Treasure Chest with Oriental Adventures

Heritage Tour of Uzbekistan

 

Countries: Uzbekistan View the route map »»
Tour duration: 15 days / 14 nights
Best time to travel: March - June, August - October
Itinerary: Tashkent - Nukus - Mizdakhan - Khiva - Bukhara - Shakhrisabz - Samarkand - Tashkent - Kokand -
Rishtan - Ferghana - Margilan - Ferghana - Tashkent - Chimgan - Charvak - Tashkent

During this tour of Uzbekistan you will travel the most picturesque roads and see the grandiose architectural heritage of the antique and medieval periods and wonderful corners amidst primeval nature, learn the history of ancient Uzbek traditions and crafts, eat ripest fruits just gathered by industrious Uzbek farmers and enter the world of a most delicious Uzbek cuisine!

The treasure chest full of brilliant pearls of Central Asia will reveal its secrets to a curious traveller. The pearls are scattered all over Uzbekistan: the ancient cities of Samarkand (also spelled Samarqand), Bukhara (Uzbek: Bukhoro or Buxoro; also spelled Buchara, Bokhara, Buhara) and Khiva glitter with the mosaics of medieval domes and the majesty of tall minarets, the Fergana Valley plays with the iridescent khan-atlas satin, the Chimgan Mountains shine with its main gem, the azure Charvak Reservoir, while the lands of ancient Khwarezm (also spelled Khwarezmia, Khwarizm, Khwarazm, Khwarezm, Khorezm, Khorasam, Harezm, Horezm, and Chorezm) surprise the visitor with the ruins of unique antique fortresses. To gather all the pearls and to string them on a single long thread comprising the itinerary of the trip is what we have attempted to do in this tour.

Two persons who have taken the same route may get absolutely different impressions. This is the magic of the treasure chest, as every traveller finds their own one. Would you like to learn which impressions you will get from YOUR treasure chest of oriental adventures?

  • Itinerary
    Services & Cost

  • Itinerary in Detail

  • FAQ
  • Useful Information
    Route Map

 

Itinerary
Day 1.
Wednesday
Arrival in Tashkent. Tashkent sightseeing tour.
Meeting at Tashkent airport. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Guided sightseeing tour around Tashkent: Khast-Imam Square, Barak-Khan Madrasah, Kafal-al-Shashi Mausoleum, Kukeldash Madrasah; the oldest bazaar of Tashkent “Chorsu”. After lunch: Museum of Applied Arts, Independence Square, Amir Timur Square. Depending on arrival time a program schedule can be corrected. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2.
Thursday
Tashkent - Nukus (morning flight) - Mizdakhan necropolis - Nukus.
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to airport and flight Tashkent - Nukus. Arrival in Nukus, capital of Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Transfer to Mizdakhan Complex and excursion: Caliph Erejep, Jumart-kassab hillock, half-underground Mazlumkhan-sulu Mausoleum, Shamun-nabi Mausoleum. Transfer back to Nukus. Tour around Savitskiy Museum. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3.
Friday
Nukus - Ayaz-Kala Fortress - Tuprak-Kala Fortress - Khiva (180 km, 3 hrs).
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Khiva via the ancient ruins of Ayaz-Kala and Toprak-Kala Fortresses. Excursions into the archaeological sites. Arrival in Khiva. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4.
Saturday
Khiva sightseeing tour.
Breakfast at the hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Khiva: Ichan Kala (historical inner city), Pakhlavan Mahmud Complex, Kunya-Ark Fortress, Islam Hajji Madrasah & Minaret. After lunch: Tash Khauli Palace, Juma Mosque, Muhammad Aminkhan Minaret & Madrasah, and Avesta Museum. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5.
Sunday
Khiva - Bukhara (440 km, 6-7 hrs).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer across the Kyzyl-Kum Desert and along the Amudarya River to Bukhara. Lunch en route. Arrival in Bukhara. Leisure time. Visiting traditional workshops and souvenir shops. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6.
Monday
Bukhara sightseeing tour.
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Bukhara: Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, Bolo Khauz Mosque, Ark Citadel, Po-i-Kalyan Complex (Kalyan Minaret and others), Ulugbek Madrasah, Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah. After lunch: Lyab-i Hauz Architectural Ensemble, Kukeldash Madrasah, Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah, domed shopping arcade. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7.
Tuesday
Bukhara out-of-town guided sightseeing tour.
Breakfast in hotel. Out-of-town guided sightseeing tour (4 km from Bukhara): Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, memorial complex of the Islamic saint Baha-ud-Din Naqshband, Chor-Bakr Memorial Complex. Return to Bukhara. Leisure time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8.
Wednesday
Bukhara - Shakhrisabz - Samarkand (300 km, 4,5-5 hrs).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Samarkand via Shakhrisabz, birthplace of Tamerlane. Guided sightseeing tour around Shakhrisabz: Ak Saray Palace, Dorus Saodat Complex, Dorut Tillavat Madrasah, Kok Gumbaz Mosque. Arrival in Samarkand and check-in at hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9.
Thursday
Samarkand sightseeing tour.
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Samarkand: Gur-e Amir Mausoleum (Tamerlane’s sepulcher), Registan Square (Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah, Tilla-Qori Madrasah). After lunch: Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis, Ulugbek Observatory. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10.
Friday
Samarkand sightseeing tour.
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Samarkand: Ulugbek Observatory, tomb of Khodja Daniyar, “Afrasiab” Museum, Khazrat Khyzr mosque. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11.
Saturday
Samarkand sightseeing tour. Samarkand - Tashkent (evening railway transfer).
Breakfast in hotel. Visiting Samarkand Paper Mill, where famous Samarkand paper is made by hand on ancient technologies; Samarkand carpet factory “Hudzhum”. Transfer to railway station. Departure for Tashkent by the high-speed train Afrosiab (17:00-19:10). Arrival in Tashkent, transfer to hotel and check-in. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 12.
Sunday
Tashkent - Ferghana (morning flight).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to airport, flight to Fergana. Meeting at Fergana airport. Transfer and check-in at hotel. Transfer to Margilan. Visiting “Yodgorlik” silk factory which is famous for handmade khan-atlas. Visiting oriental Bazaar. Transfer back to Fergana. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 13.
Monday
Ferghana -  Rishtan -  Kokand - Tashkent.
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Rishtan, visiting pottery (hand-made ceramics). Transfer to Kokand. Sightseeing tour around Kokand: Palace of Khudayar Khan, Mausoleum of Modari Khan, Juma Mosque. Transfer to Tashkent via Kamchik Pass. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 14.
Tuesday
Tashkent - Chimgan - Charvak - Tashkent.
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Chimgan Mountains (Western Tien-Shan Mountains). Walking in the mountains. Picnic in the open air. Transfer to the shore of the Charvak Reservoir. Transfer back to Tashkent. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 15.
Wednesday
Tashkent. Departure.
Breakfast in hotel. Leisure time, walking in the city centre. Transfer to airport. Departure.
The cost of the tour 2017 in USD for 1 person:
Group 1 2 3-4 5-6 7-9 10-15 SGL supplement
Hotels 3* 2640 1625 1470 1360 1315 1300 +190
Hotels 4* 2975 1810 1655 1550 1500 1480 +325

Cost includes:

Hotel accommodation in twin / double rooms, with breakfast. Early check-in at the hotel in Tashkent on day 1 in included into the tour cost. Check-in/out of other hotels is at 12:00;
Guided sightseeing tours according to the program;
Entrance fees to the monuments and museums, listed in the tour program;
English-speaking local guides during excursions time for a group in 2-4 persons.
English-speaking escort guide for the whole tour starting from a group in 5 persons;
Comfortable air-conditioned means of transportation throughout tour, including airport - hotel - airport transfers;
Tashkent-Nukus domestic flight;
Samarkand-Tashkent railway transfer on a high-speed train;
Tashkent-Fergana” domestic flight;
Bottle of mineral water per day/per person.

