Uzbek Art and Culture Tour

12
Days
Tashkent, Kokand, Fergana, Margilan, Rishtan, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Bukhara, Khiva, Nukus

Uzbekistan has long excelled in craftsmanship, thanks in part to the influence of Tamerlane, whose meticulous demands for grandiose architecture are appreciated today in the remains of his empire in Samarkand and Shakhrisabz. Yet Uzbekistan’s displays of artistic brilliance are hardly limited to one region – consider Khiva, commonly known as the “Museum Under the Open Sky”, the silk products of the Fergana Valley in demand around the world, or Bukhara, distinguished even today for its Old World charm.
The Uzbek Art and Culture Tour has been specially designed for travelers wanting to delve deeper into the craftsmanship that has shaped Uzbekistan through the centuries. Beginning with the Applied Arts Museum of Tashkent, you’ll weave your way through resplendent ceramics of the Ferghana Valley and watch as woodworkers and embroiderers work their magic before your eyes in Margilan. Continue on to Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Gijduvon, Bukhara, Khiva and Nukus, visiting workshops, museums and architectural wonders along the way. Join us for 12 days of artistic inspiration and cultural appreciation!

Arrive in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, where a driver will take you to your hotel. Hotel check-in begins at noon, followed by a rest after your flight.
In the afternoon your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel to begin your Tashkent city tour. Your private tour 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 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;
  • Tour of Independence Square, including the touching World War II Mourning Mother Monument and the Eternal Flame;
  • 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.
Overnight in Tashkent.
Tour duration: approximately 5 hours
Take the morning train from Tashkent to Kokand (240km, 4hrs). Your guide and driver will meet you at the station to begin your city tour of Kokand, once the capital of the Kokand Khanate. The tour includes:
  • Excursion to the Palace of Khudoyar-Khan (19th century), the home of the last and greatest emir which includes nearly twenty rooms, a small museum and a stunning throne room ceiling;
  • Jami Mosque (19th century), including a portico with 98 painted, gold-engraved columns and a minaret that visitors can climb for a great view of Kokand;
  • Norbutabiy Madrasah (late 18th century), displaying a stunningly beautiful exterior and architecture unique to the region. It encompasses a mosque, verandah and classrooms in which students are taught even today.
Continue driving to Rishtan (45km, 50min), famous for producing the finest pottery in all Central Asia. You’ll visit the home of a well-known ceramic master and participate in a workshop, where tricks of the trade handed down from father to son for generations will be demonstrated before your eyes.
After the workshop, continue to the city of Fergana (50km, 50min). Arrive in Fergana and check in to the hotel.
Overnight in Fergana.
In the morning, if your visit falls on a Thursday or Sunday, visit the Kumtepa Baazar, the largest market in Fergana Valley.
Afterwards, drive to Margilan (25km, 35min) the silk capital of Uzbekistan. Spend the afternoon at its two most educational locales:
  • Said Akhmad-Khoja Madrasah (19th century), housing skilled craftsmen under its colorfully painted ceilings. Wander through each room to admire the top-quality carpets and silk products, or purchase handmde souvenirs from the masters themselves;
  • Yodgorlik Silk Factory and Workshop, where you can watch the art of silk production from start to finish and buy scarves, clothing and other products in the famous ikat and khan-atlas patterns. (Factory is closed on Sundays).
Drive back to Tashkent through the Kamchik Mountain Pass, which at 2267 meters above sea level is resplendent with panoramic views (320 km, 4-5hrs). Arrive in Tashkent. Overnight in Tashkent.
After breakfast at the hotel, take the morning train to Samarkand (310km, 2hrs,15min), the capital of Tamerlane’s Empire and crossroads of the world’s cultures. A driver will meet you at the station and transfer you to the hotel to drop off your luggage. Begin your private tour of Samarkand, led by an experienced local guide, to the following renowned sites:
  • 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;
  • Ulugbek Observatory, where you can see the remains of a 14th-15th century sextant and tour the Ulugbek Museum.
Overnight in Samarkand.
Tour duration: approximately 6 hours
After breakfast at the hotel, your sightseeing tour of Samarkand region will include the following:
  • Visit to the excavation site and museum of the ancient city Afrosiab;
  • Tour of the mausoleum of Khodja Daniyar, 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; you’ll also have the chance to buy these unique souvenirs;
  • 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: 4-5 hours
Your guide and driver will meet you in the hotel lobby to drive to Shakhrisabz (90km, 2hrs) via the Tahtakaracha Pass. During your city tour of Shakhrisabz you’ll get to visit:
  • Dorus Saodat Memorial Complex, which includes the Jahongir and Omar Sheikh Mausoleum and the 14th-century Khazratiy Imam Mosque;
  • Dor-ut Tilovat Ensemble, including Kok-Gumbaz Mosque (Blue-Domed Mosque) and the burial vault of Tamerlane’s father;
  • Ruins of the Ak-Saray Palace (White Palace), Tamerlane's summer residence that was considered an astounding work of art by his 14th-15th century contemporaries;
  • Downtown Shakhrisabz, unique for its town layout and architecture.
Complete your city tour of Shakhrisabz and return to Samarkand in the afternoon. Overnight in Samarkand.
Total duration: approximately 7 hours
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Bukhara (270km, 4.5hrs) making two stops along the way:
  • Gijduvon, a small town whose traditional crafts and ceramics have been sought after in Central Asia for centuries due to their quality and colorful, decorative style. Visit the ceramic center and museum;
  • Rabat-i-Malik Caravanserai, 11th century ruins of the Karakhanid monarchs’ summer residence and Sardoba, a nearby ancient reservoir.
Arrive in Bukhara and check in to your hotel in the Old City, whose alleyways resemble a living depiction of “A Thousand and One Nights”. Overnight in Bukhara.
Begin the morning with a walking tour led by your local guide. Your private tour of Bukhara will include:
  • 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);
  • The four Trade Domes (15th-16th centuries), where you can join your traveling predecessors in purchasing carpets, jewelry, fabrics, ceramics and other handmade souvenirs;
  • 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;
  • Samanids Mausoleum (9th-10th centuries), believed to be the most ancient brick building in Central Asia, and the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum.
Free time in the evening to rest or have refreshments and people-watch at Lyabi Hauz, a lively meeting place in the evening for locals and visitors alike. Overnight in Bukhara.
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
Breakfast at the hotel before checkout and an 11:30am transfer to the train station. Take the fast train to Khiva (456km, 5.5hrs). Arrive to Khiva in the afternoon and check in to your hotel at Ichan Qala, the historical city center preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a walk around the neighborhood or a restful evening at the hotel. Overnight in Khiva.
After breakfast, begin your walking tour of Khiva’s Ichan Kala architectural complex, a city that has been almost completely preserved for the past 1500 years. Your tour will include:
  • Kunya-Ark Fortress, the inner citadel of Ichan-Qala;
  • 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 Madrasah, the largest medieval madrasahs in Khiva;
  • Juma Mosque, built with 212 wooden columns and a minaret 32.5 meters high;
  • Tash-Hauli Palace (Stone Courtyard Palace), which resembles a fortress with high battlements, towers and fortified gates;
  • Necropolis of Pahlavan Mahmud, ancient religious center of Ichan-Qala;
  • 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.
Overnight in Khiva.
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
Check out from the Khiva hotel in the morning and drive to Nukus (200km, 4hrs). On the way visit Chilpik Kala, ancient Zoroastrian burial grounds known as the “Tower of Silence” and thought to be the oldest example in the world of this practice; the top of the ruins now provides a great bird’s eye view of the surrounding region.
Arrive in Nukus and visit the world famous Savitsky Museum (closed on Mondays). The museum hosts the world's second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art and a large exposition of traditional Karakalpak objects and paintings.
Transfer to the airport for an evening flight to Tashkent (800km, 2hrs.). Upon arrival to Tashkent a driver will take you to your hotel. Overnight in Tashkent.
Free morning before hotel check-out by noon. Your driver will take you to the airport for your departure flight. End of the Uzbek Art and Culture Tour.

