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Sightseeing tours through Uzbekistan

Itinerary # 1

Tashkent - Urgench - Khiva - Bukhara - Shakhrisabz - Samarkand - Tashkent

Duration: 08 Days

Notification:
1. The program of tour can be changed in accordance with your wishes and time-table of flights.
2. Food and entertains parts mentioned in the tour program are recommended and not included in the cost.

1 Day
Tashkent

Arriving.
Welcome to Tashkent! A driver-attendant will meet you at the international airport. You will know him by a table saying “Tashrif Tours” in his hands. He will take you to one of the hotels in Tashkent and will help you to accommodate there.

Transfer to hotel and accommodation in Hotel. Dinner at the national restaurant. Overnight.

2 Day
Tashkent - Urgench - Khiva

Check out and transfer: at 05:30 you will be fetched by the driver to get you to the airport.
Leaving for Urgench: at 07:00 you will leave Tashkent to Urgench.
Arrival: at 09:30 the airplane arrives to the airport of Urgench.
Meeting at the airport and after of short duration driving to Khiva (distance is - 30 km), you will arrive in one of the hotels in Khiva.

Accommodation at 14:00 Sightseeing tour around Khiva. Khiva is like a small island from the distant past, which appears before you, amazingly harmonious, with a great number of monuments and minarets, protecting peace of the few citizens of the ancient city from the date of its establishment.

Summary of excursion around Khiva: 

  • The Al-Khorezmi monument (XX c.). The monument to Abu Abdallakh Mohammad ibn Musa al-Khorezmi, the great native of Khorezm, the medieval polymath, the creator of classical algebra.

  • Ichan-kala fortress. Main western gates of Ata-Darvaz open the way to the Ichan-kala fortress. Behind the fortress wall a city with ancient buildings, streets, and palaces hides.

  • Kunya-Ark Citadel (XVII-XVIII cc.) An old citadel, a kind of a “city in a city” was built in the time of Arang-khan. Here are the palace, mint, harem, mosques, stables, armory, underground jail-zindan which functioned up to the end of 19th c.

  • Mohammad Aminkhan madrassah (1852-1853). One of the largest and most richly decorated madrassah  in Khiva.

  • Kalta-Minar minaret  (1854-1855). An unusual minaret fully covered with glazed tile, according to ambitious plans of a Khiva leader, should have outlooked all the other minarets in the world, but only the half of the building was built, that is why it was called “kalta”, i.e. short.

  • Mohammad Rahim-khan madrassah (1876). Opposite to the Kunya-Ark fortress there is a big madrassah with two yards. Apart from classrooms, there used to be halls of winter and summer mosques, and a rich library.

  • Said-Alavaddin dervish mausoleum (XIV, XIX cc.). Built in the grave site of a famous Sufi sheik. A beautiful  gravestone is fronted with spray tiles: the greenish-white floral ornament showing up on a blue background.

  • Pakhlavan-Mahmood mausoleum  (XVIII-XIX cc.). Inside the mausoleum there is a grave of Pakhlavan Mahmood, a Khiva leader, poet and hero, famous also under the poetic nickname of “Piryarvali”, who lived in the 13-14th cc. A majestic turquoise dome overlooks the mausoleum richly decorated with arabesquitic ceramic tiles.

  • Islam Khodja minaret and madrassah (1908). The most beautiful and the highest minaret in Khiva proudly overlooks ancient city buildings. Along the whole height of the minaret there are narrow stripes of turquoise, green, and white tiles. Next to it stands a small madrassah of the same name which was also built by Islam Khodja, a vizir famous for his progressive views.

  • Russian-native school  (beginning of XX c.). Built by Islam Khodja, the vizir. Here you can see the works of Hudayberghen Devanov, the first photographer and moviemaker of the Central Asia.

Lunch at a traditional chaikhana, Khorezm pilaf is on the menu.

Continuation  of city tour around Khiva:

  • Jumah-mosque (X-XVIII c.). A Khiva cathedral jami is famous for its collection of unique carved columns, some of them being 1 000 years old.

  • Ak-mosque (1657)  and Anush-khan hamams (1664). No visitors inside. A small one-dome building of the mosque is surrounded  by three iwans supported by tall wooden columns. Wonderful carved doors lead to the inner hall of the mosque. Next to the mosque there used to be brick hamams which were also built by Anush-khan.