Cost does not include:

International airfares;
Visa Support (except for countries where the visa can be obtained according to simplified procedure);
Meals;
Travel health insurance.
 

Additional Services:

Uzbekistan visa invitation - 45 USD per person;
Meals:
  - Half board (evening meals) - 160 USD/per person;
  - Full board - 315 USD/per person.

Hotels.
We choose the most conveniently located and reputable hotels for our customers to stay at. The list of the hotels we offer is below. However, due to seasonal conditions and group size this list is subject to change.
Hotels 2-3* - cozy private hotels, with traditional national interiors in many of them, providing all the necessary facilities for comfortable stays; notable for very warm hosting and home-like atmosphere.
Hotels 3-4* - very comfortable hotels providing excellent facilities and services; mainly located in or near city centers.

City Hotels 2-3* Hotels 3-4*
Tashkent Arien Plaza Hotel 3* or similar Ramada 4* or similar
Samarkand Arba Hotel 3* or similar Emirkhan 4* or similar
Bukhara Siyavush Hotel 3* or similar Asia Bukhara 4* or similar
Khiva Old Khiva Hotel 3* or similar Asia Khiva Hotel 3*+ or similar
Fergana Club Hotel 777 3* or similar Club Hotel 777 3* or similar
Nukus Jipek Joli 2*+ or similar Jipek Joli 2*+ or similar

Transportation
Depending on the size of a group the following means of transportation are used during the tour:

"Chevrolet Lacetti" (3 seats)

Chevrolet Lacetti


Air conditioner Audio system Safety belt Fold-back seats Lighting in saloon

"Hyundai Grand Starex" (6 seats)

Hyundai Grand Starex


Air conditioner Audio system Safety belt Fold-back seats Lighting in saloon

"Mitsubishi Rosa" (15 seats)

Mitsubishi Rosa


Air conditioner Audio system Safety belt Fold-back seats Lighting in saloon Fridge

 

Itinerary in Detail

Day 1. Arrival in Tashkent. Tashkent sightseeing tour.
Meeting at Tashkent airport. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Guided sightseeing tour around Tashkent: Khast-Imam Square, Barak-Khan Madrasah, Kafal-al-Shashi Mausoleum, Kukeldash Madrasah; the oldest bazaar of Tashkent “Chorsu”. After lunch: Museum of Applied Arts, Independence Square, Amir Timur Square. Depending on arrival time a program schedule can be corrected. Overnight at the hotel.

Oliy Majlis (Legislative Chamber). Tashkent, UzbekistanWelcome to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan! Tashkent is the fourth largest CIS city with a population of around 3 million. Tashkent grew to its present size mainly during the Soviet times, especially after the destructive earthquake of 1966. Today it has all the features of a modern metropolis, with a lot of Central Asian-style newly-built structures and Soviet-era buildings.

«Tashkent» if translated from Turkic means «Stone City». Here is the starting point of your discoveries.

The city is conditionally divided in two parts - the Old and the New city: in the Old city you will find mausoleums, madrassas and an authentic oriental bazaar, whereas in the New one there are modern monuments, buildings, parks, and squares.

You will start from the attractions of the Old city. The first gem is Khazrati Imam Architectural Complex (also Hast Imam), consisting of Barak-Khan Madrasah (also spelled Baraq Khan), Tilla Sheikh Mosque (also spelled Tillya Sheikh), Muyi Muborak Madrasah, Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum (also spelled Kaffal Ash-Shashi, Qaffal Ash-Shashi), Namazgoh Mosque and the new Khazrati Imam Mosque. The complex is the top Tashkent historic site and Islamic center. Thoroughly restored in 2007, the edifices of the complex, with the earliest of them dating back to the 16th century, show their original splendor now. The new mosque featuring traditional Islamic architectural elements adds to the grandeur of the site.

Barak-Khan Madrasah. TashkentBarak-Khan Madrasah is a splendid monument of the XVI C located in the very heart of Hast Imam Square. The madrasah is surrounded by ancient wattle and daub houses almost like they were in past. In the past the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Central Asia headed by the mufti was lodged in the madrasah building. In addition, there is a huge library of eastern manuscripts here, and the world-known Uthman Quran is kept here in a special room.

Kafal-al-Shashi Mausoleum (the Mazar of Kafal-Al-Shashi, sacred Sufi tomb, XVI C) is an asymmetric domed mausoleum - khanaqah. Khanaqah is a monastery type dormitory consisting of cells for pilgrims. The mausoleum was erected in the X C at the burial place of Kafal-Al-Shashi who was a famous missionary, a preacher of shafiitism and a Sufi poet. Later, after the mausoleum was reconstructed it has become a popular Muslim pilgrimage site.

Another jewel of Tashkent is the Kukeldash Madrasah (XVI C). It is situated not far from the oriental bazaar Chor-Su and is one of 23 madrassas of old Tashkent. It was built under the direction of the minister of the Shaybanid sultans known as Kukeldash (which means “foster-brother” or a person who was breast-fed by that same woman who nursed the ruler). The uniqueness of the madrasah is in the fact that it is functioning. Many Muslim students live and study there nowadays.

And now let’s have a look at the New city! First of all you will head for the Museum of Applied Arts. The roots of handicraft traditions of the Uzbek nation are traced back to the depth of centuries. This museum fully exhibits the best samples of national crafts spread in different regions of Uzbekistan: for instance, there you can see knives from Chust, ceramics from Rishtan, satin from Margilan, costumes with golden embroidery from Bukhara and much more.

Not far from the museum there is the Independence Square, which is the main square of the country located in the centre of the city. All large-scale public holidays are celebrated here. Then we are supposed to have a pleasant fifteen-minute walk from the Independence Square to the Uzbek State Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Afterwards you’ll proceed to the Istiqlol Square, which is the second largest square of the city. It is also often used as a venue of the national holidays’ celebration.

We recommend you getting to all the above-mentioned spots by Tashkent Underground (Metro). No traffic lights or jams! Moreover, it is the coolest transport in hot weather. Tashkent underground is very beautiful! That’s true as each underground station is uniquely designed.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2. Tashkent - Nukus (flight) - Mizdakhan necropolis - Nukus. Nukus sightseeing tour.
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to airport and flight Tashkent - Nukus. Arrival in Nukus, capital of Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Transfer to Mizdakhan Complex and excursion: Caliph Erejep, Jumart-kassab hillock, half-underground Mazlumkhan-sulu Mausoleum, Shamun-nabi Mausoleum. Transfer back to Nukus. Excursion round Savitskiy Museum and museum of local lore, history and economy. Overnight at the hotel.

After having breakfast at the hotel in Tashkent you are to fly to Nukus - the capital of the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan. This small town lying 1255 km to the west from Tashkent is located in delta of the Amu Darya River. Sometimes in jest, sometimes seriously, but Nukus is called the “northern capital”, as there are a lot of attractions here. At the same time because of an unpredictable twist of fate Nukus is situated in the epicenter of the ecocatastrophe, which is happening at the Aral Sea. Deserts surround it from three sides: the Kyzyl Kum (“red sand”), the Karakum (“black sand”) and the desert plateau Ustyurt. And dried-up Aral with its salty fields is often called Ak Kum (“white sand”) or Aral-Kum, which is the fourth desert locking the city into a king of trap.

