Treasures of Uzbekistan In-Depth Tour

14
Days
Tashkent, Nukus, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Termez

Uzbekistan’s lure as a storybook land of wonder is hardly new, having filled curious travelers with admiration for centuries. Famed medieval explorer Ibn Battuta, who visited most of the eastern world in his lifetime, declared Samarkand to be ‘one of the greatest and finest of cities, and most perfect of them in beauty.’ Arab geographers of that time praised Bukhara as ‘the paradise of the world’ while the fierce grandeur of Khiva evoked awe in the few 18th century Europeans fortunate enough to set eyes upon it.
On the Treasures of Uzbekistan In-Depth Tour you’ll retrace the footsteps of explorers and conquerors of old as you discover this glorious land for yourself. Leave no stone unturned on this 2-week expedition that carries you from metropolitan Tashkent to the barren desert of Nukus, from the grand vestiges of legendary Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand to mysterious remains at Termez and Shakhrisabz, with cultural and historical treasures awaiting you around every corner.

Arrive in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital. Transfer to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon, and have a rest after your flight. Overnight in Tashkent.
After breakfast at the hotel, your guide and driver will pick you up to start your Tashkent city tour. The private tour includes:
  • 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 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.
Catch a late afternoon flight to Nukus from the domestic airport (800km, 2hrs). Upon arrival, a driver will meet you for transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Nukus.
Tour duration: 4-5 hours
In the morning, meet your driver at your Nukus hotel and depart for Muynak (200km, 3hrs).
Upon arrival, view the Cemetery of Ships, a former port now home to abandoned ships resting in the sand.
Tour the local History Museum (may be closed without prior notice), a sad yet impressive place where you can view the site of the former Aral Sea, climb up a lighthouse for an all-encompassing view, or even walk onto the dried-up seafloor to see the Cemetary of Ships up close.
After lunch at the Muynak guesthouse, return to Nukus via the Mizdakhan Necropolis, an ancient cemetery and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites of Karakalpakstan.
Continue to the remains of the Gyaur-Kala Fortress (Fortress of Infidels), built in the 4th century BC.
Return to Nukus in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel before visiting the 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 paintings and articles.
Check out of the hotel and depart for Khiva (200km, 4hrs). On the way, visit two archaeological monuments of ancient Khorezm: Chilpik Kala (app. 4th century BC), ancient Zoroastrian burial grounds known as the “Tower of Silence”, and Toprak Kala (3rd century), capital of Khorezm and one of the region’s most unique sites due to its size and architecture.
Arrive in Khiva and check in to the hotel. Overnight in Khiva.
After breakfast, meet your guide at the hotel to begin your walking tour of Khiva’s Ichan Kala, the city center 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,(Short Tower), which would have been the tallest minaret in Central Asia had construction been completed;
  • Muhammad Amin-Khan, the largest medieval educational institution in Khiva;
  • Muhammad Rahim Khan Madrasah, one of the largest madrassahs in all Central Asia;
  • Juma Mosque (Friday Mosque), with 212 wooden columns and a minaret 32.5 meters high;
  • Tash-Hauli (Stone Courtyard) Palace, resembling a fortress with towers and fortified gates;
  • Pahlavan Mahmud Necropolis, the former religious center of Ichan Kala;
  • 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!
Overnight in Khiva.
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
After breakfast, head to the railway station for your morning departure to Bukhara (456km, 5.5hrs). Your train will take a similar route as that of the Great Silk Road, which also ran through the Kyzylkum Desert between Khiva and Bukhara.
Upon arrival to Bukhara in the afternoon, your driver will take you to the hotel. Enjoy down time as you explore the old streets of Bukhara, whose alleyways resemble a living depiction of “A Thousand and One Nights”.
Overnight in Bukhara.
Have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before your private walking tour of the Old City’s most impressive sights:
  • The Lyabi-Hauz ensemble holds the largest artificial reservoir of medieval Bukhara (14th-17th centuries). This ensemble includes some of the largest madrassahs in Bukhara: the Khanaka Madrassah, Kukeldash Madrassah and Nadir Divan Beghi Madrassah (all 16th century);
  • The Magoki-Attori Mosque is the oldest mosque in Bukhara (12th century);
  • Walk through the four Trade Domes (15th-16th centuries), where you can join your traveling predecessors in purchasing carpets, jewelry and other handmade souvenirs;
  • Continue your city tour of Bukhara to the Poi Kalyan Ensemble (12th-16th centuries), consisting of the Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque, Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah and Miri-Arab Madrasah;
  • Explore the relatively untouched Ulugbek Madrasah (15th century) and Abdulazizkhan Madrasah (17th century);