  • Kutlug-Murad-Inak madrassah (1804-1812). Located opposite to Allah Kuli-khan madrasah. In front of the building there is a paved brick ground under which, on the street level, niches with craftsman shops are situated. Inside the yard there is an ancient underground dew mound. The building is lined with patterned brickwork.

  • Allah-Kuli-Khan madrassah (1832-1835). Together with Kutlug-Morad-Inak madrassah, makes the ensemble “kosh”. This place used to be a large educational institution with a public library. The walls of the portal and facing yards were covered with Majolica coating.

  • Tash-Khauli palace (1830-1838). A “stone” palace was once a big complex consisting of eight yards and 163 rooms resembling a labyrinth. There used to be a palace, harem, amusement yard, and other rooms.

  • Palvan Kari complex (1905), caravan-serai and Allah-Kuli-khan tim (1835). Both buildings, caravan-serai and Palvam Kari bazaar, expected to strengthen the economy and attract into the khanate capital as many merchants as possible, were situated near the gates of Palvan- darvaza. Up to the modern times, the tim is considered to be the largest roofed market in Khiva. Thick walls provide a life-giving coolness on a hot day, and skillful builders are often whole-heartedly thanked under the roof of this ancient building.

  • Palvan-Darvaza gates  (1806). Literally, “hero” gates; but was also famous under the other names: Podshob-darvaza (gates of executioners); Kul-darvaza (slave gates). These names date back to 1873 when near the gates Palvan-darvaza, the way out of Ichan-kaly, a slave market was situated, and all the orders about executions made by Tash-khauli palace were announced right near these gates of the city.

Dinner at a traditional chaikhana or restaurant.

On the menu: dymlama (stewed vegetables), chuchvara (Uzbek meat pockets). And surely, you will have a possibility to order European meals.

Overnight.

3 Day
Khiva – Bukhara (475 km)

After breakfast, you will leave the welcoming hotel, and the driver will take you to Bukhara (distance is 475 km).

Before the trip, if you wish, you can stop by the market and buy some fruits, journey cakes, cheese, and mineral water.

Your way to Bukhara goes through Kyzylkum desert. During your trip you can stop by a roadside chaikhana to have some fresh fried Amu Darya river fish (we highly recommend to try carp – delicious!). Do not forget to follow the simple safety measures: do not drink water after fruits, take only tea; salads are not advisable, either.

Spring in Kyzyl Kum is the time when herbs are in bloom, most of them are considered medicinal. It is the time when strong saksaul roots grab the ground, when little ferulle trees are everywhere, when you can see little holes of desert inhabitants under rose bushes of tamarisk. Rarely, you will see parts of ordinary desert with high barkhans and hot leg-burning sand. Suddenly, here and there, a tape of the largest in the republic waterway– Amu Darya – shows up. But then desert and steppe is replaced with vegetation and kishlaks. Far away you will see the silhouettes of Bukhara madrassah and prayer towers which used to be lighthouses for caravans.

In Bukhara, you will accommodate in one of the hotels located in the historical center of the old Bukhara.
Dinner at "Saroy" restaurant – a cozy place in the center of the city.

You will be welcomed by airy lacy carving on clay on the walls, Uzbek ottomans with cushions, hand-made carpets, decorated tea bowls filled with sweet-smelling green tea as a symbol of eastern hospitality.

After dinner you will go to hotel for overnight.

4 Day
Bukhara

Breakfast. Tour around the old Bukhara.

Bukhara has saved the medieval architecture, and every building, every house on its curved narrow streets radiates the charm of the past. This place blurs the boundaries among eras, this place makes you lose the sense of time…

You will visit such architectural monuments as:

  • Ismail Samanid Mausoleum (end of 9th – beginning of 10th cc.) The oldest monument in Bukhara, made of burnt bricks decorated with skillful carving., miraculously survived through Genghis Khan invasion.
  • Chashma-Ayub mausoleum (12 – 16th cc.) There is a legend about the sacred spring inside the mausoleum which says that Iov (Ayub), the biblical prophet, in a dry year made a way to the water with the help of his stick and, thus, saved Bukhara from death.
  • Visit at bazaar – optional. Here you will find yourself in an abundance of the cheapest in the city fruits, dried fruits, nuts, spices and sweets.
  • Bolo-Hauz complex (18 – 20th cc.). Unusually beautiful jami for the nobles living in the Ark fortress.