Necropolis Mizdahkan. Khorezm, UzbekistanAfter checking-in to the hotel decorated according to the guidelines of authentic national traditions, you will have a ride to the place called Khodjeyli, a town located at a distance of 15 km west of Nukus, where you will be amazed by the historic-architectural complex Mizdakhan (Necropolis Mizdakhan). This city-cemetery with tombs of different epochs is probably the only place where several different religions, immortalized in various sepulchral edifices, are presented in a peaceful neighborhood on the same reverently silent land. The territory of the cemetery is quite huge. It is spread over three hills, which served previously as Zoroastrian funeral towers called “dakhma”. Mesmerizing view of the Mizdakhan Necropolis is due to the old nomadic tradition. This tradition demanded for the erection of impressive vaults or even domed towers above the tombs. Those towers were called “gumbaz”. In general all sepulchral edifices were meant to provide souls of the dead with the place of permanent residence, which they didn’t have during their physical existence.

On the Jumart-kassab hillock (Zhomard hill) near the ruins of the mausoleum of Saint Rajab, as you manage to build a small pyramid of seven stones, you will be given a hope of your cherished wish fulfillment. There are a lot of such pyramids here! However, beware of destroying other pyramids for the sake of building yours as you can never build your happiness at the expense of the others!

Happy expectation of your wish fulfillment will soon give place to the astonishment because right there, at the tripod appearing in the distance, there said to be the tomb of Adam! Now you’ve discovered its secret location! Despite the fact that no mortal remains were found during excavations, pilgrims are still making their way here. Well, as it is said in the East: “Worship your own shadow if it makes you happy”.

Transfer back to Nukus. Excursion round Savitskiy Museum and museum of local lore, history and economy. The I.V. Savitskiy State Art Museum is famous for its collection of modern Russian and Uzbek art of 1918-1935 all over the world. Stalin tried his best to eliminate all non-Soviet art of this period, and sent most of the artists to the Gulag. But Igor Savitsky, the prominent Soviet artist, ‘Central Asian Tretiakov’, and his collection of Russian avant-garde paintings in Nukus survived because of the city's remoteness. Now it is the world’s second largest collection of Russian avant-garde paintings. During 1957-1966, Igor Savitskiy also assembled an extensive collection of Karakalpak jewelry, carpets, coins, clothing and other artifacts. He convinced the authorities of the need for a museum, and, following its establishment, was appointed its curator in 1966. After his death in 1984 Igor Savitskiy was called ‘a savior of beauty’. Francois Mitterand and Albert Gore called his museum ‘one of the best in the world’.

Overnight in Nukus.

Day 3. Nukus - Ayaz-Kala Fortress - Tuprak-Kala Fortress - Khiva (180 km, 3 hrs).
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Khiva via the ancient ruins of Ayaz-Kala and Toprak-Kala Fortresses. Excursions into the archaeological sites. Arrival in Khiva. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Overnight at the hotel.

Today you will head for the world famous Khiva. However, en route you will have a unique opportunity to walk in the mazes left from ancient settlements. Those are the remains of the ancient empire of Khwarezm, which means the “Country of the Sun”. You will visit the ruins of Toprak Kala and Ayaz Kala. In the past there were more settlements, however, two above-mentioned are the best preserved ones. Here you will see the ruins of once great walls, branches and bays, the remains of hand-made irrigation systems and tumbled down but still impressive defensive walls of the bygone cities.

Ayaz-Kala Fortress, dating back to the 4th с BC now represents a unique historical monument of Zoroastrism (Mazdaism, Zoroastrianism) times. Ayaz-kala fortress is located in Ellikkalinskiy region of Karakalpakstan, amidst the moving sends of Kyzyl-Kum (Kyzylkum desert) and Sultan Uvays mountain ridges. Double walls of Ayaz-kala fortress, built from sun-dried earth bricks, are turned to the four cardinal directions. Entrance into the fortress, located on Southern side is protected by insidious labyrinth. The entrance has another interesting feature: its design makes it possible for the wind to blow litter and dust from the fortress. This is where its name comes - ‘a Fortress on the wind’. In the beginning of new era the residents of Ayaz-kala tried to build new defensive constructions inside the fortress, however this building was destined to remain unfinished. Up till now scientists guess, what could make builders and common citizens to leave Ayaz-kala.

Wherever you look you see the great Kyzyl Kum desert, which is despite being a desert is full of life: suddenly you can see a cheerful jerboa or predatory-looking griffins watching you from afar. A small tumbled down fortress has perched on a cliff not far from Ayaz Kala. It looks like it is broken away from main city blocks.

Toprak Kala. Khorezm, UzbekistanNext remarkable ancient settlement site is Toprak-kala Fortress, ancient capital of Khwarezm, situated in 20 kilometers to the North-East from Ayaz-kala. Toprak Kala is an outstanding ancient Khwarezmian architectural monument dating back to the 1st с. Behind the walls of the fortress one can see the street of the ancient city, the square, the remains of the fire-worshipers’ temple and tumbled down palace of the ruler at the background. High Palace in the town was 40 meters in height and had about 150 halls and chambers decorated with rich frescoes and sculpture. The town also boasted three 30-meter-high towers with residential rooms in them, which is especially interesting and unusual. Archeologists discovered a lot of bright artifact evidence of highly developed culture in Toprak-Kala: woolen and silk fabrics; skillfully made ceramics; coins; golden and glass jewelry, as well as items made from amber, shells and even corals. In the palace they discovered the priceless archive of the Khwarezmian rulers in ancient Khwarezmian language. The frescoes and sculpture in the town was the reason why Toprak-Kala (‘adobe fortress’) was also called “a museum of ancient fine arts”.

Upon arrival to Khiva, you will be accommodated in a hotel decorated in national style. Here you are supposed to spend a night before getting to know the mysterious pearl of the charming Orient called Khiva.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 4. Khiva sightseeing tour.
Breakfast at the hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Khiva: Ichan Kala (historical inner city), Pakhlavan Mahmud Complex, Kunya-Ark Fortress, Islam Hajji Madrasah & Minaret. After lunch: Tash Khauli Palace, Juma Mosque, Muhammad Aminkhan Minaret & Madrasah, and Avesta Museum. Overnight at the hotel.

Panorama of Khiva. UzbekistanToday you are to start a fascinating tour around inimitable Khiva! This «open-air museum» is a great example of an oriental city, which is almost untouched by time.

According to a legend, Khiva grew from the settlement that was built around the well dug by order of Sim, biblical Noah’s son. Kheyvak, the name of the well, was what the name Khiva came from. This well is still in Ichan-Kala, and you can see it!

Khiva was the last capital of Khwarezm, after Old Urgench, and another culturally and economically important center on the Silk Roads to the Mediterranean and Iran then. In the 16th c Khiva became the capital of the Khiva Khanate and one of the most important Islamic centers. From 1873 to 1919 the Khiva Khanate was a quasi-independent protectorate of the Russian Empire and later became part of the USSR as Khorezm People’s Soviet Republic, for a time, and then a part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.

Khiva has no tall modern buildings and wide roads with much traffic. You are seeing a lot of magnificent Oriental architectural monuments and medieval adobe homes. Its Ichan-Kala “inner city” historic part (also spelled Itchan-Kala), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a walled medieval Central Asian town being preserved as it was in the past - an artifact town. Although protected by the state and having the status of a museum reserve, Ichan-Kala is populated with real people, mainly artisans. Ichan Kala is encircled by brick crenellated walls whose foundations are believed to have been laid in the 10th c. The walls themselves date back to the late 17th c. Behind them there are over 50 architectural monuments and 250 old houses; most of them date back to the 18th - 19th c.

