To say that Uzbekistan is the crossroads of the world’s cultures is no exaggeration. With over 2500 years of history, Uzbekistan has been dominated by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane and the Arabs, served as a religious center for Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Islam and welcomed travelers from the world over as they passed through on its Great Silk Road.
On Crossroads of the World’s Cultures Tour, you’ll spend seven memorable days traversing Uzbekistan, whose canvas still bears the imprint of its colorful history. Visit Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand’s most acclaimed sights, traveling by Uzbekistan’s new bullet train between the cities. Before and during your tour, you’ll be provided with professional service, support from knowledgeable and friendly local staff and the opportunity to tailor the Crossroads of the World’s Cultures Tour to suit your personal preferences.
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. Also on site are the Madrasah of Barak-Khan (16th century), Tillya-Sheykh Mosque, Juma Mosque and Mausoleum of Saint Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi (15th century).
- 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 Temur Square, with a massive statue of none other than Tamerlane himself at the center.
- Independence Square, including the moving Mourning Mother Monument and the Eternal Flame, burning continuously 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.
Tour duration: 4.5 - 5 hours
After beginning your excursion at Kunya-Ark Fortress, the inner citadel of Ichan-Qala, you’ll continue on to some of Khiva’s most famous sites:
- Kalta Minor Tower, once destined to be one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia.
- Muhammad Amin-Khan, the biggest medieval madrasah and educational institution in Khiva.
- Muhammad Rahim-Khan Madrasah, a sprawling complex that once stood as one of the largest in all Central Asia.
- Juma Mosque, built with 212 wooden columns and a minaret 32.5 m high.
- Tash-Hauli Palace (Stone Courtyard Palace), which resembles a fortress with high battlements, towers and garrisoned gates
- Necropolis of Pahlavan Mahmud, the ancient religious center of Ichan-Qala.
- Minaret and madrassah of Islam Khodja, the vizier of the last khan. The complex consists of a madrasah and a minaret whose top platform has a height of 45m, the highest observation point in town. Climb the minaret yourself to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view!
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
Overnight in your quiet and cozy Bukhara hotel.
- 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.
- Samanids Mausoleum (9th-10th centuries), believed to be the most ancient brick building in Central Asia, and the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum.
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
- 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.
- Emir's Summer Residence, Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (19th century), a unique site 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.
- Fayzulla Khodjaev House Museum, a replica of the interior of a 19th century Bukharan home and tribute to this influential leader’s life.
Tour duration: 3-4 hours
- 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.
Tour Duration: 6-7 hours
- Visit to the excavation site and museum of the ancient city Afrasiab.
- 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.
- 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!
Tour duration: 4-5 hours
- Airport and train station transfers.
- Accommodation based on double/twin room in 3-star hotel with breakfast (7 nights).
- Private, local English-speaking guide and entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary.
- Transportation during the city tour (1-2 ppl in sedan; 3-8 in minivan).
- Economy class flight ticket from Tashkent to Urgench (flight times subject to change based upon availability).
- Economy class train tickets for the Khiva–Bukhara-Samarkand-Tashkent route (on rare occasions when the high-speed train is unavailable, we will replace it with a reservation on the regular train).