Arrive in Tashkent, meet and greet at the airport and private transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at the hotel.
You will start the day with a tour of Uzbekistan’s capital - Tashkent. Visit the Museum of Applied Arts to see beautiful embroideries, wall hangings, carved furniture, ceramics and more. Later in the day you visit the Museum of Antiquities, and the old city, which has mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools) housing craft workshops (14th century). Next you explore the Kukeldash and Abul Khassim Medressa (16th century Muslim temples) and the Chorsu Bazaar, a huge open market next to Kukeldash, which draws crowds of people from the countryside, many in traditional dress. An afternoon flight takes you to Urgench for a tour of the town of Khiva, one of the most ancient settlements in the world. Your tour of this living museum includes the Ichon-Qala gates, Muhammad Amin and Rakhim Khan’s Madrasas, Tosh-Khovli Palace, Islom-Huja Medressa and Minaret. Transfer to the hotel in Urgench for an overnight.
Today you have a long drive by coach (7-9 hours) through the moonscape lands between the Kara-Kum (black sands) and Kyzyl-Kum (red sands) deserts to Bukhara - former capital of the once powerful Emirate of Bukhara. Arrive in Bukhara and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at the hotel and the evening is free to relax.
This day will be devoted to exploring the more than 2,500 –year-old city of Bukhara. You will visit one of the most elegant structures in Central Asia - Ismail Samani Mausoleum (built in 905 AD, with a Zoroastrian symbol of eternity over its door). The tour will take you to the Ark (former residence of the Emirs), and the Kalyan Minaret (the tallest building in Central Asia at the time it was erected, with the first glazed blue tiles used for its decoration). You will have a chance to walk the narrow streets of the Old Town and meet the locals who still wear traditional Uzbek clothes and jewelry. Tonight’s dinner at a local restaurant will introduce you to the traditional cuisine of Uzbekistan.
You depart early in the morning by coach for the town of Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane, where you tour Ak-Saray Palace, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, House of Meditation and the Crypt of Timur (Tamerlane) - a man who changed the course of history in Central Asia. You continue later to Samarkand, the capital of Tamerlane’s empire and the city that is for most people as mythical as Atlantis or as remote and legendary as Timbuktu. Arrive in Samarkand and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at the hotel. The evening is free for you to begin to explore the city on your own.
Today you will have a full day tour of the “Rome of the Orient,” a city that is as old as Rome and Babylon, Samarkand. You will see the Registan Square surrounded by three splendorous madrasas; visit Tamerlane’s burial place in a mausoleum, the famous Ulugbek Astronomic Observatory built in 1420, and Shahi Zinda Necropolis - “Tomb of the Living King,” site of Central Asia’s most sacred Islamic shrine. You also visit a colorful local market where you can buy saffron at unbelievably low prices or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to multiple varieties of the world’s tastiest melons. Dinner at the hotel tonight ends the day on a relaxing note.
The entire day is free to spend as you please in Samarkand or join optional excursions. In the evening, experience the magic of Central Asian traditional dance while having a dinner of Uzbek cuisine at a local restaurant. The folklore performance will be staged especially for you.
You will depart in the morning for an exciting coach ride across the Kamchik mountain pass to the beautiful green Fergana Valley. En route, visit the city of Kokand - Bukhara’s deadliest rival and the most tenacious Central Asian opponent of Imperial Russia in the 19th century. In Kokand you will visit the museum in the Fort of the Last Ruler, Khodayor Khan, and see a collection of exhibits related to the times of the khans’ rule. Arrive in Fergana and transfer to the hotel. The evening is free.
A full-day tour will take you to the Edgorliq Khanatlas Silk Factory in Marghilan where you will see beautiful hand-made and embroidered garments. You will visit Andijan, birthplace of Babur, ruler of the Moghul Dynasty in India and founder of the famous Taj Mahal and the Shalimar Gardens. The rest of the day is free to spend as you please.
Today you depart by coach and drive along a scenic road winding along the eastern spurs of the Pamir Ranges to Tashkent, the capital city of the country and the third largest city of the former Soviet Union. Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to the hotel. In the evening experience the rich traditions of Uzbek folk song and dance as you enjoy a farewell dinner.
Your exploration of the wonderful land of Uzbekistan comes to an end as you are taken on a private transfer to the airport for your flight home.
The Silk Road or the Silk Route, which connected China and other Asian countries with Europe, took its name from colorful Chinese silk – the expensive commodity popular in Europe during the Roman times. Besides the silk and other material goods, the Silk Route also carried cultural and religious ideas. This is how Buddhism was spread throughout Central Asia.
The area of modern-day Uzbekistan was once a much-coveted piece of land due to its location in the midst of ancient trade routes even before the Great Silk Road. Some of the most influential and ruthless conquerors ruled these lands, including Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Emir Timur (Tamerlane). The Turks brought Islam into the region and built a lot of Mosques and Madrasas, many of which were later destroyed by Genghis Khan. Most of the splendorous architectural monuments in the ancient city of Samarkand were built by Tamerlane and his grandson Ulugbek.