Arrival in Tashkent in the morning with a flight. Meet and greet at the airport, transfer to hotel for rest after the long flight. Free time until lunch to refresh up, lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon tour in Tashkent including visits to Chorsu handicraft Bazaar, Kukaldosh Madrasah and The Khast Imam Complex. Dinner at a local restaurant and back to hotel for overnight.
After early breakfast, transfer to the train station at 7 am, take the fast train "Afrosiyob" to Samarkand leaving at 8 am, arriving in Samarkand at 10:15am. On the way, you will have the opportunity to view the local cotton fields, villages located along the way. Lunch in local restaurant in Samarkand upon arrival. Accommodation and start the afternoon city tour in Samarkand: visit to the world famous Registan Square with it's breathe-taking three Madrasahs: Ulugbek Madrasah, Sherdor Madrasah and Tillya Kari Madrasah. time to sit, relax and even to read your favorite book by the Registan Square while watching the sunset closer to evening.
Samarkand, sometimes called the ‘Rome of the Orient’ was already flourishing when Rome and Babylon were founded. During the course of our full day tour we visit the Bibi Khanum Mosque, Mausoleum of Tamerlane, Observatory of Ulughbek, the site where Uleg Bek, grandson of Tamerlane, made some of the greatest achievements of the pre-telescope era of astronomy in the 15th century. We also visit the regal mausoleums of Shah-I Zinda, site of Central Asia’s most sacred Islamic shrine, the massive mosque of Bibi Khanym, and the adjacent colorful market. You can purchase Samarkand’s famous bread which Alexander the Great unsuccessfully tried to have duplicated back home in Greece, or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to the world’s tastiest melons of multiple varieties. Our afternoon tour covers the Afrosiab Museum, located on the site of ancient Afrosiab.
After breakfast at our hotel, we continue our journey with a drive to Nuratau Mountains area located north-west of Samarkand, known for basic local lifestyle and energetic people. Arrive and settle at a guesthouse in one of the villages in Nuratau. The guesthouse owner will show you their facilities. The guesthouse has a very nice garden, where you can spend some time to relax. They have a separate house for guests with four big guestrooms that can be heated well by a woodstove in could seasons. Lunch at the guesthouse with the family members. After having lunch with the family, you may walk around the village to see the daily livelihood activities of the rural people or have a rest and relax on one of the tapchans (comfortable tea beds) or on a supa (traditional loom built tea bed) in the garden. The guesthouse has a big lush green garden with a brook passing under one of the tapchans, which makes it pleasant during hot summer days.
After having a breakfast with freshly baked nan (bread) and crream, excursion to the village of Eski Forish. On the way, we see the ancient petroglyphs site, visit historic to the look-out point in Eski Forish which was used to observe the Kyzylkum plains to avoid sudden attacks of enemies. Drive to the Yurt Camp via Lake Aydar (150km/ 2 hours). Arrive at the lake, depending on the time of the year you can have a swim, walk along the lake shore or watch the rich aquatic birdlife (cranes, pelicans, many duck and goose species and numerous waders etc.). Continue to the Yurt Camp. Arrive and settle at the camp. Ride on the camel or just walk around the dunes. Depending on the time of the year you might spot steppe tortoises, hares and desert agamas. Dinner and overnight stay at the Yurts.
