Short Tour of UNESCO Sights

Bukhara, Samarkand

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.

Transfer to the domestic airport in the morning. Take a flight to Bukhara (app 1 hr). Upon arrival to Bukhara, one of the most esteemed cities of Islamic civilization, you’ll be taken to your hotel to leave your luggage before your exploration begins.
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 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
Have breakfast and check out from the hotel by noon. Enjoy free time before continuing your tour of Bukhara 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.
Return to Bukhara and transfer to the train station. Take the fast train to Samarkand (280km, 1.5hrs). Upon arrival a driver will take you to your hotel in Samarkand, the capital of Tamerlane’s Empire. Overnight in Samarkand.
Tour duration: 4 hours
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and begin your private tour of Samarkand with a local, experienced guide. Your tour will take you to the following places:
  • 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.
Take the late afternoon train to Tashkent (330 km, 2.5hrs). Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to your hotel. End of Short Tour of UNESCO Sights.
Tour duration: approximately 6 hours

Prices in US$

Travellers 1234
Transfers 225165180160
Hotels standard 160100100100
Hotels budget 120808080
City tour 390225195160
Single supplement for Standard: US$ 55 | for Budget: US$ 40
  • Transfers:

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

  • City tour

    Private, local English-speaking guide and entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary on days 1, 2 and 3;
    Transportation during the city tour on day 2 and 3 (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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