  • Head to the Ark Fortress (4th century), the ancient center of Bukharin statehood and currently home to a small museum;
  • Stop by the Bolo-Khauz Complex, consisting of an artfully decorated 18th century mosque, a minaret and reservoirs that once provided water for the entire city;
  • Complete your city tour of Bukhara at the Samanids Mausoleum (9th-10th centuries), 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, continue your tour of greater Bukhara to the following locations:
  • Chor Minor (Four Minarets), an unusual madrassah built by Niyazkul in the 18th century;
  • Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (19th century), the emir’s summer residence boasting of a blend of Oriental and Russian architecture;
  • Bakhautdin Naqshband Mausoleum, an ensemble dedicated to the founder of the Sufi Order "Naqshbandia". The site includes a mausoleum, mosque, pond, and museum;
  • Chor-Bakr Necropolis, (City of the Dead, 10th century), ancient burial grounds which were developed into a memorial complex in the 1500s.
Return to Bukhara for a 14:00 departure by train to Samarkand (280km, 1.5hrs). Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Samarkand, the capital of Tamerlane's Empire.
Tour duration: approximately 4 hours
Breakfast at the hotel before your private tour of Samarkand, crossroad of the world's cultures:
  • 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 and souvenir stores;
  • 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 (Living Kings Complex), a burial complex built between the 9th-14th centuries. Climb the blue-domed path and explore more than twenty small mausoleums that line the broad alleyway;
  • Gur Emir, the imposing burial site of Tamerlane and Mirzo Ulugbek;
  • 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, your sightseeing tour of Samarkand region will continue:
  • 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; 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
Breakfast at the hotel. Your guide will meet you and drive to Shakhrisabz (90km, 2hrs) via the Tahtakaracha Pass. During your city tour of Shakhrisabz you’ll get to visit:
  • Downtown Shakhrisabz, unique for its town layout and architecture; 
  • 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, considered an astounding work of art by his contemporaries.
Return to Samarkand and transfer to the train station for an overnight ride to Termez. Overnight on the train to Termez.
Arrive to Termez in the morning and drop off your luggage at the hotel. A local guide and driver will meet you to begin your tour of the Termez region:
  • Kokildor-Ota Khanaka (16th century) – retreat center for Sufi dervishes, the Kokildor-Ota Khanaka’s architecture reflects a strong Afghan influence;
  • Kyrk-Kyz Fortress (9th-10th century) – this mysterious structure will impress with its complex archeological designs;
  • Sultan Saodat Ensemble (12-15th century) – a memorial complex of mausoleums and mosques built over a long period of time, Sultan Saodat holds the graves of the great Sayyid dynasty of Termez;
  • The Archaeology Museum of Termez, containing over 27,000 artefacts, including busts of Macedonian warriors, Buddhist replicas and artefacts unique to Termez dating back to the Kushan and Greco-Roman cultures;
  • Kara-Tepe – A 2nd-3rd century Buddhist shrine and ongoing archeological site;
  • Fayaz-Tepe – Buddhist temple complex complete with the remains of sleeping quarters, a kitchen and ancient aqueducts;
  • Al-Hakim at-Termezi – Burial vault of the Sufi religious leader Hakim at-Termezi and holy site for religious pilgrims, this compound holds pristine gardens and a small museum.
You’ll have free time in the evening to unwind after your busy day. Overnight in Termez.
Tour duration: 5-6 hours
After breakfast, check out and drive to the airport for a flight to Tashkent (690km, 1hr,10min). Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel for check-in.
Free time in Tashkent for city exploration or last-minute shopping.
Overnight in Tashkent.
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by a free morning. Check out from the hotel by noon. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. End of Treasures of Uzbekistan In-Depth Tour.

Prices in US$

Travellers 1234
Transfers 905615700605
Hotels standard 1200765765765
Hotels budget 945605605605
City tour 1020575500410
Single supplement for Standard: US$ 435 | for Budget: US$ 335
  • Transfers:

    Airport and train station transfers;
    Transfers Nukus-Muynak-Nukus, Nukus-Khiva, Samarkand-Shakhrisabz-Samarkand (1-2 ppl in sedan; 3-8 in minivan);
    Economy class flight tickets from Tashkent to Nukus and Termez to Tashkent (flight times subject to change based upon availability);
    Economy class train tickets for the Khiva to Bukhara and Bukhara to Samarkand, compartment class Samarkand to Termez 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 (12 nights, with breakfast).

  • City tour

    Private, local English-speaking guide and entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary on days 2, 3, 5, 7-12, plus entrance fees (with no guide) to sights on day 4;
    Lunch at guesthouse in Muynak;
    Transportation during the city tour on day 2 and 8-12 (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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