Tajikistan & Uzbekistan: Tour to Ancient Sogdiana
Exploring Ancient Cities of Silk Road and Hiking in Fann Mountains
|Tajikistan - Uzbekistan
|12 days / 11 nights
|Dushanbe - Iskanderkul Lake - Penjikent - Seven Lakes - Samarkand - Bukhara - Khiva - Tashkent
Legendary Sogdiana (Sogdia) was a historical region in the middle of the Zeravshan River Valley, which is currently part of two countries – Tajikistan (the present-day Sughd region) and Uzbekistan (most of the Samarkand region). Sogdia has been known since ancient times, and the earliest written source to mention it is the Avesta, the holy book of the Zoroastrians. From the 8th century BC, the famous city of Maracanda, now known as Samarkand, was the political and cultural centre of Sogdiana.
The combined tour of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan brings together the best highlights of these two cultures, embraces the most famous cities in both countries and includes the brightest sightseeing with visits to the sites of ancient Sogdian cities in Penjikent, a series of incredibly beautiful coloured lakes in the Fann Mountains, architectural masterpieces in Samarkand and historical monuments in some other cities on the Silk Road, such as Bukhara, Khiva and Tashkent.
This 12-day combo trip’s itinerary is a combination of informative excursions in ancient cities and easy hiking in the highly picturesque environment of the Pamir-Alai.
Feel the atmosphere of the old and new Orient and acquaint yourselves with the character of the local people, the descendants of the proud Sogdians!
SERVICES & COST
- USEFUL INFORMATION
|Tour itinerary 2024
|Arrival in Dushanbe.
Arrival in Dushanbe early in the morning. Meet at the airport, transfer to the hotel and rest.
After breakfast meet the guide and start of the city tour in Dushanbe. Visit the following sites: Tajikistan United Museum, including exploring the famous Buddha in Nirvana - one of the most valuable exhibits of museum; Botanical garden; Oriental Bazaar.
After lunch transfer 30 km out of the city to visit the ruins of the ancient Hissar Fortress of 18th century; two plain madrasahs of 18th and 19th centuries and mausoleum of 16th century.
Return to the hotel and overnight. Meals: breakfast.
|Dushanbe – Iskanderkul Lake by road (135 km).
After breakfast transfer to the high mountain lake, named Iskanderkul Lake (2255 m above the sea level), which is situated in the famous Fann Mountains. The lake is named in honour of Alexander the Great and is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Central Asia. The road to the lake goes via Istiklol tunnel (2630 m) with amazing panorama views.
On arrival on the lake we take a 40 minutes hike to the beautiful local waterfall known locally as "Fanskaya Niagara", located in a picturesque narrow gorge on the Iskanderdarya River. The height of the waterfall is 43 metres and there is a viewing platform with the best view of the waterfall.
Accommodation at the guest house or a cottage near Iskanderkul Lake. Dinner and overnight. Meals: breakfast.
After breakfast we may start the hiking tour in the surroundings or just relax at the shore – upon your wish, as the hiking is not obligatory.
In case you choose activities – it is possible to walk up (or drive up if you do not want to walk a lot) through the Presidential summer houses to the top of Alexander’s hat, which the Tajik residents call Dojdemerniy Peak (3358 m). Hiking up the peak and back takes about 7 hours.
Lunch (picnic) en route.
Return to the guest house or cottage for dinner and overnight. Meals: breakfast, lunch.
|Iskanderkul Lake – Penjikent by road (155 km).
Today we make a transfer to Penjikent via Istaravshan. Istaravshan (Ura-Tyube) is another ancient city in Central Asia, some 2,500 years old. At the beginning of the millennium, the settlement of Mug-Teppe (Mug Mountain) was located there, and unique documents in the ancient Sogdian language were found during excavations. Istaravshan is the largest centre of traditional crafts in Tajikistan. It is famous for pottery, woodcarving, artistic embroidery (suzane), production of knives and leather goods, sewing and decorating skullcaps, etc.
Lunch en route.
Upon arrival start of the city tour in Penjikent. Penjikent is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, dating back 5,500 years. Penjikent was an important cultural and craft centre of the Zoroastrian Sogdiana. It has been called the "Central Asian Pompeii" for its beauty. Unique Sogdian murals have been preserved on the outskirts of Penjikent.
Visit museum of Rudaki (this city is a birthplace of this ancient poet), ruins of ancient Penjikent of 5-8th centuries: foundations of houses, a citadel with a couple of Zoroastrian fire temples and city bazaar are visible in the excavated ruins.
Accommodation at the hotel in the afternoon. Overnight. Meals: breakfast, lunch.
|Penjikent – Marguzor Lakes (Seven Lakes) – “Jartepa” land border – Samarkand by road (160 km).
After breakfast transfer to the region of Seven Lakes with a guide. En route visit the ancient Sogdian settlement of Sarazm with the history of 5500 years of civilization – one of the oldest settlements in Central Asia and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tajikistan. The Great Lapis Lazuli Road, which later formed the basis of the famous Silk Road, passed through Sarazm. The ruins of palace and cult buildings have been preserved on the territory of the settlement, and unique artefacts such as jewellery made of precious stones and shells have been found here.
Arrival to the region of Haftkul – which is represented by seven lakes of different colors, located in the mountains of Tajikistan. Picnic at one of the most beautiful lakes in Tajikistan.
After lunch transfer to “Jartepa” land border and formalities; meet local driver and guide and further transfer to Samarkand. Upon arrival accommodation at the hotel, rest and overnight. Meals: breakfast, lunch.
