Crossroads of the World’s Cultures Tour

8
Days
Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand

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.

Arrive in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital. Transfer to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon, and have a rest after your flight.
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.
Overnight in Tashkent.
Tour duration: 4.5 - 5 hours
Transfer to the local airport in the morning to catch a flight to Urgench (1093 km, 1 hr, 40 min). After landing in Urgench, a driver will take you to the hotel in Khiva (35 km, 45 min.). Your guide will meet you at the hotel to begin your walking tour of Khiva, the “Museum Under the Open Sky”.
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 madrasah 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!
Overnight in Khiva.
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
After breakfast, head to the railway station to take the fast train to Bukhara (390km, app. 6hrs). Arrive in Bukhara, one of the most esteemed cities of Islamic civilization, and transfer to your hotel in the Old City, the heart of Bukhara that resembles a scene from Arabian Nights.
Overnight in Bukhara.
After a leisurely breakfast, explore Bukhara on a walking tour with your local guide. Enjoy your private tour of the Old City’s most impressive sights:
  • Lyabi-Hauz ensemble, holding the largest artificial reservoir of medieval Bukhara (14th-17th centuries). This ensemble includes some of the largest madrasahs in the city: the Khanaka Madrasah, Kukeldash Madrasah and Nadir Divan Beghi Madrasah (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.
Overnight in Bukhara.
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy free time until noon. Check out from the hotel and continue your tour of Bukhara region to the following locations:
  • Chor Minor ("Four Minarets"), an unusual madrasah 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.
Transfer to the train station to catch the bullet train to Samarkand (280 km, 1.5hrs). Arrive in Samarkand - the capital of Tamerlane's Empire. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Samarkand.
Tour duration: 3-4 hours
Breakfast at the hotel before beginning your private tour of Samarkand to the following 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: 6-7 hours
Breakfast and check out of the hotel. Your sightseeing tour of Samarkand will continue with trips to these culturally significant sights:
  • 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!
Transfer to the railway station to catch the afternoon train to Tashkent (330km, 2.5hrs). You’ll be met at the Tashkent station and taken to the hotel. Overnight in Tashkent.
Tour duration: 4-5 hours
Free morning. Check out of the hotel by noon and transfer to Tashkent International Airport. End of Crossroads of the World’s Cultures Tour.

Prices in US$

Travellers 1234
Transfers 420320345315
Hotels standard 700440440440
Hotels budget 495320320320
City tour 720405350285
Single supplement for Standard: US$ 255 | for Budget: US$ 175
  • Transfers:

    Airport and train station transfers (1-2 ppl in sedan; 3-8 in minivan);
    Economy class airline tickets from Tashkent to Urgench (flight times subject to change based upon availability);
    Economy class train tickets for the Khiva to Bukhara, Bukhara to Samarkand and Samarkand to Tashkent 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 (7 nights, with breakfast).

  • City tour

    Private, local English-speaking guide and entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary on days 1, 2, 4-7;
    Transportation during the city tour on day 1, 5, 6 and 7 (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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