And now let’s dive into the revived tale to look for another portion of our oriental adventures! When you are in Ichan-Kala, you feel you find yourself in a Scheherazade’s story of 1001 Nights. You can climb the stairs of the 44.5-meter-high Islam-Hajji Minaret - the highest minaret in Ichan-Kala and the symbol of Khiva - and have a fabulous panoramic view of the city from its top window. Do not miss Djuma Mosque, which was built in the 10th c and rebuilt in 1788 - 1789. It is famed for its hypostyle hall, which still has 213 wooden pillars of the previous 10th-century structure, decorated with unique carvings. The mosque is unique in architectural terms, as there is no similar construction in entire Central Asia. Take a look at unfinished minaret Kalta-Minor (it is also known as the “short”), Kunya-Ark Fortress and the complex of Pakhlavan Mahmud, the famous Khiva’s poet and powerful knight who became a local saint after death. Avesta Museum in Ichan-Kala deals with the history of Zoroastrianism; Khwarezm, with Khiva as its center, is believed to be its cradle. It is really worth seeing these and many other sights in Khiva "live".

We recommend that you also visit Khiva’s handicraft workshops where they sell traditional Khiva’s carpets, suzane tapestries, robes, embroidered scull-caps and an abundance of smaller souvenirs. Only at the restaurants of Khiva you will be able to taste authentic Khoresmian dishes, which are cooked nowhere else in Uzbekistan.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 5. Khiva - Bukhara (440 km, 6-7 hrs).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer across the Kyzyl-Kum Desert and along the Amudarya River to Bukhara. Lunch en route. Arrival in Bukhara. Leisure time. Visiting traditional workshops and souvenir shops. Overnight at the hotel.

Kyzylkum DesertAfter breakfast you set out on a long (7-8 hours) and exciting journey to Bukhara across the Kyzylkum Desert (also spelled Kyzyl-Kum, Qyzylqum) and along the Amudarya River (also spelled Amu Darya; known as the Oxus from its Ancient Greek name in historical sources). You stop at the viewpoint on the Amu Darya and look round impressive view of the muddy water surface. This great Asian River is majestic and fretful, it defined the lifestyle of the locals as it was a source of water for a unique irrigation system developed in the ancient Khwarezm. And now, mostly due to irrational water use for irrigation purposes, the river carries nothing to the Aral Sea, which is deceasing.

Bukhara is one of the world’s oldest cities. It is over 2,500 years old, and seems to be emanating the breath of history. The city was a large political and religious center in the Middle Ages; it is one of the seven holy cities of Islam. Bukhara boasts a large number of old mosques of different architectural styles (in Bukhara, better than in any other city of Central Asia, one can observe an “architectural evolution” of the mosque-building traditions), as well as a lot of madrasahs, minarets and mausoleums. The historic center of Bukhara is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After you have checked in at your hotel, you still have some leisure time to spend before your overnight rest. We recommend that you stroll about the surroundings, feeling the charm of the city in the evening, and visit souvenir shops. In Bukhara you can perceive the Orient in full. At every step you will encounter a trader offering fine craftwork: astrakhan hats, masterly embroidered suzani, national shirts, skullcaps, knives and artfully decorated jewelry. This urge for trading seems to be inherited from the ancestors who used to travel in caravans along the trails of the Great Silk Road.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6. Bukhara sightseeing tour.
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Bukhara: Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, Bolo Khauz Mosque, Ark Citadel, Po-i-Kalyan Complex (Kalyan Minaret and others), Ulugbek Madrasah, Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah. After lunch: Lyab-i Hauz Architectural Ensemble, Kukeldash Madrasah, Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah, domed shopping arcade. Overnight at the hotel.

Ark Citadel. BukharaAfter breakfast you start your exploration of Bukhara - the city of poetry and fairy tales! Here the labyrinth of the city streets is home to many legends; the vertical silhouette of its minarets represents the flight of man’s genius, and every stone in the lace-like brickwork is covered with the dust of eternity. Bukhara has won the fame of a city-museum, its romantic image attracts tourists from all over the world.

First you visit Ismail Samani Mausoleum (9th c. - 10th c.), which is a pearl of Central Asian architecture. It was built as the sepulcher of Ismail Samani, the founder of the last Persian dynasty ruling in Central Asia. The mausoleum features fascinating brickwork patterns that look different as the light changes during the day. Ismail Samani Mausoleum is unique in various respects. For instance, according to the canons of Islamic architecture the construction of the covered mausoleums was prohibited. Samanids Mausoleum. Bukhara, UzbekistanHowever, all evidence shows that for the first time this rule was broken during the construction of this mausoleum. Furthermore, as historians of the architecture state, the building was erected according to the rules applied to the construction of Zoroastrian fire worship temples. Thus, it was built according to pre-Arab religious traditions, however, in the period of wide Islam dissemination in Central Asia. Therefore, the Mausoleum of the Samanid is considered as the building, which defined the trend of various cultures synthesis and assimilation. Later original architectural style of Central Asia has developed based on it.

Upon leaving the Park of the Samanids have a look at the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum (or Mazar), Chashma Ayub is translated as ‘Job’s spring’ in Persian. According to a legend, the biblical saint Job (Ayub) once visited the place during a severe drought in the area and opened a spring with a blow of his staff. This spring water is still there, fresh and pure, and is considered to be healing. The mausoleum was built in the 15th century by master builders Tamerlane had brought from Khwarezm after capturing Khiva, so the building features a Khwarezm-style conical dome, uncommon in Bukhara. This place is the best demonstration of the Silk Road impact onto the development of countries interconnected by this route, including even the remotest ones. Who could even think that here, in Central Asia, Christian legends about Biblical characters may appear?

Then comes Bolo Hauz Complex (17th c.). It is the hauz ‘pond’ and two surviving structures of Bukhara registan central square complex - a mosque, still functioning, and a minaret. Very rich in ornaments, the mosque is called ‘a mosque of 40 pillars’ because all its 20 pillars, decorated with beautiful engravings, are reflected in the pond.

Next, you go to the Ark, the impressive Bukhara citadel (6th c. - 7th c.). It is the location the city grew from. As a matter of fact, the Ark citadel hosted the whole city including residential and administrative buildings, mosque, prison, treasury, residence of the Amir, etc. Today’s Ark is a most interesting tourist attraction featuring reconstructions with dummies and housing a few museums.

Po-i-Kalan Complex (12th c. - 16th c.) you proceed to consists of Kalyan Mosque, Mir-i-Arab Madrasah and the famous Kalyan Minaret which is the highest tower in Bukhara - a 45.6-meter-tall circular-pillar brick tower, narrowing upwards (built in 1127). The minaret miraculously survived many wars and invasions. It was used as an observation tower and an execution tool in the past: criminals were killed by being tossed off the top of it in the past, so it is also known as Tower of Death. There are a lot of legends about this grand structure. The Po-i-Kalyan complex is the central one in Bukhara.

You also see Ulugbek Madrasah, built in 1417, just as in Samarkand, by order of Ulugbek, Tamerlan’s grandson, the famous mathematician and astronomer called ‘a scientist on the throne’. Ulughbek was a fair and well-educated ruler, who was always following high ideals of science and enlightenment. Noteworthy is his treatment of women. For example, the words carved on the doors of his madrasah in Bukhara are the following: «Aspiration for knowledge is duty of every Muslim man and woman». Another maxim from the same source states: «Let the doors of the God’s blessings be open for the people, who are literate and wise, every day». One can easily guess what a negative reaction was displayed by the clergy towards such a policy of the temporal power!