Samarkand is as old as Rome, it is one of the most ancient cities in the world and former capital of the great Tamerlane empire. It is a museum city, a city which was once the heart of the caravan trade in the midst of the Great Silk Road. Samarkand conserved its unique aura of the Oriental medieval age until this very day.
After breakfast start of the guided sightseeing tour around Samarkand: visit Registan Square (Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah, Tilla-Qori Madrasah), Gur-e Amir Mausoleum (Tamerlane’s sepulcher), Rukhabad Mausoleum (from the outside); after lunch visit Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis, Ulugbek Observatory.
Return to the hotel. Rest and overnight. Meals: breakfast.
|Samarkand – Bukhara by morning train (1.5 hours).
After breakfast we make a transfer to the train station to make a ride to Bukhara by a high-speed train (09:44-11:17).
Bukhara is an ancient city in Uzbekistan which also used to be part of the Great Silk Road. Medieval Bukhara was one of the main political, cultural, and religious hubs of the Middle East. Over 140 architectural monuments have been preserved here. The historical center of Bukhara is included in the list of World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO.
On arrival in Bukhara – meet the guide and start the city tour. We will visit: Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, Bolo Khauz Mosque, Ark Citadel, Po-i-Kalyan Complex (Kalyan Minaret and others).
Accommodation at the hotel in the afternoon. Rest and overnight. Meals: breakfast.
Continuation of the city tour in Bukhara. Today we will visit Ulugbek Madrasah, Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Lyab-i Hauz Architectural Ensemble, Kukeldash Madrasah, Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah. Visit the shopping district with domed shopping arcade of the 16th century, where national arts and handicrafts workshops are presented.
In the afternoon – transfer 20 min from the old city center and visit the out-of-town sites: Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, the summer residence of the last emir of Bukhara and Bakhouddin Naqshbandi ensemble – old sufi shrine.
Return to the hotel. Rest and overnight. Meals: breakfast.
|Bukhara – Khiva by road (440 km).
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Khiva through the famous Kyzylkum desert along the Amu Darya River. We will pass along the road, where many Silk Road caravans once slowly followed. “Kyzylkum” translates as “Red Sands”, and the local sand really has a reddish tint. We will make several stops and walk along the picturesque dunes, admire the amazing panorama of the Amu Darya River from a viewing point. Lunch en route.
Arrival in Khiva. Leisure time. Walking around the historical district – Itchan Kala (18 century) which is the walled inner town of the old Khiva oasis and State Museum-Reserve protected as a World Heritage Site, visiting traditional workshops and souvenir shops is recommended. Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast, lunch.
|Khiva – Urgench by road (35 km).
Urgench – Tashkent by evening flight (1 hour)
Khiva (over 2500 years old) is a bright and almost untouched example of a medieval Orient city. Itchan-Kala will appear before us in the guise of a revived city from an oriental fairytale. Every building of Ichan-Kala is a unique architectural monument and on its own is an attraction for tourists.
After breakfast start of the guided sightseeing tour around Khiva. Visit the sights of Ichan Kala (historical inner city): Pakhlavan Mahmud Complex, Kunya-Ark Fortress, Islam Hoja Madrasah & Minaret. After lunch visit Tash Khauli Palace, Juma Mosque, Muhammad Aminkhan Minaret & Madrasah.
In the evening transfer to Urgench and further flight to Tashkent. Upon arrival in Tashkent transfer to hotel and check in. Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast, lunch.
|Departure from Tashkent.
Breakfast and start of the guided sightseeing tour around Tashkent. Today we visit first the old part of the city and the religious complex Khasti Imam, consisting of Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, Barak Khan Madrasah, Muy-Mubarak Mosque – the storehouse of the well-known Koran of Khalif Osman and gold hair of prophet Muhammad; Dzhuma Mosque of Khodja Akhrar Vali, the State Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan, Kukeldash Madrsah and Chorsu Oriental bazaar.
In the afternoon explore the new city, including visiting of Independence Square, Amir Temur Statue and Minor White Mosque, and ride the Tashkent metro. Overnight at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Check out before 12:00.
Transfer to the International airport for departure. Meals: breakfast.
Tour price includes:
Tour price does not include:
*Tickets on a high-speed train are subject of availability and cannot be guaranteed in advance
Information on the hotels
|Atlas Hotel B&B
|Atlas Hotel 4*
|Penjikent Plaza 3*
|Penjikent Plaza 3*
|Arba Hotel 3*
|Zarafshon Parside Hotel 4*
|Rangrez Hotel 3*
|Asia Bukhara Hotel 4*
|Arkanchi Hotel 3*
|Asia Khiva Hotel 4*
|Sato Hotel 3*
|Inspira-S Hotel 4*
Information on the vehicles
|Group of 1–2 pax.
|Group of 4 pax.
|"Hyundai Starex minivan "
|Group of 6-8 pax.
|"King Long minivan"
|Group of 9-15 pax.
|Group of 1-2 pax
|Toyota Camry or similar
|Group of 3-15 pax
|Hyundai Starex minivan (5 pax per each vehicle)
Visa to Uzbekistan:
Visa-free regime for up to 60 days has been established for citizens of countries below:
Visa-free regime for up to 30 days has been established for citizens of countries below:
A great number of other countries can obtain an e-visa to Uzbekistan by simply visiting the governmental portal e-visa.gov.uz.
Visa to Tajikistan:
Currently the foreign citizens have an opportunity to obtain Tajikistan visa on-line on the official web here: www.evisa.tj.
Visa invitation from the MFA of Tajikistan is not necessary.
Useful Information on Traveling to Uzbekistan
Useful Information on Traveling to Tajikistan
Photos of the tour:
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