Lunch at a Uzbek chaikhana. Here you can have a festive plov prepared on a broadtail fat with quail eggs and horse beef. The chaikhana is open from 12:00 pm till 2:00 pm, Sunday is off.

Tour around Bukhara (continuation):

  • The Ark fortress (1st c. BC – 19th c.) For years, the fortress served as a residence of Bukhara emirs where an emir's whole family lived permanently, and where bureaucracy was located, as well as a "zindan" (a dungeon), a harem and a treasury.
  • Kalon mosque (16th c.). A cathedral jami of Bukhara.
  • Kalan minaret (1127). One of the three buildings in Bukhara which survived through Genghis Khan. In the ancient times the minaret served as a lighthouse for caravans going to Bukhara along the Great Silk Way.
  • Mir-i-Arab madrassah (16th c., functioning today). Closed madrassah for boys, a religious educational establishment, famous in the whole Muslim world for its high quality of teaching.
  • Abdullazizkhan madrassah (17th c.). One of the most beautiful monuments in Bukhara, the portal of which is decorated with painted stalactites.
  • Ulugbek madrassah (15th c.).Built at the order of Tamerlane's favorite grandson - Ulugbek the leader, who got famous for his erudition and progressive views.
  • Tim Abdulla-khan trading dome (16th c.). Just like many years ago, Tim is a place where expensive silk is sold and "khon atlas" (khan atlas) is woven.
  • A walk under trading domes (16th c.). Toki Sarrafon (the dome of money-changers), Toki Telhpakh Furushon (the dome of headwear sellers), Toki Zargaron (the dome of jewelers), under which a number of souvenir workshops are located, just like many years ago.
  • Caravan-serai of Bukhara.
  • Magok-i-Attari mosque (12 – 16th cc.). The oldest Bukhara mosque, the facade of which is decorated with skillful terracotta carving. Under the mosque foundation fragments of an elder fire-worshippers temple have been found.
  • Handicraft center of Bukhara in Sayfiddin caravan-serai. In small cells of the caravan-serai various craftsmen work according to the old technologies of their ancestors: woodcarvers, metal chiselers, miniature painters, rug and silk weavers.
  • Lyab-i Hauz Ensemble. Near the ensemble you will see the monument to Khodja Nasreddin and hear a funny story how he saved unlucky moneylender. You will also see a favorite resting place of Bukhara citizens and guests – the central square of the old town, near the old hauz (pond), on the bank of which there are popular chaikhanas and three architectural buildings: khanana (dervish lodge) (17th c.), Nodir Divan Beghi madrassah (17th c.), and Kukelhdash madrassah (16th c.).

Dinner at "Lyab-i Hauz" chaikhana on the bank of the old pond surrounded by ancient trees.

Folklore concert in the ancient Nodir Divan Beghi madrassah. Concerts are held from mid-April till mid-September. An ancient 17th-century building, where the concert is held, is considered one of the most beautiful and richly decorated madrassah in Bukhara. During the concert you will see the performance of the National Philharmonic team performing national Uzbek dances and songs, as well as the fashion show of handmade fabrics with national elements – the figment of imagination of Bukhara designers.

Overnight.

5 Day
Bukhara

Breakfast.

Sightseeing tour around Bukhara:

  • Chor-Minor madrassah (19th c.). Tiny medrese with unusual architecture decorated with four minarets.
  • Bakhauddin Naqshbandi Complex (16th c.). Situated 10 km away from Bukhara, a big beautiful complex is the place where sheik Bakhauddin, a spiritual patron of Bukhara, is buried. In this area his name was one of the most revered, after the name of Prophet Muhammad. He established the world-wide known dervish order of Naqshbandi.
  • Sitora-i Mokhi-khosa (19 – 20th cc.). Located 4 km away from Bukhara. Once this palace life was in full swing and sealed people's fates. The palace witnessed the triumph and the last days of Bukhara emirs.

