Pearls of Central Asia: Uzbekistan 9 days/8 nights

ITINERARY: TASHKENT – URGENCH/KHIVA – BUKHARA – SHAKHRISABZ – SAMARKAND – TASHKENT

 Join us for the Exclusive 9-day Uzbekistan tour that includes classical visits to unique architectural complexes of the world–famous historical cities of Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand and Shakhrisabz, the key points on the Great Silk Road. Ancient cities, magnificent monuments most of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, carefully kept traditions and handicrafts attract more and more travelers to this unknown until recently destination.

This is a great opportunity to get to know more about local customs and traditions and feel deep hospitality and originality of Uzbek people by the example of particular families.

Do not miss it!

Best period to visit: all the year round 

FLIGHT DURING THE TOUR: flight HY-1051 – Tashkent 07h50 – Urgench 09h30, on day 3

TRAIN: high-speed train “Afrosiab” Samarkand/Tashkent at 17h00/19h10, on day 8

DAY 1 ARRIVE TASHKENT

P.M.: Arrive in Tashkent, the capital of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Meeting at airport. Transfer to hotel. Accommodation at hotel. Overnight at hotel. No meals

DAY 2 TASHKENT

The history of Tashkent is almost 2000 years old, and for this period the city passed a long way from small settlement to the metropolitan center. Nowadays, Tashkent is one of the most important industrial, financial and cultural centers not only in Uzbekistan but also all over Central Asia. Spend the day exploring Tashkent: visit to Khast Imam Square – the holy heart of Tashkent consisting of Barak Khan Madrassah (the administrative center of the Mufti of Uzbekistan, the head of official Islam in the Republic), Tillya Sheykh Mosque (now serves as the district’s Friday Mosque but the highlight is the immense Osman Koran, claimed to be the world’s oldest) and Kafal Shashi Mausoleum (the grave of a local doctor, philosopher and poet of Islam who lived from 904 to 979). Modern Tashkent includes Museum of Applied Arts (housed in an ancient palace of a tsarist diplomat Polovtsev); Independence Square; visit Tashkent metro and Chorsu Bazaar.

Overnight at hotel. B

DAY 3 TASHKENT – URGENCH – KHIVA

Transfer to airport for morning flight HY-1051 – Tashkent 07h50 – Urgench 09h30. Upon arrival in Urgench, direct drive to Khiva (30 km). Arrival in Khiva.

Check in to hotel after 14h00.

Spend the day exploring Khiva. Visit to Ichan Kala, architectural complex of the inner city, surrounded by the large fortress wall with four gates. There are more than sixty architectural monuments: palaces, mosques, madrassahs, minarets and mausoleums inside the inner town: Muhammed Aminkhan Madrassah and its minaret; Kunya Ark and Juma Mosque with 218 pillars (one of the most ancient structures in Central Asia; Tash Khauli palace (the Harem of Khiva Khans); Mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud; Islam Khodja complex and other monuments.

During the excursion, a visit to the workshops of craftsmen housed in ancient madrassahs, where one can watch the wood carvers, silk carpet weavers, pottery makers at work.

Overnight at hotel. B

DAY 4 KHIVA – BUKHARA

Depart for Bukhara via Kyzylkum desert (450 km – app. 8 hrs drive). Arrival and accommodation.

Overnight at hotel. B

DAY 5 BUKHARA

Architectural heritage of Bukhara is really very rich – caravan-sarais and trading domes, public baths and big pools, defensive walls and city gates, khanakas and mausoleums, mosques and madrassahs, individual structures and big complexes. Decorative methods, splendor designs and original ideas of architects strike the imagination of anyone: Lyabi-Khauz Complex; trading domes consists of three trading centeres of the 14th to 17th century: Tok-i-Sarrafon – Moneychangers Bazaar, Tok-i-Tilpak Furushon – Cap makers Bazaar, Taqi Zargaron - Jeweler’s Bazaar; Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, the symbol of the city; the Citadel Ark – highest point in the city; Bolo-Khauz mosque; Chashma-Ayub shrine (XIV-XVI cc.) known as a curative source; the Samanids Mausoleum that considers to be a masterpiece of Central Asian architecture. During the excursion, a visit to handmade golden embroidary workshop, where one have a chance to see technology of embroidery which has been passed from one generation to another for centuries, and which is well know by its national articles with ornaments & magnificent forms embroidered with golden threads.

Folklore performance at one of the ancient madrassahs (depending on weather conditions).

Overnight at hotel.B

DAY 6 BUKHARA – SHAKHRISABZ – SAMARKAND

A.M.: Drive to Shakhrisabz – motherland of Tamerlane (300 km/ app. 4-5 hrs. drive), where the great ruler and military commander Timur ordered to build Ak-Sarai Palace, two mausoleums for his sons, Djakhongir and Omar-Sheikh and a tomb for himself. Today Shakhrisabz is a small town at foothills with beautiful landscapes of snowy mountains, sunny steppes and herds of cattle.

