In-depth cultural tour
In-depth cultural tour along the Great Silk Road with the ancient cities, stunning architecture and vibrant history of Uzbekistan awaits. Start your journey through metropolitan Tashkent and explore 2700-year-old cities through the ancient Silk Road cities and enjoy the scenery in front of Bukhara’s Kalon Minaret, just take a vacant look at Samarkand's mighty Registan Ensemble. Reap the benefits of the hospitality of a local family over dinner, making traditional plov and sunset from a rooftop in colorful Khiva.
Day 1: Tashkent
Tashkent, one of the largest cities in Central Asia, cosmopolitan city, the heart of Central Asia and the former key city of USSR with the population of over 3 million, Cultural mix of Russian and Uzbek style, awaits to be explored form its extravagant ancient mosques and modern highways to Soviet monuments.
Meet your driver at Tashkent Airport (Your arrival time noted at 01.00 am in Tashkent International Airport) for the pick-up and get welcomed by our tour guide and be ready to begin your journey throughout Tashkent (depending on your arrival, considering your long flight, free time at a hotel (13.00 to 14.00 check in time) can be arranged that can result in extending the days of your tour). Spend the rest of your day exploring one of the oldest markets in Central Asia where you will find yourself chatting with locals and merchants renowned by their lavish hospitality. Transfer to a hotel for overnight
Day 2: Tashkent
On the following day after breakfast, continue a full day city tour exploring some of the rich cultural history of Uzbekistan, 16th-century former Islamic school Kukeldash Madrasah alongside the 15th-century Jumah (Friday) Mosque followed by Khast-Imam which is the architectural Complex, the religious center and a home to the world famous Uthman Quran that has been preserved, and the Roman Catholic Church of Tashkent. Get familiar with the introduction of the country in general at the History Museum of Uzbek people from the Silk Road era to the current days. Your next tour point is Amir Temur Square (the statue of Amir Temur on the horseback in the central park). After the end of your tour throughout Tashkent, enjoy the ballet or opera at the National Theatre in the evening (if the show falls on the day of your tour, you can get the updates from your guide about the tickets and what is on the show).
Day 3: Samarkand
Take 08:00 am high speed “Afrosiyob” train to Samarkand (2hours and 10mins). Found in 8th BC, having been one of the main crossroads on the Silk Road connecting north and south, east and west, Samarkand had been the center for artisans and traders, multicultural society and the capital city for many great kings whose hearts were stolen by its beauty and wealth as well as its rich history. Get your camera at ready on your arrival, visit the Guri Amir – the great Tamerlane’s Mausoleum alongside his sons and grandsons. Transfer to Registan Square – the heart of Samarkand – that retains three madrasahs (Schools): the Ulugh Beg Madrasah (1417–1420), the Tilya-Kori Madrasah (1646–1660) and the Sher-Dor Madrasah (1619–1636) decorated in mosaic, tiles and intricate geometric brickwork including the many handicrafts and souvenir stalls in the courtyards and rooms. After that, walk towards the Bibi-Khanim Mosque, one of the largest and most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world, which represents the timeless symbol of a Tamerlane’s love for his wife. Along the way you will cross through the traditional shops that sell Uzbek national clothes and gifts. Continue to the busy and colorful Siyab Bazaar alongside, which makes it the photographers dream to take photos of its stalls and the huge array of produce while encountering warm greetings from local merchants. Get transferred to your hotel after dinner for overnight.
Day 4: Samarkand
After enjoying breakfast, start exploring the Shakhi-Zinda complex, the so called “the streets of mausoleums” necropolis, consists of 20 beautifully decorated buildings, knows as the holy site for Muslims, the burial place for the Prophet Mohammed’s cousin. Continue to one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world Ulugh-Beg Observatory which was built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer. It used to be the largest in Central Asia, before it had been destroyed in 1449. Your next traveling point is Afrasiab Museum, which hosts a 7th century fresco of the Sogdian King Varkhouman along with 22 000 unique exhibits. Join a local family for a cooking class to learn how to make one of the traditional meals “Plov” for dinner.
