.
  • Bakhautdin Naqsband Mausoleum, an ensemble dedicated to the founder of the Sufi Order "Naqshbandia"; the site includes a mausoleum, mosque, pond, and museum.
  • Chor-Bakr Necropolis, (City of the Dead, 10th century), ancient burial grounds which were developed into a memorial complex in the 1500s.
Return to the hotel. Overnight in Bukhara.
Tour Duration: approximately 5 hours
Breakfast at the hotel before checkout. Transfer to the railway station at 11:30 to take the fast train to Khiva (390km, 5.5hrs). Arrive in Khiva in the afternoon and check in to your hotel for a rest. You’ll be staying near Ichan Kala, the historical center of Khiva, the “Museum Under the Open Sky” that’s been preserved for nearly 1500 years.
Overnight in Khiva.
After breakfasts begin your walking tour of Khiva’s architectural complex Ichan Kala, the city’s historical center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city complex, which has been almost completely preserved for the past 1500 years, includes:
  • Kunya-Ark Fortress, the inner citadel of Ichan Kala;
  • Kalta Minor Tower, which would have been the tallest minaret in Central Asia had construction been completed; its name literally means “Short Tower”;
  • Muhammad Amin-Khan and Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasahs, the largest medieval madrasahs in Khiva;
  • Juma Mosque, built with 212 wooden columns and a minaret 32.5 meters high;
  • Tash-Hauli(Stone Courtyard Palace), which resembles a fortress with high battlements, towers and fortified gates;
  • Necropolis of Pahlavan Mahmud, ancient religious center of Ichan Kala;
  • Residence of Islam Khodja, personal advisor of the last khan. The complex consists of a madrasah and a minaret whose top platform has a height of 45 meters, the highest observation point in town.
Transfer in late afternoon to Urgench Airport (35 km, 45min) for an evening flight to Tashkent (1093km, 1h,40 min). Upon arrival to Tashkent, you’ll be brought to the hotel. Overnight in Tashkent.
Tour Duration: 6-7 hours
Your guide and driver will pick you up from the hotel to begin your Tashkent city tour, which will include:
  • Excursion to the Old City, including the Khazret-Imam Architectural Complex, which holds the oldest known Quran in the world.
  • Visit to Chorsu Bazaar, Tashkent’s most well-established bazaar that includes a large selection of traditional Uzbek ceramics, jewelry, handbags, garments and more.
  • Ride on the Tashkent Metro, an immaculate subway system with each station decorated in colored mosaics and ceramics to depict a specific theme.
  • Walk through Amir Timur Square, with a massive statue of none other than Tamerlane himself at the center.
  • Stroll through Independence Square, including the moving Mourning Mother Monument and the Eternal Flame, in memory of more than half a million Uzbek soldiers who died during World War II.
  • Drive to the Sacred Heart Cathedral, a 20th-century Roman Catholic Church with beautiful stained-glass windows and Gothic-style architecture.
  • Tour of the Applied Arts Museum, an informative collection of Uzbekistan’s finest handicrafts housed in an ornately decorated villa.
Free time for remainder of the day. Overnight in Tashkent.
Tour Duration: 4-5 hours
Free morning to pack up and prepare for your return flight home. Check out from the hotel by noon for transfer to the airport. End of Tajikistan-Uzbekistan 11-Day Tour.

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