Uzbekistan tour – Highlights Along The Silk Road
Experience the cultural diversity of Uzbekistan.
Day 1: Arrival to Tashkent and city tour
Welcome to Uzbekistan! Transfer to the hotel and early check-in at the hotel. You can have a rest after your long flight, take a shower, and have breakfast. After we start city tour to Tashkent. The largest city in Central Asia is a curious blend of Islamic and Soviet influences. Visit the Old City area of Tashkent where you will find the Khast Imom Complex which contains ancient holy Quran of Caliph Osman. Experience the bustling crowds of traders at Chor-Su Bazaar before taking a ride on the city’s famous Soviet-era metro system which like Moscow’s features some of the most ornately decorated stations in the world. Exit at Amir Temur Square Station to view the statue of the great conqueror and next to it, the grand Independence Square
Day 2: Tashkeknt – Urgench (flight) – Khiva city tour
Today very early in the morning we will transfer to the domestic airport to catch the flight departing 7:25 am to Urgench. Upon arrival in Urgench at 8:55 am, 40 minutes transfer to Khiva.
We will visit the walled inner-city section of Khiva called Ichan-Kala. This old section of town preserves more than fifty historic monuments and hundreds of old houses dating back hundreds of years. The entire citadel is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you walk through the enormous city gates, you are confronted by the glistening Islamic beacon, the Kalta-minor Minaret. Delve deep into the town on a guided tour that embraces all of the city sites, and includes an ascent of the Islam Khodja Minaret, the highest minaret in Khiva. Enjoy broad views of Old Khiva atop the Kunya-Ark Citadel. During dinner, we will get the chance to watch exotic folklore show of local musicians and dancers from the Khorezm region.
Day 3: Khorezm – Bukhara flight
Today you are free to spend a day on your own in Khiva or you can decide to join the half-day trip to Ayaz Kala & Toprak Kala ruins in the desert (requires some steep ascents by foot). After breakfast, we depart towards Toprak & Ayaz Kala, clay ruins of ancient Khorezm in the desert. First, we drive 2 hours to Toprak Kala, ancient capital city of Khorezm around 2nd century AD). From there it is another shaky one hour drive to Ayaz Kala. According to archeological excavations, the Ayaz Kala fortress dates from the 2nd century BC. It was part of a system of border fortresses which stretched as a chain from east to west and which defended the Khiva oasis from the desert side. Return back to Khiva where we will have lunch and free time in the afternoon. Late check-out from the hotel by 6:00 pm. After dinner we take flight to Bukhara, departing at 9:10 pm. Upon arrival at 10:05 pm at Bukhara airport, transfer to the hotel.
Day 4: Bukhara city tour
The second of our UNESCO World Heritage stops – even the very name Bukhara conjures up images of the exotic Orient. For centuries, it was an important trading post and an academic center. The Old Town has been well preserved and is crammed full of minarets, mosques, and madrassas. Its once-notorious canals and pools, the source of many an epidemic, have now been drained but the most famous, Lyabi-Hauz, is still there, an oasis shaded by mulberry trees at the heart of the city. Your guide will show you the city’s unmissable sights and you can soak up the atmosphere wandering through Bukhara’s labyrinthine alleyways. Sights that you will see on today’s walking tour in the Old Town of Bukhara: Minorai Kalon complex, Ark Fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, Chiobs Mausoleum, and spring, Mausoleum of the Samanids. The guided tour ends in the early afternoon and you have some free time before dinner. Dinner in the city.
Day 5: Bukhara – Samarkand (Train 2 hours)
Check out from the hotel and depart to visit the Mausoleum of Naqshbandiy, 15km outside of the city center. There are many orders in Sufism and representatives of all the orders were present at different times in what is Uzbekistan today. The Sufi order Naqshbandiyya had the greatest and longest-lasting influence and the memorial place is still well visited by pilgrims. Next, we visit the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara – Sitorai Mokhi Hossa. «The place where the moon meets the stars» is what the name of the palace means in Persian. On the way back to Bukhara we see Chor Minor madrasa, whose four minarets (chor – four) and the style remind one of India’s building style. Lunch in the city. At 3:52 pm we take the high-speed train Afrosiob to Samarkand. Upon arrival in Samarkand at 5:20 pm transfer to the hotel for check-in and dinner in the city.
Day 6: Samarkand city tour
Sublime Samarkand evokes an almost mythical past full of romance and intrigue. This was the domain of Timur, one of history’s great conquerors. His vast empire rivaled any, stretching across the Eurasian steppe, who ruled his kingdom with an iron fist while at the same time patronizing the arts and literature. Much of his architectural heritage has been preserved, allowing us to see how the city might have been at the peak of his power.
We start the day with the visit of Gur-Emir mausoleum, where Timur is buried. We will hear the stories from his life and how did he start the construction of Samarkand. Then, we go to Registan Square – Samarkand’s and arguably Uzbekistan’s most famous landmark. The focal point of ancient Samarkand is framed by three beautiful madrassas (religious schools) – Ulugbek, Sherdor, and Tillya Kori. After lunch, we will have time to explore the Siab Bazaar, where fruit and vegetables grown from the rich soil of the Zarafshan Valley are sold in a colorful market. You may explore the city on your own during your free time this evening.
Day 7: Samarkand city tour – Tashkent
After breakfast, we visit Konigil Paper Mill. At the paper mill, you may see the process of paper production from mulberry tree bark – just like in 8th century Samarkand. We then go to Shahi Zinda, to the tile-rich street of turquoise and blue domes. After lunch, you can have free time or visit Ulugbek’s Observatory and Afrasiyab Museum. At the museum you can learn more about the ancient city of Samarkand – then known as Afrasiyab – that was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th century. We will catch our train to Tashkent later in the afternoon to go to Tashkent. Train leaves at 5:30 pm. Arrive in Tashkent at 7:40 pm and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant before the hotel check-in.
Day 8: Tashkent – Airport
Transfer to airport for departure. We hope you enjoyed your trip to Central Asia!