SS tour of Shakhrisabz: Remnants of Ak-Sarai Palace, bazaar of Shakhrisabz, Kok-Gumbas mosque & Gumbazi-Seidan mausoleum (Dorut Tilovat ensemble, XIV century), Khazret-Imam mosque (Dorus-Siadat ensemble, XIV century).

P.M.: Proceed to Samarkand (90 km/1.5-2 hrs. by cars via mountain pass or 150 km/app. 2.5-3 hrs by minibus). Arrive in Samarkand, a key city on the Great Silk Road.

Overnight at hotel. B

DAY 7 SAMARKAND

Samarkand has witnessed a lot of upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great (Macedonian), the Arabic Conquest, Ghengis-Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane’s. Hence, Samarkand’s culture was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures.

FD SS tour of Samarkand: Registan Square (meaning “sandy place”) became an official centre of Samarkand since Tamerlane the Great’s time. The Square is surrounded by the Ulugbek’s madrassah (1417-1420), the Sher-Dor madrassah (1619-1636), and Tilla-Kori madrassah (1646-1660); Mosque Bibi-Khanum (named in hohor of Timur’s eldest and favorite wife); Siab bazaar, a colorful main farmers’ market; Necropolis Shakhi-Zinda and ensemble of mausoleums of the 11th-19th centuries (According to the legend, the ensemble was erected around the grave of Kussam, a son of Abbas and cousin of Mohammed); Gur-Emir Mausoleum (graves of Tamerlane and his descendants, 15c);

Overnight at hotel. B

DAY 8 SAMARKAND – TASHKENT

Check out before 12h00 noon.

Continue SS tour: Afrosiab museum of the city foundation; Observatory of Ulugbek (Ulugbek, Timur the Great’s grandson, was the founder of the unique constructions of the observatory (1428-1429); A visit to the Silk Paper Center “Meros” to see the ancient process of paper making. Samarkand was the first city in Central Asia (and the second in the world!) to produce its own paper. By the middle of the 19th century, its silk paper virtually disappeared. Here at MEROS the artisans have revived this ancient tradition and reintroduced Samarkand Paper to the world.

Then, we arrange a visit to the local family living in a village of Samarkand (app. 20 km away from Samarkand), to get acquainted with their life, their small private farming, with bread making process followed by lunch with the family. Return to Samarkand.

Transfer to railway station for high-speed train “Afrosiab” Samarkand/Tashkent at 17h00/19h10.

Upon arrival transfer to hotel, accommodation.

Overnight at hotel. B, L

DAY 9 TASHKENT – DEPARTURE

Transfer to airport for International flight. B

 

ACCOMMODATION IS BASED ON THE FOLLOWING HOTELS:

  • Tashkent City Palace 4* / similar 2 + 1 night
  • Khiva Orient Star Khiva (hotel – madrassah) 1 night
  • Bukhara Omar Khayam / similar 2 nights
  • Samarkand Asia Samarkand 4*/ similar 2 nights

SERVICES INCLUDED:

  • Accommodation based on SGL/TWN/DBL;
  • Tourist tax in Uzbekistan – 2 USD/pax/night;
  • Meal Base: B&B: 8 breakfasts (from breakfast on the 2nd day till breakfast on the 9th day) + 1 lunch on the 8th day;
  • English-speaking LOCAL guides in each city for excursion time only;
  • All excursions and etrance fees to monuments as indicated in the program;
  • A/C transportation for all airport transfers, drives, visits: car (1-2 pax), minibus 11-14 seated (3-6 pax), minibus 18 seated (7-9 pax);
  • Uzbek visa support fee (if need be);
  • Bottled water (0.5 l per person per day);
  • Train ticket SKD/TAS (economy class) – 25 USD/pax (subject to change);
  • Folklore performance in Bukhara;
  • Visit to Silk paper Center in Samarkand

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED:

  • Travel health insurance;
  • Visa for Uzbekistan;
  • International flights;
  • Domestic flight Tashkent/Urgench – 115 USD/pax (subject to change);
  • Single room supplement;
  • Supplement for upgraded train seat category – 10 USD/pax (Business class) and 20 USD/pax (VIP class) – subject to change;
  • Camera and video charges at monuments, luggage overweight, all personal expenses, tips for guides, drivers.
Included services:
Guide
Breakfast
Lunch/Dinner
Beverages (non-alcoholic)
Car (with driver)
Fuel, Petrol
Bus/train tickets
Domestic flight tickets
Entrance fees (i.e. parks, events)
Accommodation (Homestay)
Accommodation (Hotel)
Transport: Offroad vehicle 4x4
Languages:
English
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French
Spanish
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Russian
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