After breakfast leave for Bukhara via ancient town of Nurata. There are a lot of legends related with the origin of the city and its name. People refer the origin of the city to the fortress Nur, which was founded by Alexander the Great in 4th century BC. However, according to archaeological excavations the cultural layer in this area reaches the age of 40 thousand years. Supposedly, the main reason to choose this place for settlement was the spring, known as Chashma. Arrive in Nurata. Visit the mausoleum of Nurata and the ruins of the Alexander the Great’s fortress. Continue to Bukhara(200km). On the way to Bukhara stop in Gijduvan. A small town of Gijduvan is situated in 46 km northeast from Bukhara. From the ancient times till the present Gijduvan has been considered as important trading town and crafts centre. Visit the ceramics workshop of Narzullayev’s family where you will be able to become acquainted with the process of producing ceramics; to visit the ceramics museum; to buy manufactured articles of Gijduvan craftsmen; Arrive in Bukhara and accommodation at our hotel
Today we explore the old quarter on foot. Bukhara is an ancient city with its bustling “trade domes,” active mosques, and the Kalyan Minaret (“tower of death”), one of Central Asia’s tallest. We’ll stroll around the streets and visit the old town center where old men with long white beards gossip for hours while drinking tea. Bukhara has been designated a World Heritage Site; the resulting restoration of some of the mosques, constructed in the 11th to 15th centuries, to make them appear as if they were built yesterday. There are even some structures still standing that date back to Zoroastrian times 2,500 years ago. We also visit the massive fortress, The Ark, with the Emir’s open-air throne room and the Mausoleum of Ismail Samani, an intricate and beautiful 10th century brick structure that is nicely preserved. We’ll also venture to the outskirts of Bukhara and visit the summer palace of the last emir, built by a Russian Czar with grand halls and a harem. We will also see Char Minar, a gate of a ancient Madrasah long time gone. It was built in 1809 and has more in common with Indian art styles than local. Its name comes from Tajik although the towers you can see are not actually minarets but simply decorative towers. Evening watch the traditional Bukhara folk show.
After breakfast visit to the outside of the town, to visit the summer residence of the last Khan (ruler) of Bukhara- Sitorai Mokhi Hosa. afternoon free in the old town to relax, explore the narrow streets and get acquainted with the locals. Dinner at Nadir Divanbegi Madrasah with fashion and folklore show introducing the Uzbek classic musical instruments and clothes from different region of the country.
After breakfast transfer to Khiva, known as the ancient town frozen in time for it's lovely architecture and individual style. Full day in transfer with stop on the way at local chaykhana for picnic lunch. Opportunity to take pictures of the Amu- Darya river. Upon arrival in Khiva accommodation and free time for resting after the long day of driving.
Full day sightseeing tour in Ichan Kala (inside the walls) part of the town. Legend has it that Khiva was founded when Shem, son of Noah, discovered a well here. The town certainly existed by the 8th Century, as a minor fort and trading post on a Silk Road branch to the Caspian Sea and the Volga. In the early 16th century, Khiva was made capital of the Timurid Empire, becoming a busy slave market and pivot of the khanate for the next three centuries. Until Russia finally wrested the region from Timurid grasp in the 19th century, even the boldest hearts feared encounters with these fierce tribesmen and their desert territory. Khiva is an ancient walled city and looks much like it did in centuries past. It is one of the few sites in Central Asia where one can easily imagine life during the time of the emirates. We will spend the morning wandering its maze of ruins and great mosques. Later, a tour of this living museum including the Ichon-Qala gates, Muhammad Amin and Rakhim Khan’s Medressas, Tosh-Khovli Palace, Islom-Huja Medressa and Minaret. Dinner will be served at Toza Bogh Palace (Summer residence of Muhammad Rahim Khan II). Evening flight back to Tashkent.
After breakfast flight back home. (we advise to take an extra day in Tashkent before flight back home to explore the town on your own, relax and calm down after the exciting yet a bit tiring tour).
Uzbekistan once known as the heart of the Orient, center for trade and education along the Ancient Great Silk Road welcomes you to visit and enjoy it’s exceptionally hospitable people, sky-reaching Minarets and beautifully constructed Madrasahs, calm and mind-resting small villages. This tour will introduce Uzbekistan to you from a very different angle- not as just a tourist destination for history lovers, but also as a way to live the local lifestyle in small towns off the tourist roads. Combining Samarkand’s breathe-taking Registan Square view with the nomadic lifestyle by the Aydarkul Lake, and mountainous area of Nuratau Reservoir- this trip will be enjoyed for both: its introduction to the Silk Roads Cities and the off-track small villages of Uzbekistan.