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Tour Uzbekistan – Central Asia and The Silk Road

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

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Preliminary Tour Itinerary

Itinerary: Tashkent, Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara, Nurata Yurt Camp, Samarkand, Tashkent
Duration: 11 days

Day 1: Tour Tashkent 
Arrival in Tashkent. Transfer from the airport to the hotel. Sightseeing program in Tashkent. You will visit the center of Tashkent, Amir Temur Square, Independence Square, The Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts, Old City of Tashkent with Khast-Imom Complex and Chor-Su bazaar.

Tashkent, the ancient city and capital of the Republic of Uzbekistan, is one of the major hubs of the Great Silk Road from China to Europe. Modern Tashkent is mentioned as a city in the ancient east sources of the 2nd Century BC. The name Tashkent most likely descends from the Turkic “Stone Fortress” in 9-12 centuries. Tashkent is home to many museums of Uzbek and pre-Uzbek culture including the State Art Museum, which houses a collection of paintings, ceramics and the Bukharian royal robes. The Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts exhibits gorgeous embroidered wall hangings and unique antique jewelry. Nowadays Tashkent is a major commercial and transportation center known as the “Star of the Orient”.

Day 2: Guided tour of Khiva (Xiva)

Khiva, Uzbekistan

Morning flight to Urgench. Arrive in Urgench and transfer to the hotel in Khiva. Guided tour in Khiva that includes a visit to a UNESCO World Heritage site Ichan-Qala Fortress. In Ichan-Qala Fortress you will see Kunya-Arc, Sayeed Alauddin Mausoleum, Medrese Arab-Mukhamadkhan, Mosque Oq-Masjid, medrese Hodjan Berdi-biya, Shirgazikhan, Abdullakhan, Juma Mosque, Medrese Allakulikhan, Toshkhovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum, Minaret of Islom-Khodja. Free time in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.

About Khiva: Khiva, one of the most noteworthy cities of Central Asia, is situated on the left bank of the Amu-Darya in the southern part of the modern region of Khorezm. Billed as an "open air museum" Khiva is more than 2500 years old with a population about 40,000 people. Situated in the Kyzylkum desert, 450 km. from Bukhara, Khiva is made up of madrassahs, mosques and minarets such as the tall and beautiful Islam-Khoja Minaret. Having the most number of minarets in Asia, the most remarkable one is the Kalta-Minor Minaret (1835), which  still stands. As just steped out of a fairy-tale, Khiva has managed to retain its exotic image of an Oriental town in the older part of the city called Ichon-Qala. The Kunya-Ark citadel and the Tosh-Khovli Palace, residence of the Khan, are located here.. Ichon-Qala displays simplicity and monumentality of medieval architectural forms, the delicateness of woodcarvings, and skilled interweaving of ornamentation.

Day 3: Explore the Amudarya River and a tour of Bukhara 
In the morning depart Khiva and drive to Bukhara (500 km, 7 hours). On the way, we will stop to explore the Amudarya River. Bringing water from the Pamir snow caps to the arid plains of Central Asia, the Amudarya  remains in the center of  sustainable water management problems in the region. During Soviet regime, the River was almost completely drained by irrigation leading to the major ecological and development crisis of the Aral Sea region. During the visit to the river, we will discuss current water management and biodiversity conservation in the region.

Arrive in Bukhara in the afternoon. Check in to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel. 

Day 4: Tour Bukhara 
Guided sightseeing tour of Bukhara. We will visit the Samanid Mausoleum, Arc Fortress, Chashma-Ayub, Kalon ensemble, Medrese Miri-Arab, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Medrese Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan, trade domes, Lyabi Hauz complex, Medrese Chor-Minor. Overnight at the hotel. 

About Bukhara: With more than 140 architectural monuments, Bukhara is a "town museum" dating back to the Middle Ages. Ensembles such as the Poi-Kalon, Kos Madras, Ismail Samani Mausoleum and the Kalian Minaret are attracting a lot of attention. The proximity of different epochs historical and architectural monuments imbedded in the city narrow streets, green parks and gardens creates inimitable charm of the Silk Road city.  

