Uzbekistan-Tajikistan 10-Day Tour

10
Days
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan

Uzbekistan-Tajikistan 10-Day Tour is one of our most unique excursions. Travel through Uzbekistan’s isolated border and mountain enclaves to mingle with remote villagers at a sprawling bazaar, learn firsthand about the intricate production of regional handicrafts, explore a cave-riddled canyon and see a famed mountain pass accessed by the world’s greatest conquerors. Tour the birthplace of Tamerlane and experience renowned Samarkand, Bukhara and Dushanbe before a refreshing day spent at Tajikistan’s Iskanderkul Lake.
Urban centers in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan continue to develop and flourish, yet the region is still home to countless villages and remote settlements that continue to maintain traditional patterns of life. Near small-town Shakhrisabz (a worthy destination in itself) lies Boysun, one such cradle of convention that guards a diverse collection of relics whose remote, authentic ambience is complemented by the flashy attractions of larger establishments such as Tashkent and Samarkand.

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 the hotel to begin your Tashkent city tour:
  • Excursion to the Old City, including the Khazret-Imam Architectural Complex, which holds the oldest known Quran in the world.
  • 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 Mourning Mother Monument and the Eternal Flame, burning 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 domestic airport for a morning flight to Bukhara (280km, 70min). Arrive in Bukhara and transfer to your hotel in the Old City.
With your private local guide, enjoy a walking tour of the most impressive sights of Bukhara’s Old City:
  • Lyabi-Hauz Ensemble, holding the largest artificial reservoir of medieval Bukhara (14th-17th centuries) and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
Have breakfast and check out from the hotel by noon. Enjoy free time before continuing your tour of Bukhara to the following locations:
  • Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (19th century), the emir’s summer residence boasting of a blend of Oriental and Russian architecture.
  • Bakhautdin Naqsband Mausoleum, an ensemble dedicated to the founder of the Naqshbandia Sufi order; 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 to catch an afternoon train to Samarkand (280km, 1.5hrs). Arrive in the historic town of Samarkand, seat of Tamerlane’s ancient empire.
Transfer to the Samarkand hotel, followed by free time to rest or explore the city.
Overnight in Samarkand.
Tour Duration: approximately 4 hours
Begin your tour of Samarkand, a city at the crossroads of the world’s cultures. The private city tour, led by an experienced, local guide, will include the following:
  • 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.
Overnight in Samarkand.
Tour Duration: 5 hours
Your guide will meet in your hotel lobby and drive you to Shakhrisabz (90km, 2hrs) via the Tahtakaracha Pass. The birthplace of Tamerlane, one of Uzbekistan’s most prominent historical figures, and an official UNESCO World Heritage site, Shakhrisabz has retained its small-town, conservative atmosphere. During your city tour you’ll visit:
  • Downtown Shakhrisabz, unique for its town layout and architecture;
  • Dorus Saodat Memorial Complex, which includes the Jahongir and Omar Sheikh Mausoleums 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 of the 14-15th centuries.
Complete your city tour of Shakhrisabz and return to Samarkand in the afternoon. Arrive to Samarkand for drop-off at the train station. Take the overnight train to Boysun (280km, 7hrs).
Duration of Tour: Travel time - approximately 4 hours; City tour time - approximately 3 hours
Upon arrival in Boysun, a driver will take you to the guesthouse, where check-in begins at noon.
Drive to Sayrob (120km, 90min) to view two 950-year old plane trees and water ponds teeming with fish.
Continue driving to Darband (Derbent; 100km, 75min) to visit:
  • Darband Canyon, a stunning gorge dotted with Tajik villages, verdant pastures, and caves;
  • Iron Gate, a narrow mountain pass where the armies of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan purportedly passed through.
On the return drive to Boysun (25km, 30min), visit:
  • Omonkhona Health Sanatorium, revered for its curative natural spring tucked away in a mountain niche;
  • Khodja Sulan Vali Cemetery, burial site of the holy man credited with bringing forth the natural spring from the parched earth;
  • Boysun Craftsmen Workshop, a UNESCO-backed house of art where demonstrations of traditional carpet weaving, thread dying and suzani embroidery are taught and the region’s finest productions of each are on display.
Free time in the village. Overnight in Boysun.
Note: no guide is provided on this day
Transfer in the morning to the Uzbeksitan-Tajikistan border crossing near Sariosiyo (130km, 2.5hrs). Along the way you’ll visit:
  • Sayyid Otaliq Madrasah (16th-17th century), one of Central Asia’s largest religious institutions;
  • Denau Bazaar, the largest bazaar in the district which attracts shoppers from the region’s remote villages.
At the border, pass through passport control on both sides. Your driver will meet you at the Tajikistan border for transfer to Dushanbe (80km, 1.5hrs). Free time upon arrival. Overnight in Dushanbe.
Your guide and driver will meet you at hotel reception for a city tour of Dushanbe, beginning with a drive to the sites at Hissar Historical and Cultural Reserve (30km, 50min):
  • Hissar Fortress (17th-19th centuries), where the impressive gates of a castle, once the home of a Bukharin emir, still amaze with their stateliness;
  • Kukhna Madrasah (17th century), a spacious religious school that functioned until the early 20th century, it now contains a small history museum;
  • Khistin Caravanserai (19th century), an unusual caravanserai constructed of burnt brick.
Drive back to Dushanbe to continue your tour to the following:
  • National Museum of Tajikistan, holding more than 40,000 expositions on Tajikistan’s history, nature and art, including a 12-meter statue of Buddha discovered on Tajikistan territory;
  • Haji Yaqub Mosque (19th century), Dushanbe’s landmark mosque that can hold up to 3,000 people;
  • Rudaki Park, a beautifully manicured park filled with fountains, flowers and a tasteful monument of Rudaki in the center;
  • Gurminj Musical Instruments Museum, dedicated to celebrating the musical heritage of the Tajiks and Pamiris through a collection of national instruments, music lessons and periodic concerts;
  • Ayni Opera and Ballet Theatre (1940s), whose gorgeous outer décor is accentuated by the pristine lawns that surround it;
  • Statue of Ismail Somoni, a classy tribute to the founder of the Tajik people which towers 25 meters high in the city center;
  • Mehrgon Market, Dushanbe’s newest bazaar housed in an ornately designed atrium.
Overnight in Dushanbe.
Tour Duration: approximately 5 hours
In the morning, your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel in Dushanbe. Drive to Iskanderkul Lake (130km, 3hrs), enjoying the beautiful scenery of red-tinted mountains along the way. The drive along the M34 Highway will continue through the Anzob Pass, which runs 3400 meters above sea level and is considered the best viewing point for the Fann Mountains.
Spend the afternoon at legendary Iskanderkul Lake, where you’ll have free time to walk around, enjoy a picnic lunch and dip your feet in the water. A short hike will take you to the 40-meter-high Fann Niagara Waterfall, where an observation deck allows you to view the falls unhindered. The area also holds small natural springs and Snake Lake, named for the unusually large number of snakes that inhabit its waters due to their warm temperatures.
Return to the capital in the afternoon. Overnight in Dushanbe.
Tour Duration: Travel time - approximately 6 hours; Lake time - approximately 3 hours
Free morning to pack up and prepare for your return flight home. Transfer to the airport. End of Uzbekistan-Tajikistan 10-Day Tour.

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