Day 5: Samarkand - Gijduvan – Bukhara
Drive to Bukhara in the morning (about 4 hours) and on the way stop in Gijduvan which is popular with its ceramic pottery that dates back six generations. Visit a ceramic pottery workshop there to witness the process of how it is made and visit a small museum to learn about the history of ceramics. Continue to Bukhara another Silk Road city for travellers. Walk through the trading domes that offer different types of embroideries, handicrafts, jewelry, spices and the treasures of Silk Road. Night walk in the lively historic part of Bukhara depending on your wishes.
Day 6: Bukhara
Bukhara, known as the holy city in Central Asia, with more than 140 historical monuments dating from the 8th to the 18th century AD listed on UNESCO, offers a lot to explore from its history to architecture. Start with the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, the Bolo-Khauz Mosque, then explore the ruins of the 5th-century Ark Fortress which is the heart of the city followed by the Poikalon complex that consists of the Kalon Minaret, Kalon Mosque and Miri Arab Madrasah, and the Madrasah of Ulugbek and Abdul Aziz Khan. Admire the scenery over the pond Lyabi-Hauz with its surroundings in the evening.
Day 7: Bukhara
Start your second full day sightseeing tour in Bukhara visiting trading domes on different manner. As Bukhara in 16th century was a main center of trade, craft, and administration on the Great Silk Road, the city was famous for its bazaars, being a trading center, holding meetings and entertainment. It is estimated that, as one of the richest cities along the route, Bukhara used to have 50 bazaars and 75 caravanserais that contributed to its prosperity. The trading domes still have the sheer commercial exuberance for having been carrying the trade along. You can feel its cultural atmosphere as you wander through all manner of things on sale ready to be bargained while experiencing the spirit of trade. Among these bazaars, visit the oldest mosque in Central Asia the Maghoki-Attar. Continue to the Nadir Devan-Begi one of the ancient madrasas as you cross Lyabi Hauz, visit Chor Minor consisted of four minarets. Free time in the evening to explore Bukhara at night.
Day 8: Bukhara – Khiva
After having breakfast, transfer to the Sitorai Mohi Hosa – the summer palace of the last Emir. It combines both the local and European style in terms of its design with its halls highly decorated with paintings and carpets. Drive (450km) to Khiva (about 7 hours photo stops and lunch included). Drive through the Kyzyl-Kum (Red Sands Desert), one of the largest deserts in Central Asia. Pass by various nomadic people and cowboys on their camels on the way. Cross by the Amu Darya River, which was once known by its former name the Oxus. The river stretches far to the south-east in the Pamirs, then flows west through the bordering area of Afghanistan. You can enjoy some reading in the meanwhile as it is the long journey to Khiva. En route stop for lunch at the café on the roadside. On your arrival to Khiva in the evening, check-in at a hotel for a rest, enjoy the view of the sunset on the observing point of Itchan Kala.
Day 9: Khiva
Spend a full day to explore the city. Being enchanting at dawn, on its empty streets, Khiva is a great city and do not miss the chance to enjoy the sunrise if you decide to get up before the start of your sightseeing tour. After breakfast, join your guide for your sightseeing tour as it is the perfect place to wander around its historical sites. Start with the Kalta Minor Minaret, the Khan museum in the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Medressa, the 17th-century Juma Mosque, the Islom-Hoja Minaret and Medressa - 1908 and the highest structure, and the Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum complex. Explore the Kuhna Ark, the main fortress, and look a look at the city from the hill of the Ak-Sheikh Baba observation platform, once used as a patrol tower of the citadel. Lastly, visit the 19th century summer palace of Mohammed Rakhim Khan II, the Tosh-Hovli Palace, set in orchards and covered by walled gardens, fountains and aywans.
Day 10: Khiva – Tashkent
Be transferred to the airport for flight to Tashkent (Arrival time in Tashkent 11am). Explore the Navoi Theatre, named after the XV century writer Ali-Shir Navai. Admire the works within the modern Art Gallery of Uzbekistan and admire the works in it. It has been our honor to have you fellow travellers to be interested to visit our Silk Road country and there is optional dinner before your flight. Farewell.
Day 11: Tashkent
End of your trip today in Tashkent.