We shall have a lunch at one of the Bukhara restaurants, where we can eat wonderful dishes of the Uzbek cuisine, such as Bukhara plov (also spelled pilaf, pilaff, pilau, pilav, polow, pulaw, pulao), manty, different types of shashlik shish kebab and many other things.

Medieval domed shopping arcades. BukharaAfter lunch you visit Lab-i Hauz Complex (1568-1622) consisting of Kukeldash Madrasah (1568-1569), a khanaka monastery and hospice for Sufi travelers (1622) and Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah (1622). All the structures of the complex stand around a large pond that is a perfect place to relax in the outdoor teahouses around it in hot summertime. You can also take a look at the statue of a man riding his donkey there. It is Nasreddin, the legendary medieval Central Asian folk character, famed for his wit and humor.

Visiting the above-mentioned Bukhara sights, you go past unique medieval domed shopping arcades. They are still used for retail sale and offer an abundance of souvenirs and other traditional merchandise: garments, old Bukhara coins, jewelry, and spices.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7. Bukhara out-of-town guided sightseeing tour.
Breakfast in hotel. Out-of-town guided sightseeing tour (4 km from Bukhara): Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, memorial complex of the Islamic saint Baha-ud-Din Naqshband, Chor-Bakr Memorial Complex. Return to Bukhara. Leisure time. Overnight at the hotel.

Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, BukharaToday you will make a ride outside the city (it’s just a 15-20 minutes ride from Bukhara), where you will see the countryside residence of Bukhara emirs called Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace (‘Star-like and Moon-like Palace’, 19th c.). The palace features a mixture of western and eastern architectural styles. In comparison with the rest of Bukhara, the climate in the palace is different: it is never hot there even on the hottest days.

Next, you go to the unique Chor-Bakr Memorial Complex (‘memorial complex of four brothers’). They began building it during the reign of the Samanids as long ago as the 16th c. It is also called Town of the Dead, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The first and the main grave the necropolis of the complex began to grow was Abu Bakr Saad’s, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

Also let’s take a look at the complex of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, which is sometimes treated as the Central Asian Mecca. Baha-ud-Din Naqshband was a mentor of Tamerlane and a powerful Sufi, who became the founder of the Sufi Order called Naqshbandia, which soon became one of the most famous orders. A noteworthy fact is that the order perfectly got on with the official Islam and encouraged its followers to work for the benefit of the entire society. Thus, in fact, it was based on a quite rational set of principles although it had also adsorbed various beliefs of the Sufis, Zoroastrians, and, as some sources state, even Buddhists! The complex includes many different buildings: mosques, a minaret, a mausoleum, and a khanaqah. However, one of the most remarkable is a burial vault of the Emirs, which is a maze made up of brick walls a bit higher than an average human height is. Another legendary attraction in the territory of the complex is a dry mulberry trunk lying at the pond (hauz). As you touch it don’t forget to make a wish!

Return to Bukhara. Leisure time. You can visit the golden and carpet bazaars in Bukhara even if you’re not going to buy anything. It is said here that “the appetite comes when you start eating”! The golden bazaar is unique among all other Oriental bazaars. The distinctive factor is the following - none of the sellers is going to bore you with the offers of their jewelry as it usually happens in other Oriental bazaars; they will wait with dignity for you to come yourself!

Return to Bukhara. Leisure time. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8. Bukhara - Shakhrisabz - Samarkand (300 km, 4,5-5 hrs).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Samarkand via Shakhrisabz, birthplace of Tamerlane. Guided sightseeing tour around Shakhrisabz: Ak Saray Palace, Dorus Saodat Complex, Dorut Tillavat Madrasah, Kok Gumbaz Mosque. Arrival in Samarkand and check-in at hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Ak-Saray Palace (XIV - XV). The residence of Amir Temur in Shakhrisabz. UzbekistanAfter breakfast you go to Samarkand, once the capital of Tamerlane’s Empire, via Shakhrisabz (‘green city’; also spelled Shahrisabz, Shahr-i Sabz), near which Tamerlane (Timur) was born on April 9, 1336. There are many towns as well as cotton fields, watermelon and melon plantations and vineyards on the way.

At the beginning of his career Shakhrisabz was Tamerlane’s seat. After he had designated Samarkand as his capital, he kept patronizing Shakhrisabz, contributing to its development generously.

First you see the remains of the summer palace Ak Saray (‘white palace’; also spelled Aq Sarai, Aksaray, Aqsaray, Aksarai, Aqsaray) in Shakhrisabz. Its construction was launched by Tamerlane in 1380 and lasted for 25 years. Unfortunately, only two sides of its portal are surviving. They were once connected with an arch, one of the largest in Central Asia, but even without it they look very grand and give us the idea of Tamerlane’s might he wanted to express in his edifices. Architects say the portal was as high as a modern 20-story building.

Then you visit the memorial complex Dorus Saodat (‘seat of power and might’; 14th c. - 15th c.; also spelled Dorussaodat, Dorus Siadat, Dorussiadat, Dar al-Sayadah; also known as Hazrat-i Imam Complex), consisting of a tall mausoleum with a conical dome and an crypt at a distance of almost 40 meters from it, which were parts of an architectural ensemble in the Timurids times. Tamerlane launched the construction of the mausoleum in 1376 for his eldest son Jahangir who died at the age of 24. Eighteen years later Tamerlane’s second son Omarsheikh, who had died in battle, was buried there too. The crypt was discovered during archeological excavations in 1943; it was intended for Tamerlane, as the inscription on the stone coffin in it said. However, he was buried in Samarkand, but mysteriously, the crypt contained remains of two unidentified people…

Next, you proceed to the memorial complex Dorut Tillavat (‘contemplation place’; 14th c. - 15th c.; also spelled Doruttillavat, Dorut Tillyavat, Doruttillyavat, Dar al-Tilavah). The first building of the complex, originally a madrasah, is a mausoleum of Tamarlane’s father Taragay (died in 1360 or 1361), and there is also a mausoleum of Shamseddin Kulal, the spiritual mentor of Taragay, Tamerlane, and the famous Sufi leader Baha-ud-Din Naqshband (also spelled Bakhautdin Nakshbandi).

In 1437 the Friday communal prayer mosque Kok Gumbaz (‘blue dome’) was built next to them by order of Ulugbek, Tamerlane’s grandson. He also ordered to build on another mausoleum there. Thoroughly restored and reconstructed, the complex is a perfect example of Central Asian Islamic architecture of the Timurid times. The original door of the 600-year-old Ulugbek mausoleum is still in good condition and shows its artifact delicate carvings.

After completing the tour of Shakhrisabz you resume your journey to Samarkand where you arrive in the evening and check in at your hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 9. Samarkand sightseeing tour.
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Samarkand: Gur-e Amir Mausoleum (Tamerlane’s sepulcher), Registan Square (Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah, Tilla-Qori Madrasah). After lunch: Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis, Ulugbek Observatory. Overnight at the hotel.

