Footsteps of a Buddhist Monk 2: Buddhist monuments of Uzbekistan. Special Uzbekistan tour for Chin

Urumqi - Tashkent - Samarkand - Termez - Bukhara - Tashkent - Urumqi

Description: Uzbekistan! It is very different - near and distant, hot and gentle, windy and chilly, ancient and young... Located in the center of Central Asia between the Amu Darya (Oxus) and Syr Darya (Jaxartes) Rivers, Uzbekistan has a long and interesting history and a great cultural heritage. The history of international links between East and West on the Great Silk Road goes back a far way and is filled with interesting topics. This ancient caravan rout helped to develop both trade and cultural interaction of the various people using this route. Buddhism was brought to ancient Bactria (present territory of Termez city and Surkhandariya region of Uzbekistan) from India at the beginning of the 1st century A.D. via the Silk Route before moving on to China, Korea and Japan. It was the first region of Western Central Asia to meet the impact of Buddhism. In the period of the Kushan Empire, Buddhism spread over the Oxus boundary towards the north. And there, at the banks of the Oxus, monks and pilgrims from the south built first monasteries and sanctuaries.

Buddhism rapidly spread from Bactria to East and West. Many ancient temples and archaeological discoveries give evidence of it. From Chinese records we hear of Buddhist missionaries coming from Bactria in the first centuries AD.

The fabled Silk Road wound its way from China to the Mediterranean and, all along the route, fabulous cities sprang up. Names like Samarkand, Bukhara and Termez have a mystical quality but, as we'll discover on this journey through the heart of Central Asia, their treasures are very tangible.

The tour-package consists of a combination of historical, architectural, religious and cultural components. We also recommend that you look through the variety of additions that you can add to the main tour program in your free time based upon your wishes and preferences.

Travel itinerary: Urumqi - Tashkent - Samarkand - Termez - Bukhara - Tashkent - Urumqi

Day 1 (Fri.): Beijing - Tashkent
Arrival to Tashkent - the capital of Uzbekistan from Urumqi with the flight HY-508 at 16:00. Rest after a long flight. Overnight in Tashkent.

Day 2 (Sat.): Tashkent - Samarkand
Breakfast. Transfer to Samarkand (315 km, 4 hrs). City tour: Gur Emir Mausoleum - Tamerlan's tomb (14-15th c.) that was built for Temur's grandson Muhammad-Sultan and the tombs of three other Temurids - sons of Temur - Miranshah and Shahruh and his grandson Ulugbek, Ruhabad Mausoleum ("House of Spirit") - the legend says that under the dome there is a box with seven hairs of Prophet Muhammad (14th c.), Registan Square ("A sandy place") - the major square of Samarkand: Ulugbeg Medressa - Sheikh Khodja Akhrar and poet Djami were among outstanding graduates of the medressa (15th c.), Sher-Dor Medressa ("Having tigers") (17th c.), Tillya-Kari Medressa ("Coated by gold") - the rich gilding on the dome, walls and mihrab surpassed all other famous buildings in Central Asia (17th c.). The mosque named after Hazret-Hyzr - an Islamic saint and eternal wanderer. He was esteemed as giving richness and good luck in far voyages and trade (19th c.), cathedral mosque Bibi-Khanym that was named after the oldest wife of Tamerlan (14th c.), the architectural complex Shahi-Zinda (Alive king) - necropolis on the slope of the Afrosiab hill is connected with Kusam ibn Abbas - the cousin of Prophet Muhammad (11-15th c.), Siab bazaar. Free time to spend at leisure. Overnight in the capital of Tamerlane's Empire.

Day 3 (Sun.): Samarkand - Termez
Breakfast. Transfer to Termez. Accommodation in hotel. City tour: Archeological museum, Fayaztepa (the site of an ancient settlement of the 2-3rd cc.), Mausoleum of Hakim At Termezi (9-15th cc.) (4 km), Buddhist Stupa Zurmala (7 km), Mausoleum Sultan Saodat (10-15th cc.) (7,5 km), Honako Kokaldor Ota (16th c.) (4 km), Nunnery Kirk Kiz (9-10th c.) (4 km). Overnight in Termez.