Lunch at "Chor-Bakr" chaikhana. Here, in a mud stove – tandoor - a delicious lamb meat is preparing. So tender is it, that it literally melts in your mouth. Continuation of excursion:

Continuation of excursion:

  • Chor-Bakr necropolis (10 – 16th cc.). Located 4 km away from Bukhara. Nothing shatters the calm of the inhabitants of the ancient city. Only now and then are heard the screams of peacocks, charming guards of this "city of shadows".
  • House of Fayzullah Khodjaev, a rich Bukhara merchant (19th c.). In this house you will get to know the interior design of traditional Bukhara houses, the life and customs of Bukhara citizens. You will also see ancient Bukhara clothes of the 19th century.
  • If you wish, you can take a Central Asian hamam of the 16th c.The hamam (a bath-house) consists of a narrow corridor leading to five halls. The temperature in the first hall is about 15 – 20 °C, then goes the central hall in the center of which there is a rectangular rising ground for massage, the temperature in this area is 25 – 30 °C. From the central hall the other three halls go. One of them is cold and the other two are hot halls, with the temperature in them up to 60 °C. The hamam is of common use, people bathe together. There are five massage therapists (young men). You can order a massage with oils, as well as such ingredients as snake oil, almond oil, ginger, eggs (whites of the egg), melted equine fat. Note: we recommend to take a bathing suit or swimming trunks (for men), and one-use slippers with you.
  • Dinner at "Ismail", the Uzbek restaurant. In the restaurant garden, under a vineyard fence roof, you are offered to try several kinds of "shashlyk" (BBQ meat) and kebab, juicy lamb meat, and other seasoned dishes.
  • Instead of having dinner at the restaurant, if you wish, you can visit a demonstration of preparing pilaf in Said Kamol madrassah. We would like you to take part in the process of making the Bukhara pilaf. Amazing aura of the ancient building of Said Kamol madrassah which will take you back to the 20th century, cloudless star-spangled night sky – this is the atmosphere that will definitely make you want to see how the most popular Uzbek meal is prepared. The demonstration of preparing pilaf is organized at an individual order. Due to this, we kindly ask you to confirm your participation one day beforehand.

Overnight.

6 Day
Bukhara - Shahrisabz – Samarkand

Breakfast.

Transfer to Shakhrisabz (298 km). Shakhrisabz – is a birthplace of Tamerlane – an outstanding military leader who founded the great Timurid empire.

Sightseeing tour in Shakhrisabz:

  • Ak-Saray Palace (1380—1404 yy.). Once a magnificent palace built by Tamerlane, the portal of which was decorated with the inscription: "If you doubt our power – look at our buildings!"
  • Dorus-Saodat ensemble ("Home of power") (XIV c.). The ensemble includes the mausoleum of Jakhongir (14th century) where the remains of the two Tamerlane's sons are kept, as well as the tomb of Tamerlane himself, in which he wasn't buried.
  • Khazrati Imam ensemble (XIV c.). "The Great Imam" – Imam Muhammad Ben Hussein Sheybani nicknamed Khazrat (the Saint) the relics of whom, at the order of Tamerlane, were taken from Iraq to Shakhrisabz and were buried here.
  • Dor-ut-Tilovat architectural complex ("The House of Peace") (XIV—XVII cc.). The complex includes the Kok-Gumbaz mosque ("The Blue Dome") (1345 y.) – the main mosque of the city built at the order of Ulugbek; the Gumbazi Seyidon mausoleum ("The Seyid Dome") (XV-XVII cc.) – the mausoleum for Termez Seyids – the descendants of Mohammad the Prophet; the Dorut Tillavat madrassah; the mausoleum and necropolis of Sufi sheik Shamsiddin Kulal (XV c.), who was a guru of Tamerlane and sheik Bakhauddin Nakshbandi, a founder of "Nakshbandi" sufi order.

Lunch at the national house. For lunch they serve ethnic cuisine: plov (rice with meat and vegetables), manty (steamed chopped meat wrapped into thin dough), lagman (noodle soup with beef and vegetables), dymlama (beef with vegetables and spices), moshkichiri (porridge consisting of mung beans, rice, beef and vegetables), mastova (Uzbek soup with meat, turnip and carrots). Vegetarian and European dishes are served here as well. The orders are taken in advance by a tour coordinator.

