Of the five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Uzbekistan, Samarkand and Old City Bukhara are indisputably the most visited and well-known of all. One glance at their glorious structures will reveal why: Bukhara is a striking testimony to the advanced city planning and structural design of the ancient Islamic world, and Samarkand a vivid example of architectural craftsmanship at its finest, which served as a blueprint for countless building endeavors in Asia and the Middle East.
The Short Tour of UNESCO Sights is a well-planned journey to Samarkand and Bukhara, the two cities that have put Uzbekistan on the map. This 3-day tour allows you to re-live history in a manner rarely possible in our world today. Plus, it can easily be accommodated into your schedule, has two different route options and affords you the option of choosing Standard, Budget or Transfers package.
The reverse itinerary can be arranged for this tour.
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). 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.
Tour duration: 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: approximately 6 hours
- Airport and train station transfers.
- Accommodation based on double/twin room in 3-star hotel with breakfast (2 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 airline ticket for Tashkent to Bukhara flight (flight times subject to change based upon availability).
- Economy class train tickets for the 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).