Uzbekistan Discovered Tour
This popular itinerary covers all the highlights of Uzbekistan including the citadel of Khiva and the beautiful iconic architecture of Samarkand. This signature tour introduces the country with time in Tashkent before exploring the great sites and cities of Uzbekistan and the Silk Route and travelling across the Kyzyl Kum Desert to the ancient city of Bukhara. The tour ends with a trip on the train from Samarkand back to Tashkent.
TASHKENT – KHIVA – BUKHARA – SHAKHRISABZ – SAMARKAND – TASHKENT
Day 1 (Wednesday)
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.
Day 2 (Thursday)
Tashkent – Khiva (B/D)
You check out after breakfast to explore the Khast Imam complex, the library of Koran and other ancient manuscripts, and Kukeldash Madrasa. You are then taken to the airport to board the flight to Urgench. You are met at the airport and transferred the short distance to Khiva, a “Museum under the open sky” in Central Asia, a title given to this amazing thriving city. Check-in at the hotel where you stay for 2 nights.
Day 3 (Friday)
After breakfast your tour continues to the southern border of the seven river lands, in the oasis of Khiva. When you look upon the mighty city wall of Khiva with its gates and bastions of clay, you will be taken to another world: Around the Kalta Minor Minaret life still pulses today as it did in ancient times. The tour will take you to palaces, mosques, minarets, mausoleums and Koran schools to demonstrate what mediaeval oriental urban development must have been like. The city tour revolves around the architectural complex “Ichan Kala”; Kunya Ark, the khan’s fortress – the internal citadel which seems to have stood still in time. You can spend some time bartering over goods and choosing from an abundance of products before a visit to the Islom Khodja Residence (1910) –the residence of the main vizier of the last Khiva khan. You have some free time followed by dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in Khiva.
Day 4 (Saturday)
Khiva – Bukhara (B/L/D) (480 km – 8h)
After breakfast you transfer to Bukhara across the mysterious red Kyzul-Kum desert. Enjoy a prepacked picnic lunch taken at one of the few resting places along this route and view the old Amu Darya river (ancient Oxus) before arriving in Bukhara where you will stay for two nights.
Day 5 (Sunday)
Today, you will experience Bukhara in an all-day tour programme. Bukhara is a large, unique and authentic art museum that maintains its old oriental face. Situated in the middle of the Kyzyl Kum desert, the ancient city features about one thousand monuments, which recall the halcyon days of the Great Silk Road. Foreign spices, furs and especially silk fabrics were stored and handled in the caravansaries. In the morning, we guide you to the magnificent Mire-e-Arab Madrasah and the most beautiful and precious building in Central Asia, the Samanid Mausoleum. Then you take a tour through the fortress Ark where you see there the coronation hall and visit the summer residence of the last Emir. In the UNESCO-recognised old city you can see the Kalyan Minaret and its Po-i-Kalyan complex, as well as the Lyabi-Hauz Ensemble, and its Magok-i Attari Mosque. You enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant before returning to your hotel for your overnight stay.
Day 6 (Monday)
Bukhara – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand (B/D) (260 km – 4h + 110km – 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.
Day 7 (Tuesday)
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.
Day 8 (Wednesday)
A full day to explore more of this beautiful city. 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 then have the opportunity to take a short drive out of the city to visit the Mausoleum of Imam Bhukhari and 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.
Day 9 (Thursday)
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 (subject to ticket availability). You arrive late afternoon and check in to your hotel before dinner.
Day 10 (Friday)
A morning at leisure prior to packing your suitcase and checking out. Optional excursions include 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 domestic flights in economy class
- Accommodation in hotels with early check-in in Tashkent (9 nights)
- Meals as indicated (9 breakfasts; 1 lunch; 9 dinners)
- Transportation services in air-conditioned vehicle
- 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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