Day 4 (Mon.): Termez - Bukhara
Breakfast. Surkhandarya region tour: Jarkurgan's Minaret (12th c.) (60 km from Termez), Bridge of Iskandar (16th c.) (45 km from Jarkurgan), Dalverzintepa archeological dig (1st c.), the capital of the Kushan Empire. Transfer to Bukhara. Arrival and hotel accommodation. Overnight in Bukhara.

Day 5 (Tue.): Bukhara
Breakfast. City tour: mausoleum of the Samanids - the most ancient brick building in Central Asia, a masterpiece of world architecture (9-10th c.), the mausoleum of Chashma Ayub that belongs to esteemed "places of trace" left by saints (14th c). The legend says that once the bible prophet Job (Ayub) visited this place. Visit to the museums of Imam Al Bukhari and "The Museum of Water". Bolo-Houz Mosque - the only monument of medieval Bukhara (beg. of 20th c.), Ark - the center of Bukhara statehood (4th c. BC), silk carpet shops, complex Poi Kalon ("Beneath the Great"): Kalyan Minaret - the main symbol of sacred Bukhara that symbolized authority and power of spiritual governors. (12th c.), Kalyan Mosque - its area of 130 x 80 m surpasses Bibi-Khanym mosque in Samarkand, Miri Arab Madrassah - active madrassah is one of the most esteemed spiritual Islamic universities (16th c.), Taki Zargaron - the dome of jewelers (15-16th cc.), Ulugbeg Madrassah - one of the 3 madrassahs constructed by grandson of Tamerlan - Ulugbeg (15th c.), Abdulaziz-khan Madrassah - a traditional madrassah with 2 floors of hudjras and a mosque on the central axis ( mid. of 17th c.), Tim of Abdullah-Khan madrassah (1588-1590), atlas shops, Magoki-Attari Mosque - the most ancient mosque in Bukhara (12th c.) is considered a masterpiece of Bukhara architecture, Khanaka and madrassah of Nadir Divan-Beghi - a massive rectangular structure that was a place for the refuge and meditation of Sufis (17th c.), Kukeldash Madrassah (16th c.) - one of the biggest Bukhara madrassah, Lyabi-Hauz ensemble - the largest artificial reservoir of medieval Bukhara - is very popular among tourists (14-17th cc.), Chor Minor ("Four minarets") is an unusual madrassah built by Caliph Niyazkul (18th c.). Overnight in a quiet and cozy Bukhara hotel.

Day 6 (Wed.): Bukhara - Tashkent
Breakfast. Tour outside the city: Emir's Summer Residence Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (19th c.), memorial necropolises Chor Bakr (10th c.), visit to the Bakhouddin Nakshbandi mausoleum (16-19th cc.), to the sepulchers of his mother and his preceptor (14th c.). Return to Bukhara. Free time for rest and walking through the old streets of Bukhara. Transfer to the trin station for night train Bukhara - Tashkent departure at 19:10. Overnight in train.

Day 7 (Thu.): Tashkent
Arrival to Tashkent at 06:20. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation. City tour around Tashkent: New Tashkent TV Tower - the highest in Central Asia - 375 m, Memorial to the Victims of Repression - the memorial complex and museum, Monument of Courage - the epicenter of Tashkent earthquake of 1966 (1976 y). Old part of the city: the architectural complex Khazret-Imam incl. the necropolis of imam Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Kaffal Shashi who was one of the first Muslim imams and a famous prophet and poet (16th c.), Barak-khan Madrassah - built by Suyunidj-khan - the first ruler of the Uzbek dynasty of the Sheibanid's (16th c.), Tellya-Sheikh Mosque (19th c.) also called "Khast Imom Mosque" where Osman Quran - the world's oldest is kept, Mui-Mubarak Madrassah (19th c.), Juma Mosque (15-19th cc.) - the third biggest mosque in Uzbekistan, Imam Ismail al Bukhari Islamic Institute - a two year post-Madrassah academy, Hadra square, Kukeldash Madrassah ("Foster brother") - was built by Kukekdash - the vizier of the Tashkent khans (16th c)., Chorsu - oriental bazaar, National park, Abdulkasim Madrassah which now is the centre for traditional arts with attractive souvenirs by local artisans (19th c). Overnight in Tashkent.

Day 8 (Fri.): Tashkent - Urumqi
Breakfast. Transfer to Tashkent Airport for flight HY-507 departure at 09:00 to Urumqi, good bye to the wonderful land, back to monotony with the intention of returning.


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