Duration: 12 days, 11 nights
Kind of route: airway and motor coach tour
Season: March - November
Accommodation: Single/Double in hotels, overnight in yurtsTour itinerary: Tashkent - Samarkand - Shakhrisabz - Samarkand - Yurt camp in Nurata (Kyzil-kum desert) - Bukhara - Khiva - Urgench - Tashkent
Fascinating travel to Uzbekistan will introduce you to the ancient cities of the Orient - Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Shakhrisabz. You will encounter an unusual combination of modern and comfortable hotels surrounded by world famous monuments of ancient architecture which memorialize Alexander the Great, Chenghiz-Khan and Tamerlane, and experience a stay in yurts - the traditional dwellings of nomad people living around the immense and imposing sands of the Kyzil-kum desert. In an encampment near Aidarkul lake there will be the chance to take a short camel safari. For those who have never been on a camel before it is a very strange but rather interesting experience.
The tour-package consists of a combination of historical, architectural, cultural and natural components. We also recommend to you to look through a variety of additions that you can add to the main tour program during your free time based upon your wishes and preferences.
Evening arrival in Tashkent - the capital of Uzbekistan. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation. Rest after a long flight.
Breakfast. Transfer to Samarkand (315 km, 5 hrs) and hotel accommodation. 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 the 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 richest gilding on the dome, walls and mihrab surpassing all other famous buildings in Central Asia (17th c). A 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), an 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). Overnight in the capital of Tamerlane's Empire.
Breakfast. This day you will visit: the Siab bazaar, taste the best Samarkand bread and fruits, excavations and museum of the ancient city of Afrosiab, mausoleum of Khodja Daniyar - the legend associates him with the Koran' and Biblical prophet Daniyar (Daniel) whose remains were brought here by Tamerlan, memorial complex of the outstanding Sunni theologian Imam Mukhammad al-Bukhari (died in 870) and the biggest observatory of the 15th c. built by Ulugbeg. Free time to spend at leisure. Overnight in one of the most ancient cities in the world.
Breakfast. Transfer to Shakhrisabz - a unique monument of town-planning and architecture (90 km, 1.5 hrs). Shakhrisabz tour: ruins of "Ak-Saray Palace" - Tamerlan's summer residence that shocked the imagination of his contemporaries(14-15th c), "Jahongir Mausoleum" - mausoleum of Tamerlan's eldest and favourite son (14th c), complex "Dor-ut Saodat": "Khazratiy Imam Mosque" - the multi-stage mosque with domical hall with decorated ayvans (14th c), "Gumbazi-Seiidan" - maosoleum of possible offspring's of Temur, "Kok Gumbaz Mosque" ("Blue dome") - was built by Ulugbek on behalf of his farther Shahruh (15th c). The Golden Road to the historical town of Samarkand - a crossroad of the world's cultures. Overnight in Samarkand.
Breakfast. Transfer to yurt camp via the village of Yangigazgan (260 km, 4 hrs). Accommodation in traditional Kazakh yurts with all the necessary equipment: showers, kitchen etc. Lunch. Experience of sandy landscapes, flora and fauna of the Kyzil-kum desert. In the evening learn how to ride camels. Dinner around the fire with Kazakh akin singing. Overnight Silk Road's traditional style.
Breakfast. Drive to Aydarkul lake. Fishing, picnicking. Swimming. Eat fried fish for lunch caught from the lake. Return to the yurts. Camel riding or relaxing in the peaceful atmosphere of the desert. Overnight in yurts under the starry desert sky.