Gur-Emir mausoleum. Uzbekistan, SamarkandSamarkand is probably the best-known Uzbekistan’s historic city. It is another one ancient oasis, a famous pearl of Central Asian steppes and deserts! Over 2,750 years of age, Samarkand boasts very impressive architectural monuments and has a rich history. This is a city-museum, a city that was a heart of the caravan trade. Samarkand, like Khiva and Bukhara, boasts world-famous masterpieces of medieval Islamic architecture, most of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

This entire day will be devoted to Samarkand. First, you see the Registan Square and the three grand madrasahs (Islamic colleges) on its sides. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is certainly one of the world’s most impressive historic squares. The madrasahs date from different times. Ulugbek Madrasah, the earliest of them, was built in 1417 - 1420 by order of Ulugbek, Tamerlane’s grandson. Two centuries later Sher-Dor Madrasah (“Possessing Lions”) and Tilla-Qori Madrasah (“Gilded”) were erected by order of Samarkand governor. Each of the madrasahs features unique decoration: fascinating tile mosaics, delicate stone carvings, splendid gilt ceilings, etc. The word “Registan” means a “sandy spot”. The Registan emerged as the centre of trade and handicrafts at the crossing of six roads outstretched from the city gates. Right here, in the Registan, merchants coming with camelcades were selling their goods and purchasing local ones.

Then you certainly visit Gur-e Amir Mausoleum, the sepulcher of Tamerlane (necropolis of Tamerlane) and the Timurid dynasty (1404; also spelled Gur Emir). It contains the graves of Tamerlane, his two sons, two grandsons, and his spiritual mentor. There is a black tomb of Timur inside. It is nephrite. It is empty. Well, this is a so-called cenotaph and a real tomb is in the basement. According to the legend disentombing of his remains is strictly prohibited. Otherwise, the war is to be. How can it be true? Well, the fact is that after archeologists had tried to dig out his remains the Second World War started!

After lunch you go see the Friday communal prayer mosque Bibi-Khanym (“senior princess” or “senior wife”; also spelled Bibi-Khanum). Built in 1404, it is one of the largest historic mosques in the Islamic world. It was also built during the reign of Amir Timur and this is the only fact about it, which doesn’t give rise to doubts. Other than that there are many contradictory legends about this cathedral mosque, so, it is not clear where the truth is. One of the least known legends was published far back in 1875 in a local newspaper “Turkestanskie Vedomosti” (“Turkestan News”). Later (thanks to Maksim Isaev) it got to the Internet. This story tells that Bibi-Khanym, Amir Timur’s beloved wife, in the name of whom the mosque was built, was not Asian. She was Russian and, as it is said she was a quite superstitious person. Once a “God’s fool” told her that she would die from a bite of a venomous centipede - phalanx. The queen was quite worried and told her husband about the prophecy. So, in order to calm his wife down, Amir Timur decided to create a nice building for her. It is said that after the building was finished, Bibi-Khanym was quite happy with this great construction. Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis (Samarkand)According to Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo, a Spanish ambassador to Samarkand in Tamerlane’s times, the mosque was built by order of Tamerlane in honor of his senior wife’s mother by 95 Indian elephants, 200 best architects and 500 workers brought from all the corners of his empire.

Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis (12th c. - 15th c.; also spelled Shohizinda, Shah-i-Zinde means “living king”) you see next is a complex of more than 20 mausoleums with 44 tombstones; most of them are of Tamerlan’s relatives, as well as military and clergy aristocracy. The main of them is the mausoleum of Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of Muhammad the Prophet. According to a legend, Kusam ibn Abbas came to Samarkand with Arab conquerors to preach Islam and was beheaded for faith in the city. However, he took his head and went down to a deep well where he remains alive.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10. Samarkand sightseeing tour.
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Samarkand: Ulugbek Observatory, tomb of Khodja Daniyar, “Afrasiab” Museum, Khazrat Khyzr mosque. Overnight at the hotel.

Ulugbek Observatory (XV c.). SamarkandToday you will see the surviving part of Ulugbek Observatory (15th c.). It still has a section of the mural sextant, once the world’s largest, which Ulugbek used to compile his world-famous star catalogue, the best between Ptolemy’s and Brahe’s. Ulugbek’s discoveries greatly advanced knowledge in the field of astronomy and mathematics in the Middle Ages.

Next you visit the tomb of Khodja Daniyar as muslims call him, or a bibilical prophet Daniel as Christians call him, or Daniel as one of the four great Judaic prophets, that is situated next to the Siab river between the Afrosiab hills. According to legend this mausoleum emerged just because Amir Timur wanted Samarkand and its residents to get protection and welfare thanks to the patronage of the spirit of Daniel. During his regular march to Asia Minor Tamerlane couldn’t conquer Susa. Theologians told him that the city was protected by the prophet Daniel’s holy relics. Tamerlane signed an agreement he would leave the town if he was allowed to take the saint’s right hand. According to legend the horse carrying the relics stopped dead. And when it hoofed there was a miracle: a healing spring gushed out from under the ground. Then it was decided to bury Daniel’s relics right here, next to the Siab river.

There is a place in Samarkand, visiting which can lift the veil and solve fascinating mystery of the city. This is “Afrasiab” Museum. It is located in the north of Samarkand, near the ancient settlement of Afrasiab (Afrosiab). Today, the ancient settlement of Afrasiab (was founded in VII-VI centuries BC and existed until the XIII century) represents only a cluster of hills. Afrasiab is believed to have been Marakanda - the legendary capital of Sogdiana (Sogdia). The visitors of the museum could enjoy seeing unique exhibits - ossuaries, fragments of ancient swords, elements of knives and arrows, coins, pottery, terracotta figurines, jewellery. The finding, representing the great historical value, became preserved fragments of frescoes of Samarkand palace belonging to the Ikhshidid dynasty, ruling in this territory in the VII-VIII centuries.

Also visit Khazrat Khyzr mosque (XIX C), built on the old foundation of the first mosque of Samarkand.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11. Samarkand sightseeing tour. Samarkand - Tashkent.
Breakfast in hotel. Visiting Samarkand Paper Mill, where famous Samarkand paper is made by hand on ancient technologies; Samarkand carpet factory “Hudzhum”. Transfer to railway station. Departure for Tashkent by the high-speed train Afrosiab (17:00-19:10). Arrival in Tashkent, transfer to hotel and check-in. Overnight at the hotel.

Samarkand Paper MillAfter a breakfast you visit Siab Bazaar that is located not far from the Registan Square, near Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis. The bazaar is roofed, so you can visit it in any weather. The best time to visit an Asian bazaar is summer and early autumn. It is hard to name everything you can see at bazaars in these seasons: colorful fruits, berries, vegetables, gourds, cereals, salad greens… In other seasons the bazaar is not poor either. We also recommend tasting Samarkand bread (flat round loaves) which do not spoil and keep their unique taste for months. Some Samarkand loaves today are made especially for tourists; they have various symbolic designs, relief pictures and inscriptions.

In the evening we will departure for Tashkent, and before leaving we have time to visit Samarkand Paper Mill. Here craftsmen make ​​by hand famous Samarkand paper on ancient technologies. Having existed until the middle of the XIX century, Samarkand papermaking gained wide popularity both in Arab countries and in Europe. With its unique smoothness, Samarkand paper was very comfortable for writing, and good density did not allow absorbing a lot of ink, that was a very important quality characteristic of the paper at that time. Moreover, some types of Samarkand paper were more comfortable for reading, thanks to the fact that the brownish tint of paper softened the contrast with ink.

Samarkand carpet factory “Hudzhum”Then you visit Samarkand carpet factory “Hudzhum” where you find amazing handmade silk carpets. Without leaving the factory, you can watch all stages of the production of magnificent silk carpets from the unwinding silkworm cocoon. All necessary operations are made by hand, using only the most primitive tools. Carpets are absolutely natural: even silk threads are painted by hand with exclusively natural dyes derived from the peel of a walnut, pomegranate peel and stalks of asparagus. Patterns of standard carpets produced at the factory are varied, but performed using different variations of the national ornament what makes them unique and at the same time emphasizes the belonging to the Central Asian school of carpet weaving. Like in ancient times, the carpet pattern has certain information that a man of ability can read as easily as a book. 

