Visit thousand-year-old mosques, retrace the historic silk route and enjoy local nomadic traditions in the beautiful wilderness of this fascinating country
Day 1: Arrival into Tashkent
Upon arrival at Tashkent Airport you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel. You will have the rest of the day to spend at leisure in the city. Amir Temur Square, a pedestrianized street with artists, restaurants, cafes, city fountains and modern monuments, is an excellent place to visit in the afternoon. In the evening you will be taken on a brief tour of the city.
The capital of Uzbekistan and the largest, most dynamic city in Central Asia, Tashkent is a pleasant city with wide tree-lined boulevards, large parks and a blend of modern and 19th Century-style Russian buildings. Things to see include some fascinating 16th and 17th century madrassahs (Muslim theological schools), the bazaar, traditional craft centres and several excellent museums, such as the Fine Arts Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts with its interesting Uzbek architecture.
Day 2: Transfer to Khiva & City Tour
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for a morning flight to Urghench, where you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to Khiva. After a few hours at leisure in the hotel, you will be taken on a city tour, visiting the Ichan-Kala architectural complex (12-19th A.D.), the Residence of the Last Khan, Mohammed Amin Khan Madrassah, the Khans’ Kunya-Ark Castle (16-17th A.D.), Kalta Minor tower and Tash-Hovli Palace (19th A.D.). In the evening you will return to the hotel for dinner.
Khiva is one of the most remote of Central Asia’s Silk Road cities, a fascinating desert town, preserved in its entirety since medieval times. It came to prominence in the 16th century as the capital of the Khans of Khiva, whose territory stretched from the Caspian Sea to India.
Day 3-5: Bukhara City Tour
After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred to Bukhara via the great Kyzyl-Kum desert along the old caravan road.
The next day you will be taken on a tour of the city visiting various mosques and historical buildings. Afterwards you will return for the hotel for dinner. Bukhara was one of the great trading centres on the Silk Road, an independent Emirate and scene of Anglo-Russian rivalry in the “Great Game” of the 19th century. Surrounded by the vast expanses of the Kyzyl Kum desert, Bukhara still retains the feel of an ancient Silk Road city. Dominating the centre of the city with its warren of narrow medieval streets is the Ark, a massive fortress palace, home to the Emirs of Bukhara for over a millenium.
Day 6: Evening with Kazakh Nomads
After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred to Nurata, stopping at Saryamish to see some ancient rock paintings and to view one of Alexander the Great’s castles. Afterwards you will carry on to Yangigazgan, a traditional nomadic village, for a camel riding excursion. In the evening, you will eat in one of the traditional yurts (huts) and listen to a Kazakh singer by the fire. You will spend the night in yurts in the village.
Once known as Nur, this ancient town was founded in 327 BC by Alexander the Great. The town is also famous as a Muslim pilgrimage place. During the 10th Century, pilgrims from Bukhara and other places came to the holy graves situated next to the town fortifications and mosques, a practice which has continued to this day and means that Nurata is still one of the most significant religious centres of Islam in the region.
Day 7: Samarkand & City Tour
In the morning you will visit Aidarkul Lake in the Qizilkum Desert, allowing you to appreciate the area’s flora and fauna. Lunch will be enjoyed by the lake, made up of fresh fried fish from the lake.Afterwards you will continue on to Samarkand, where you will spend the evening at leisure. The next day will be spent on a guided tour of the city.
Samarkand is one of the key trading cities on the ancient Silk Road. Known as Maracanda to the ancient Greeks, Samarkand was probably founded in the 5th century BC, but its golden age was under Tamerlaine (Amir Timur) who made it the capital in 1370 and the cultural centre of Central Asia, gracing it with spectacular mosques and madrassahs. The centrepiece of the city is the majestic Registan Square, surrounded on 3 sides by magnificent blue-tiled madrassahs, with many mausoleums and mosques of interest nearby. One of the most photogenic places in Samarkand is the oriental bazaar by the Bibi Khanum Mosque.
Day 9: Transfer to Tashkent
After breakfast at the hotel you will be taken to visit the Imam Al Bukhariy Memorial complex. Afterwards you will drive to Tashkent, with lunch en-route, and spend the rest of the day at leisure. In the evening you will be taken to see a ballet or opera performance at A. Navoi theatre before returning to the hotel.
Day 10: Chimgan Day-Trip
After breakfast you will drive to the Chimgan Mountains, where you will be taken on a guided trek through the mountains, allowing you to see the natural beauty of the area and to enjoy spectacular views of the mountains, especially the stunning Beldersay river valley, Western Tyan Shan mountain range and the Pskem and Charvak water reserves. Afterwards you will return to Tashkent for dinner.
The next morning you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home.