Day 5: Guided tour of Bukhara
Continue sightseeing in Bukhara. You will visit the summer palace of Bukhara emirs Sitorai-Mokhikhosa. Learn an Uzbek traditional craft at Gijduvan pottery masters workshop. In the afternoon wander through Bukhara’s streets, visit shops, relax under a tree or in the air-conditioned hotel.

Day 6: Drive through Kyzylkum Desert to Nurata and Stay at a Yurt camp

Our yurt, Nurata, Uzbekistan
In the morning depart Bukhara and drive to the yurt camp located in Kyzylkum desert near the village of Yangigazgan (Navoi region). On the way, we stop in Nurata to visit a local mosque with a holy spring water. Continue driving to the Yurt camp in Kyzylkum desert. Arrive to Yurt camp, accommodations in Yurts. Camel riding and free time. In the enjoy a campfire-side dinner with Kazakh akin singing folk songs.

About the Kyzylkum desert: The Kyzylkum (Qyzylqum) “red sand” is one of the largest deserts in the world. A part of the UNESCO Program “Man and biosphere” Nuratau-Kyzylkum area is modeled to preserve Uzbekistan’s biodiversity and encourage sustainable community development and alternative income sources in a protected biosphere reserve. The ongoing pilot project supported by the Government of Uzbekistan in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) aims to preserve the biodiversity, the landscape as well as the cultural particularities of the Nuratau mountain ridge and the adjoining Kyzylkum Desert.

Day 7: Explore Aidarkul Lake and drive to Samarkand
In the morning, a visit to the unique Aidarkul Lake located in desert. Free time on the lake. In the afternoon depart the yurt camp and drive to Samarkand. Arrival to Samarkand, check in to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8: Tour Samarkand 
Guided sightseeing tour in Samarkand. Visit Registan Square, ruins of Bibi-Khanum Mosque, Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis, Gur-Emir Mausoleum, Ulugbek Observatory, Afrosiyob Museum, and the central bazaar in Samarkand.

About Samarkand: About as old as Babylon or Rome, Samarkand is situated in the Zarafshan River valley. The 2,500 years history of Samarkand witnessed masses of upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane's. Hence, the culture of Samarkand was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures.  The Samarkand’s historical center - Registan Square – is one of the most astonishing magnificent places in the world. The word Registan means “sand place”. A river ran in this place many years before building the first Madrassah on the square. Years passed, the river dried out and left lots of sand there, hence,  rhe word Registan means “sand place. As the Madrassah was first built, all the holidays, parades, festivals and Sunday bazaars took place here. Majestic and beautiful Samarkand has a marvelous and attractive power. Poets and historians of the past called it "Rome of the East”, “The beauty of sublunary countries”, “the pearl of the Eastern Moslem World". Its advantageous geographical position in Zarafshan Valley, Samarkand is rated first among cities of the Central Asia.

Day 9: Explore Amankutan Gorge Natural Preserve
A day trip to a natural preserve in the Amankutan. Explore the diversity of species and ecosystem. Enjoy fresh mountain air and pristine nature.

About Amankutan Gorge: Just 50 km from Samarkand, Amankutan Gorge has one of the most picturesque views in Central Asia. Rich in delightful wooded mountains and cascading waterfalls, the Gorge is a home to a great diversity of flowering plants, animals and birds. Tulipa fosteriana Hoog ex B.Fedtsch. a direct ancestor of a huge variety of the modern garden tulips can be still found here. The legendary blue bird, symbol of unfulfilled dreams (Blue Whistling-thrush Myophonus caeruleus Scopoli) inhabits the canyons. The shortest path from Bactria to Sogdiana Amankutan Gorge was used for west – east migration for thousands of years including marches of the armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and the Arabs. In 1947, the expedition lead by D.N. Lev discovered a Neanderthal man site in the Amankutan Gorge. In the afternoon, return to Samarkand. Overnight at the hotel.

Bazar in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Day 10: Tour Tashkent
In the morning depart Samarkand and drive to Tashkent. Arrival to Tashkent with free time to explore the city of Tashkent, shopping and sightseeing.

Day 11: Depart from Uzbekistan
End of the tour. Transfer to the airport, departure.

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