Transfer to railway station and departure for Tashkent by the high-speed train Afrosiab (17:00-19:10). Arrival in Tashkent, transfer to hotel and check-in.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12. Tashkent - Ferghana (flight).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to airport, flight to Fergana. Meeting at Fergana airport. Transfer and check-in at hotel. Transfer to Margilan. Visiting “Yodgorlik” silk factory which is famous for handmade khan-atlas. Visiting oriental Bazaar. Transfer back to Fergana. Overnight at the hotel.

Hand-made silk manufacturing. Ferghana ValleyFerghana is quite a young city, which was founded in 1876 thanks to the general Skobelev. Noteworthy that once the city was called New Margilan. Besides, Ferghana is only 12 km away from Old Margilan. Most likely that the cities will merge over time due to the population growth and new buildings’ construction in the valley. However, now they are still regarded as separate cities.

Let’s start our journey to Margilan, its origin is associated with the Great Silk Road. In X C Margilan was widely known for its silk ware, and its fame spread over long distances to the East and the West. You will see these unique items, during the excursion to the “Yodgorlik” silk factory, it became famous throughout the world for handmade khan-atlas. In the VII-VIII centuries, breeding silkworm cocoons started here, and the city of Margilan became "silk" capital of the Central Asia. The best silk products were transported along the Silk Road to Baghdad, Kashgar, Khorasan, Egypt, Greece and Byzantium. Today, the factory "Yodgorlik" is the best and one of the largest producing handmade silk products in Uzbekistan. Here you can see the complete process of making silk fabric from the preparation of cocoons till and getting finished fabric. Techniques and methods of processing raw materials and manufacturing techniques of finished fabric passed from generation to generation for almost 2 thousand years.

While in Margilan you will visit the oriental Bazaar, where you can also buy some Margilan silk and many other authentic things.

Transfer back to Fergana. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13. Ferghana -  Rishtan -  Kokand - Tashkent.
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Rishtan, visiting pottery (hand-made ceramics). Transfer to Kokand. Sightseeing tour around Kokand: Palace of Khudayar Khan, Mausoleum of Modari Khan, Juma Mosque. Transfer to Tashkent via Kamchik Pass. Overnight at the hotel.

Hand-made ceramics. RishtanToday you will see the legendary Ferghana Valley. In the past it was called even a “gold valley” due to its fertile lands. Almost all architectural complexes of the region are appearing in their primordial state, its inhabitants have managed to keep traditions of the past - it is true for their cuisine, hand-made silk manufacturing and almost all cultural aspects of life, including their lifestyles.

Firstly, you will visit Rishtan city, which is known all around Uzbekistan and abroad for its factory and hand-made ceramics. The pottery exists here for more than a thousand years! There were times, when all the men in the city were potters. But even nowadays, you won’t confuse the unique and full of oriental charm fine lacy Rishtan ceramics and paintings of all colors of blue with no other.

Then you transfer to an ancient oasis of the Ferghana valley - Kokand city. At the end of the XIX C - the beginning of the XX C) Kokand was the second largest city of the Ferghana Valley. Kokand is known since the X C, however, its age of prosperity was the XVIII C when it became the centre of the Khanate of Kokand and a religious centre of the region.

KokandThe Palace of Khudayar Khan (also «Urda»), who was the last ruler of Kokand, is quite well-preserved. Moreover, it was restored in 2009 году. The palace consisted of 7 buildings and 119 rooms once. The entire territory of “Urda” was encircled by the inner and outer fences. Unfortunately, the fences were completely destroyed, and only two courtyards and 19 rooms have been preserved.

Undoubtedly, the most interesting is the cemetery of the khans of Kokand. Here you will discover the necropolis of Umar Khan called Dakhma-i-Shakhon (1825), which decorative patterns remind the patterns of the Bolo-Hauz mosque in Bukhara. Next you will see the Mausoleum of Modari Khan, where you find out a life story of a poetess Nadira executed by order of the Amir of Bukhara and it will make you sad. This necropolis was built in the memory of hers! Then we’ll see the Juma Mosque (1800), where Friday prayers were usually conducted. This mosque is also famous with its roof-supporting pillars made of a solid nettle tree. Also we will be able to see the Amir (XVIII C) and Norbutabi (1799) madrassas. Nowadays the Juma Mosque is hosted in the building of the latter.

Transfer to Tashkent via Kamchik Pass.  

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14. Tashkent - Chimgan - Charvak - Tashkent.
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Chimgan Mountains (Western Tien-Shan Mountains). Walking in the mountains. Picnic in the open air. Transfer to the shore of the Charvak Reservoir. Transfer back to Tashkent. Overnight at the hotel.

Chimgan MountainsToday you will have a ride to the Chimgan Mountains famous around entire Central Asia.

Chimgan (The Western Tyan-Shan Mountains) provides various possibilities for active rest in any season. Chimgan attracts different people - tourists, alpinists, rock climbers, botanists, ornithologists, archaeologists, paleontologists - and all of them get a great blast of energy, cheerfulness and inspiration from generous nature. Wide biodiversity allows developing “landscape” tourism too. Mountains (the peaks of Maliy and Bolshoi Chimgan), plains, the waterfalls of Gulkam and Novotash attract many mountaineers both from Uzbekistan and from abroad.

In Chimgan you can choose from a range of activities: you can ride a horse, rent skis, sledges (in winter) or try an off-highway vehicle, trekking and hiking, or enjoy the height and beauty of the mountains from the funicular.

Charvak reservoir. Western Tien Shan, UzbekistanBesides, you go down to the Charvak water reserve - the gem of the Chimgan, which merrily sparkles under the bright Uzbek sun. Nowadays this is a water reserve with crystal pure water, where thousands of tourists come to enjoy the nature of this amazingly beautiful land and local mountains, to fish, swim and sunbathe, to try catamarans, boats or scooters. In general, all kinds of active summer rest are guaranteed here. You will have a short excursion at the territory of Charvak. After that you will proceed to Tashkent.

Overnight at the hotel in Tashkent.

Day 15. Tashkent. Departure.
Breakfast in hotel. Leisure time: walking in the city centre. Transfer to airport. Departure.

Airport in Tashkent

Today is the final day of your Uzbekistan Tour. It is strange, but it seems that the treasures of your oriental adventures are inexhaustible and never cease to charm!

The thread of our itinerary has formed into a brilliant necklace of pearls and impressions collected in the course of the tour. At one of the Tashkent bazaars you can buy that very chest, where you will keep your photographs, souvenirs and pure emotions that will always remind you of our eventful journey and touch those strings of your soul that admired the ancient mausoleums, palaces and fortresses, as well as the traditions, lifestyles and non-material culture of the Uzbek people.      

We are looking forward to your future visit!

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1

What nationals need visas to enter Uzbekistan?
Citizens of any countries other than Uzbekistan and the CIS countries enjoying visa-free regime agreements with Uzbekistan need visas to enter Uzbekistan or travel through its territory. These people can obtain Uzbekistan entry visas through a Visa Invitation Letter (Visa Support) from their host parties (host tour operators). Citizens of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK can apply for Uzbek visas to embassies or consulates of Uzbekistan without getting Visa Invitation Letter, independently. Please read here for more information.