A 100-km transfer to Samarkand through the Takhtakaracha mountain pass. Only passenger cars can pass through Takhtakaracha which opens picturesque views on nearby mountains and surroundings. In case of transferring bypass road (for example by bus), you will have the possibility to make a stop at the house of Sharif-bobo, the craftsman, where you will get acquainted to the Karshin tradition of wool rug weaving. All the members of his family are engaged in this craft – both young and old.

Arriving in Samarkand. Samarkand is one of the most majestic cities of Uzbekistan, a favorite capital of the great Tamerlane.

Accommodation in the hotel in Samarkand. Dinner in the national restaurant or chaykana.

Overnight.

7 Day
Samarkand

Breakfast.
Sightseeing tour in Samarkand.

  • Gur-Emir mausoleum (XIV-XV cc.). One of the best architectural monuments of the Middle East, a family vault of the men from Timurid’s dynasty. Elegance, clarity of proportions, interior beauty rank the mausoleum together with the masterpieces of the world architecture.
  • Registan square (XV-XVII cc.). In the times of Timur and Ulugbek, the main market square started to build up. Of all the 15th-century buildings, the madrassah  named after Ulugbek remained. It is 200 years older than the other two madrassah – Sher-Dhor and Thilla-Kari (17th c.), but thanks to the high skills of architects, they match each other and present a great harmonic architectural ensemble.

Lunch at a chaikhana. Samarkand plov is on the menu.

Continuation of sightseeing in Samarkand:

  • Bibi-Khanym mosque (XV c.)

Built at the order of Timur in 1404, the mosque became the main jami in Samarkand and the largest jami in the East. The mosque had already been ruined by the 18th c. In 2004 the majestic building was reconstructed.

Visit at the Siab bazar (closed on Mondays) – optional.

  • Shakh-i-Zind ensemble  (XII-XV cc.). The formation of the ensemble dates back to the middle of the 11th c., the construction of the complex was finished in the beginning of the 19th c. 25 buildings in the ensemble – mausoleums, mosques, medreses – give an idea not only about the evolution of architectural forms, but also about the evolution of facing ceramic. That is why many researchers call the ensemble a “creative laboratory”. And one of the contemporaries wrote: “… and the heavens opened eyes of admiration on the face of the era: they have never seen buildings so lavishly and beautifully decorated”.
  • Ulugbek museum and observatory (XV c.). In 1420s Mirzo Ulugbek, governor of Samarkand and Timur,’s grandson, built the largest observatory in the East. Astronomical researches were held there, and the results were summarized in “Zidj Guragani” catalogue. Only the substructure of the main astronomical instrument of the observatory has survived through years – it is the sextant and the remains of the foundations of the building. The Ulugbek museum exposition features the stages of the Timurids culture development.

Visiting the Khunarmand crafts center - optional.

In the center you can see how the famous Samarkand paper is created under the technology reproduced according to the ancient written sources. Here as well you can find the musical craft shop and the ceramic craft shop.

Degustation of best Uzbek wines at the plant n.a. M.A. Khovrenko – optional.

Dinner at “Samarkand” restaurant.

Nice design, delicious dishes, and good service will leave a good impression on you.

Overnight.
8 Day
Samarkand - Tahskent

After breakfast not later than 10:00 a.m. you will leave the hospitable hotel.
You will be fetched by a driver, to accomplish with you a finishing trip from Samarkand to Tashkent (distance is 310 km).

Lunch at Tashkent.
At 04:00 pm you will arrive to the airport of Tashkent city.
At 07:00 pm you will leave the hospitable Uzbekistan by flight _________.
Arrival to the airport of Domodedovo.

Khiva
Khiva
Shakhrisabz. Gumbezi Seidan Mausoleum
Shakhrisabz.
Gumbazi Seidon Mausoleum
Bukhara city panoramme
Bukhara city panoramme
Khiva. Minaret Islam Khodja
Khiva
Minaret Islam Khodja
Samarkand. Gur-Emir Mausoleum
Samarkand
Gur-Emir Mausoleum
Samarkand. Reghistan Square
Samarkand
Reghistan Square