Breakfast. Drive to Bukhara (270 km, 4 hrs) via Nurata (in direct translation from Persian into English "Nur-ota" means "Father of Rays"). A visit to Sarmish canyon on the way to see the stone gallery of Bronze Age petroglyphs. In Nurata town you will visit: "Brothers Khasan and Khusan Mosque" - a place of Muslim pilgrimage, "Chashma" holy holly spring with plenty of fish "marinkas" ensuring the purity of the spring. It is a great pleasure to feed and observe the fish. A special interest is taken in "Namozgokh Mosque" (10th c) which was reconstructed by Emir Abdullah in 1582. The roof of the mosque is adorned by 25 domes. "Sheykh Khasan Nuri Medressa" (16-17th cc), ruins of the Alexander The Great citadel. Late afternoon arrival to Bukhara hotel accommodation. Splendid herbal teas in the spice cafe "Silk Road Spices". Free time for rest and walking through the old streets of Bukhara. One of "1000 & 1 nights" in Bukhara.
Breakfast. City tour: mausoleum of the Samanids - the most ancient brick building in Central Asia, a masterpiece of world architecture (9-10th c), mausoleum Chashma Ayub that belongs to the 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 the grandson of Tamerlan - Ulugbeg (15th c), "Abdulaziz-khan Madrassah" - 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 of 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 staying 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 travelers (14-17th cc), "Chor Minor" ("Four minarets") is an unusual madrassah built by Caliph Niyazkul (18th c). Overnight in quiet and cozy Bukhara hotel.
Breakfast. Transfer to Khiva via Kizil-Kum desert along the Caravan road (480 km, 5-7 hrs). Arrival in Khiva - the only "Museum under the open sky" in Central Asia that has been completely preserved up to the present day. Accommodation at the hotel, located inside or nearby "Ichan-Qala" - the historical center of Khiva which has been inscribed into UNESCO World Heritage List. Overnight in Khiva.
Breakfast. City tour around the architectural complex " Ichan-Qala" (12-19th cc.): " Kunya-Ark" khan's castle - the inner citadel of Ichan-Qala (16-17th cc.), " Kalta Minor Tower" ("Short minaret") that would have become the biggest and tallest minaret in Central Asia (19th c.), " Muhammad Amin-Khan" - the biggest medieval medressa in Khiva (1845-1855 yy.), " Djuma Mosque"with 212 wooden columns and a minaret 32,5 m height (10th c.), " Tash-Hauli" ("Stone courtyard") palace looking like a fortress with a high battlements, towers and fortified gates (19th c.), " Ak-Mosque" ("White Mosque") - a small quarter mosque by the gates of Palvan-Darvaza (1838-1842), necropolis of Pahlavan Mahmud - the cultic center of Ichan-Qala (1810-1913 yy.), residence of Islam Khodja (1910 y.) - the vizier of the last khan. Ensemble consists of the smallest medressa in Khiva and a minaret whose top platform has a height of 45 m and is the highest observation point in town. Free time at leisure. Overnight in Khiva.
Breakfast. Transfer to Urgench airport (35 km, 30 min) for morning flight HY 1052 to Tashkent at 09:20. Arrival in Tashkent at 10:50 and hotel accommodation. City tour around Tashkent: "New Tashkent Television Tower" - the highest in Central Asia - 375 m, "Memories to Victims of Repressions" - 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. necropolis of imam Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Kaffal Shashi who was one of the first Muslim imams and famous divine poet (16th c), "Barak-khan Medressa" - built by Suyunidj-khan - the first ruler of Uzbek dynasty of Sheibanid's (16th c), "Tellya Sheikh Medressa" also called "Khast Imom Mosque" where Osman Quran - the world's oldest is kept (19th c), "Mui-Mubarak Medressa (19th c)", "Juma Mosque" (15-19th cc), Imam Ismail al Bukhari Islamic Institute - a two year post-medressa academy, "Hadra" square, "Kukeldash Medressa" ("Foster brother") - was built by Kukekdash - the vizier of Tashkent khans (16th c), "Jami Mosque"- the third biggest mosque in Uzbekistan, "Chorsu" - oriental bazaar, "National park", "Abdulkasim Medressa" now is the centre for traditional arts with attractive souvenirs by local artisans (19th c). Overnight in Tashkent.
Breakfast. Transfer to Tashkent Airport for morning flight to next destination, good bye to the wonderful land, back to monotony with the intention of returning.