2

Is it necessary to get a stay permit (temporary registration of stay) while visiting Uzbekistan?
Any foreigner to Uzbekistan is to get a stay permit within 3 working days (consecutive or not) during his / her visit to the country. If he / she stays at an Uzbekistan hotel or a guesthouse, such a stay permit for the period of stay at it is granted automatically. (Inquire whether the hotel / guesthouse you want to stay at provides such a permit unless your accommodation is organized by a host tour operator. Also make sure you are given your stay permit certificate with the seal of your hotel / guesthouse when you check out.) If you stay at other lodging facilities during your visit, you will have to get your stay permit from a local visits registration police department.

3

What is Uzbekistan’s currency? Where can I exchange money?
The national currency of Uzbekistan is the som (UZS). There are 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 5,000-som banknotes and 25, 50, 100 and 500-som coins used currently. The banknotes are similar in size but vary in color; they depict Uzbekistan’s cultural and heritage sites.
You can exchange money at Uzbekistan’s National Bank outlets, most of the hotels and official currency exchange offices commonly located near bazaars and at shopping centers. You will need your passport and stay permit to exchange money through them.
There is also a black market of currency exchange in Uzbekistan. Although its rates are higher, we do not recommend that you exchange money through its dealers (commonly individual money changers in the street, usually near bazaars). There is a risk of falling prey to cheaters or be arrested red-handed if you go for their services.
Note that the most common foreign currency in Uzbekistan is US dollars. The US banknotes you exchange in the country should be in good condition - without defects, bad folds, worn areas and scribbles - or it will be hard to exchange them.

4

Can I use credit cards in Uzbekistan?
You can use Visa and MasterCard cards mainly in Tashkent and at fewer locations in Samarkand and Bukhara for cash withdrawals through ATMs (cash machines) in their large hotels or banks. You can also make payments with these cards at some hotels, restaurants and stores in Tashkent. However, technical failures of the card handling equipment may occur, so it is advisable to always have enough cash on you.

5

What is the difference between GMT and Uzbekistan time?
It is GMT plus 5 hours in Uzbekistan.

6

Can foreigners to Uzbekistan use the services of a local mobile network operator during their stays in the country? s
Yes, they can if they have a stay permit to show.

7

Can I bring alcoholic beverages into Uzbekistan?
A person is permitted to bring a maximum of 2 liters of alcoholic drink(s) into the country.

8

What maximum amount of cash can I bring into Uzbekistan?
There is no limit on the amount of cash in a currency that is foreign to Uzbekistan a person can bring into the country. If you bring in over 5,000 USD (or the equivalent in other currencies), you will be given a ТС-28 certificate. If you bring in over 10,000 USD, you will have to pay a 1% duty on this sum.

9

What maximum amount of cash can I take out of Uzbekistan?
The amount of cash (in a currency foreign to Uzbekistan) you can take out of the country must not exceed the sum you brought in as per your arrival customs declaration. Taking out the amount exceeding the sum you brought in is possible if permitted by Uzbekistan’s Central Bank or another Uzbekistan’s authorized bank. Note that taking out Uzbekistan soms is not permitted unless they are several souvenir coins or banknotes.

10

Can I use a photo / video camera at the tourist sites?
Photographing and videoing at the tourist sites is allowed unless a site has a prohibition sign. They charge fees for using cameras at most tourist attractions though. Photographing and videoing is prohibited in Tashkent metro, at the airports and railway stations. Using a camera at the functioning mosques is possible if allowed by the worshippers there.

11

What kind of clothes should I wear in Uzbekistan? Are there any clothing requirements for women in the country?
Clothes made of cotton and other natural textiles will be the best choice in warm and hot weather. Both men and women will feel best in T-shirts and shorts. Your footwear must be comfortable, light and strong, since you will have to walk a lot. Have sunglasses, a light headwear and sunblock lotion.
If you travel early in spring (March to the beginning of April) or at the end of autumn (October to November), it is advisable to take a windbreaker, a sweater or a similar garment. In winter the temperature may fall to minus 10°С or so, so a raincoat, a warm coat and headwear will be necessary.
There are no strict limits on women’s clothing in the country. However, you should be considerate towards the local traditions, culture and religion. While visiting religious places women should wear loose garments covering most of their arms and legs, and of course the cleavage. Headscarves will also be advisable to put on. Note that you will have to take off your shoes while entering some of the sacred places.

12

What languages do people in Uzbekistan speak?
The official language is Uzbek; it is spoken by a majority of the population. Russian is spoken by the country’s largest Slavic minority and is still used widely in business and as a lingua franca, especially in Tashkent and other major cities. Tajik is widespread in Samarkand and Bukhara for their large Tajik ethnic minorities. Karakalpak is spoken in the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan where it is an official language besides Uzbek. English is popular as a foreign language to study but there is little chance of coming across a good English speaker in the street. However, in the historic cities of Bukhara and Samarkand many young souvenir sellers dealing with foreigners speak elementary English.

Photos of the tour:

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Our video gallery:

Traditional cuisine of Central Asia
Cuisine of Central Asia
Tashkent Tourist Attractions
Tashkent Tourist Attractions
Uzbek fruit and vegetables
Uzbek fruit and vegetables
Lively Kyzylkum desert
Lively Kyzylkum desert

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Reviews were found: 1

Feedbacks from tourists to the tour «Treasure Chest with Oriental Adventures».


Андрей Кирдан 13.10.2014 14:06

Хочу поблагодарить за хорошо организованный тур. Нам практически все очень понравилось - и как составлена программа, и ее содержание. Мы смотрели замечательные достопримечательности и в их временной исторической динамике, и по нарастанию концентрации и выразительности памятников. Даже трудно сказать, что больше понравилось, каждый город, каждое место имеет свою окраску - и древние остатки Хорезмского государства, и уютная Хива с замечательной мечетью, которая, по сути, предвосхитила знаменитую мечту в Кордове (Испания), и монументальный дворец Тимура в Шахрисабзе, сравнимый с древними пирамидами, и Бухара, где оказываешься прямо в атмосфере старого города, и величественный Самарканд. Интересна была поездка в Коканд и горы. Особую благодарность хотим выразить нашему замечательному гиду - Назире Умаровне, которая прекрасно знает предмет и сохраняет постоянный интерес к нему, рассказывает неформально, находит связи с мировой, и в частности, русской культурой. Покорили ее активность, забота, тактичность, умение и памятники представить во всем их многообразии, и вкусно накормить, и помочь с покупками. Все ее советы и предложения были ненавязчивыми, но предлагалось, действительно, лучшее. Кстати, посещения фабрик и мастерских, в отличие от подобных мероприятий в других странах, очень интересно, поскольку не имеет единственной цели направить на покупку. Очень познавательными были посещения шелковых фабрик в Маргилане и Самарканде (ковры). Бывали на аналогичных предприятиях в Китае, Индии, Бирме, Вьетнаме, но таких познаний не получили. Понравилась и природа, цветы из пустынных мест привезли в Москву и они стоят как замечательные сухоцветы, напоминая об Узбекистане.
Что касается гостиниц, то в целом они были нормальные, особенно понравилась Азия в Хиве и Бухаре. Мы располагали временем и с удовольствием провели его в поездке, но в целом в некоторых случаях можно было бы график уплотнить, например, выехать вечером из Самарканда в Ташкент, вместить мероприятия в Коканде в рамки одного дня и др. Это не было для нас недостатком, просто говорим и такой возможности, особенно при небольшой группе.
Еще раз благодарим за хороший отдых. Наша благодарность и пожелания здоровья, такого же энтузиазма и приятных групп Назире Умаровне.
С уважением, Андрей Кирдан, Ольга Савина.

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