Uzbekistan Compact Tour
Many of Uzbekistan’s cities were considered oases along The Great Silk Road linking eastern civilizations to the developing western civilizations. This short introductory tour visits two of the most famous of these, Samarkand and Bukhara, as well as the capital Tashkent, and will give you the flavour of ancient Central Asia. If you wish to include Khiva, this itinerary can be extended by three days as per our Uzbekistan Discovered Tour.
Arrival in Tashkent (D) – WEDNESDAY/SATURDAY
You are met at the airport after your overnight flight from the UK and assisted through immigration and customs before being transferred to your city hotel for an early check-in. En route your guide will give you a short introduction to Uzbekistan, and the rich history and cultural heritage of Tashkent. At the hotel you will have some free time to relax and unpack and have a light lunch (not included). In the afternoon you are taken on a half day city tour visiting Independence Square, Amir Timur Square and other famous historical and cultural sights. Afterwards there is a welcome dinner at a local restaurant followed by an overnight stay in Tashkent.
This morning commences with a transfer to the airport to board the short flight to Bukhara. After checking in to your hotel, you experience Bukhara in a full-day tour programme. Bukhara is a large, unique and authentic art museum that maintains its old oriental face. In the morning, we guide you to the magnificent Mire-e-Arab Madrasah and one of the most beautiful buildings in Central Asia, the Samanid Mausoleum. You then take a tour through the fortress Royal Ark to see the coronation hall and visit the summer residence of the last Emir. You enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before returning to the comforts of your hotel. Overnight in Bukhara.
Bukhara – Shakhrisabz- Samarkand (B/D) (260km 4h + 110 km – 3h)
Today involves a drive across the desert to the ancient town of Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of the 14th century Turco-Mongol conqueror, Timur or Tamerlane. The translation of Shakhrisabz means “Green City” which sits in the south of Uzbekistan some 90km from Samarkand. Here, in Shakhrisabz (UNESCO-World Heritage Site) you’ll tour the monumental memorials of the barbaric Mongol Prince and also have the opportunity to watch the thriving bustle of this lively town. Visit ruins of Ak-Saray palace (“the White Palace”) – Tamerlane’s summer residence. Then you are driven on to Samarkand; on the way you will visit a local guest house, where you will see the weaving of carpets. Arrival in Samarkand. Dinner at national restaurant.
After breakfast you start your city tour of Samarkand. The historical part of Samarkand consists of three main sections. In the north-east is the site of the ancient city of Afrosiab, founded in the 7th century B.C. and destroyed by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, which is preserved as an archaeological reserve. Excavations have revealed the ancient citadel and fortifications, the palace of the ruler (built in the 7th century displays important wall paintings) and residential and craft quarters. There are also remains of a large ancient mosque built in the 8th to 12th century. To the south there are architectural wonders and the medieval city of the 14th and 15th centuries. Other major sites include Gur Emir Mausoleum, Bibi Khanym Mosque built in the mid 15th century,and Rukhabad Mausoleum (“The Spirit Abode”) in whose dome, it is said, there is a box containing seven hairs of the Prophet Mohammed. Registan Square (“Sandy Place”) is the most visited place of Samarkand, which consists of three magnificent monuments: Ulugbek Madrasa (XV c.), Sherdor Madrasa (XVII c.), and Tilla-Kari Madrasa, along with richly decorated and historically significant mosques that contributed to the beauty of this culturally important period of civilization. Finally to the west there is the area that corresponds to the 19th and 20th century expansions.
After a leisurely breakfast we continue through the day to explore this city’s remarkable architecture and historical past. Your guide will take you to the Ulug Bek Observatory and Shah-i-Zinda to explore the blue-domed necropolis, with tombs dating back to the XI c. After a break for lunch, you have the opportunity to take a short drive out of the city to see a paper-making facility and a silk carpet factory before returning to the city for a rest and dinner in a local restaurant.
Samarkand – Tashkent (B/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, the morning is free to shop and pack. You check out by 1230 and then are taken for a light lunch before heading to the station to board the high speed train for Tashkent. You arrive late afternoon and check in to your hotel before dinner.
A morning at leisure prior to packing your suitcase and checking out. Optional excursions include a city tour around Tashkent with a visit to The Khast Imam complex, the library of Koran and other ancient manuscripts, Kukeldash Madrasa, or a trip on the magnificent metro to the local market “Chorsu”, or to the Museum of Applied Arts. Continue on to the airport to board your flight home to London. Arrival London Heathrow terminal 4 early evening, same day.
- International and internal flights in economy class
- Accommodation in hotels with early check-in in Tashkent (6 nights)
- Meals as indicated (6 breakfasts; 6 dinners)
- Air-conditioned vehicles
- Professional local English speaking escort guide throughout the tour
- Entrance fees for all mentioned monuments (except photo and video charges)
- Train tickets: Samarkand – Tashkent by train “Afrosiab” (economy class)
- Water during the trip (1 litre per day per person)
- Green hall in Tashkent airport
- ATOL protection
- Flight upgrades
- Regional UK departures
- Tour extensions
- Additional hotel nights
- Bespoke tour variations
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