Prices in US$

Travellers 1234
Transfers 970600720590
Hotels standard 995635635635
Hotels budget 640410410410
City tour 805465395325
Single supplement for Standard: US$ 360 | for Budget: US$ 230
  • Transfers:

    Airport and train station transfers;
    Transfers two days in Fergana Valley, Samarkand-Shakhrisabz-Samarkand, Samarkand-Gijduvan-Bukhara, Khiva to Nukus (1-2 ppl in sedan; 3-8 in minivan);
    Economy class flight tickets from Nukus to Tashkent (flight times subject to change based upon availability);
    Economy class train tickets for the Tashkent to Kokand, Tashkent to Samarkand and Bukhara to Khiva routes (on rare occasions when the high-speed train is unavailable, we will replace it with a reservation on the regular train).

  • Accommodation:

    Accommodation based on double/twin room at hotel (11 nights, with breakfast).

  • City tour

    Private, local English-speaking guide and entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary on days 1-6, 8, and 10 plus entrance fees (with no guide) to Savitsky Museum on day 11;
    Transportation during the city tour on day 1, 4 and 5 (1-2 ppl in sedan; 3-8 in minivan).

  • Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour;
  • Consular fees for Uzbekistan tourist visa and Letter of invitation;
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Tips are not included (driver, guide, porter);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Travel insurance;
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under “Inclusion”.

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