ITINERARY & MAP
Transfer to hotel. Many flights arrive early in the morning, so you’ll have time to take a shower and rest before meeting with your group and the tour leader in the hotel. After introductions and breakfast, it’s time to begin your journey through fascinating Uzbekistan.
Where better to start than a tour of 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. Visit Amir Temur Square to view the statue of the great conqueror and next to it, the grand Independence Square. We complete the city tour of Tashkent with a visit to the Applied Arts Museum.
Hotel Wyndham 4* or City Palace 4* (in Summer)
Today we need to get up very early to catch domestic flight to Urgench, departing 07:15. Your new guide Umid will be joining you from now on. Upon arrival at Urgench Airport at 08:55 transfer to Khiva (ca. 40 min). After breakfast start walking tour of the city. Khiva is bursting with historical sites – and today you will get a chance to see them all. 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.
Hotel Asia Khiva 3* or similar
Some free time in the morning. At 11:00 check out from hotel and 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. Transfer to nearby Urgench, where you will have dinner first and then take a flight to Bukhara, departing 21:00. Upon arrival at 22:00 at Bukhara airport, transfer to hotel.
Hotel Asia 3* or similar
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 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: Minori Kalon complex, Ark Fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, Chiobs Mausoleum and spring, Bazaar, Mausoleum of the Samanids, and in the evening also the Synagogue and puppet workshop.
Hotel Asia 3* or similar
Check out from the hotel and depart at 08:30 to visit the Mausoleum of Naqshbandi, 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, around 11:00 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. At 12:30 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 13:30. At 15:52 we take the high-speed train Afrosiob to Samarkand. Upon arrival in Samarkand at 17:20 transfer to the hotel for check-in and dinner in the city.
Hotel L’Argamak 3* or similar
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 rivalled 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 city tour with a vist of Siyob Bazaar and the impressive Bibi Khanum Mosque right next to it. Then, finally you get to see Samarkand’s and arguably Uzbekistan’s most famous landmark, spectacular Registan Square. The focal point of ancient Samarkand is framed by three beautiful madrassas – Ulugbek, Sherdor and Tillya Kori. After lunch we will also visit Gur-Emir mausoleum, where Timur is buried. Free time in the afternoon. Dinner in the city.
Hotel L’Argamak 3* or similar
We begin the city tour on our second day in Samarkand just outside the city in the village Koni Ghil to explore the traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry. Back in the city we then visit Ulgubek’s observatory, once the biggest research center of Central Asia. Ulugbek was decades ahead of the West with his observations of the solar system and the earth and we will learn more about his story in this prestigious setting. Our next stop is Shah-i-Zinda, the necropolis where family members of Timur are buried. In the afternoon visit of Afrasiyab Museum, where you can learn more about the ancient city of Samarkand – then known as Afrasiyab – that was destroyed by the Mongols in early 13th century. Free time. At 17:30 departure from Samarkand by Afrosiyob high-speed train. Upon arrival in Tashkent at 19:40 dinner in the city, then transfer to hotel and check-in.
Hotel Wyndham 4* or similar
Check-out from the hotel before noon. Free time until transfer to Tashkent International Airport.