This trip combines classic excursions in Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Tashkent, and short trips to to Penjikent, Seven Lakes and Fann mountains in Tajikistan, hiking in Nurata mounts and Asraf village.
08:00 Departure for Samarkand by speed train Afrosiab or Sharq.
10:08 Arrival in Samarkand.
Come out of the terminal and meet the guide and driver.
Start sightseeing program in Samarkand (6 hours):
- Gur Emir Mausoleum – a burial vault of Timur the Great and his descendants is decorated with gold ornaments and is considered as one of the most significant sights of the world;
- Continue to the famous Registan Square – heart of Samarkand and real masterpiece of Central Asian medieval architecture, consists of three grandiose buildings: Ulughbek Madrassa, Madrassa Sherdor and Madrassa Tilla Kori;
- Bibi Khanim Mosque – the biggest medieval building in the city was one of the most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world in 15 Century;
- Shahi Zinda Necropolis – unique complex of Mausoleums formed by standing on both sides of cenotaph (imaginary grave) of muslim saint Abbas ibn- Kussam;
- Ulugbek’s Observatory – the finest astronomical centers in medieval world was built by order of Ulugbek, an outstanding scholar and astronomer;
08:00 Transfer to border post Jartepa. Border passing formalities (passport / visa control). Border crossing usually takes 30 min-1 hr.
Meet the guide and driver at Tajikistan part of the border.
Start sightseeing in Penjikent:
-The Sarazm Important Bird Area (UNESCO World Heritage) lies downstream of the city on the tugay-vegetated floodplain of the river.
- The archaeological site of the ruins of old Penjikent - a walled inter-city (2500-years ago) that was a Sogdian trading city on the Silk Road.
Transfer to Marguzor, the famous seven lakes - seven wonderful water mirrors full of mountain riverside drops. Each lake looks different whenever the sun changes its position. Colors may vary from deep blue to indie color ripple. Most of them are cold to swim even in summer. These lakes belong to Fann Mountains system.
On the western edge of the Fan Mountains in the valley of the river Shing there are seven lakes, six of them are dammed origin, besides the lake Hazorchashma. Lakes are called Marguzor, but each lake has its own name: today you’ll visit four lakes of out 7 lakes with easy hiking.
Nezhigon/Mijgon (1598 m above sea),
Soya (1701 m above sea),
Gushor/ Hushyor (1701 m above sea),
Nofin (1778 m above sea). Transfer to Nofin village (about 60 km from the 4th lake). On arrival leisure time to have some rest.
09:00 Transfer to Nurata town that was founded by Alexander the Great as known as fortified settlement Nur. The fortress played an important role in the region as one of the strategic points to visit :
- The ruins of the fort and kariz (the underground water pipeline from the spring) that was built to provide enough water supplies to the fort residents after Alexander the Great conquest. The ancient ruins and restored parts of now witness glory days of Nur.
- Chashma (translated as “spring”) complex consisting of Juma Mosque, over the holy spring became one of the significant pilgrimage site.
Continue to Asraf village. Arrive in the village by the lunchtime.
Warm welcome by local family and trying out their delicious lunch.
Short sightseeing excursion and walking in the surroundings.
Resting time in the evening. Dinner and overnight in guesthouse.
Morning easy hiking from Asraf to the Nurata mounts, that is a unique place famous for Uzbekistan largest collection of ancient stone inscriptions – petroglyphs, some of the earliest ones are dated 9000 BC, while the latest inscriptions of 15 Century were made by sufi darvishes in Arab. Nowadays, the stone gallery of petroglyphs are included in the National Park –reserve.
Take a hiking trip near Asraf to feel passed centuries rooted in ancient art, legends and beliefs.
12:00 Transfer to Bukhara, en-route visiting famous Gijduvan pottery workshop where visitors are welcome for a tour around the workshop and observe the process of ceramic making and painting.
The owners demonstrate the stages of making ceramics from turning the potter’s wheel to making paints from natural ingredients, decorating the ceramics in a distinctive style, drying and firing. Take a tour around the museum-hall of ceramic masterpieces with a unique collection of the ceramic items of Gijduvan and other regions of Uzbekistan.
Arrival in Bukhara in the evening, check in the hotel.
Resting time in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
09:00Meet the guide at the lobby. Start WALKING sightseeing program in Bukhara(5-6 hours):
- Ensemble Lyabi Hauz (Nadir Divanbegi Madrassa, Khanaka, Kukeldash Madrassa and the monument of Khodja Nasreddin);
- Magoki Attari Mosque is one of the oldest mosques survived in Bukhara from the time before the Mongolian invasion;
- Abdullakhan’s Tim with numerous handicraft shops of souvenirs, ceramics, national clothes and carpets;
- Caravanserai Sayfuddin (the Center of Handicraft Development of Bukhara);
- There are three trading domes or so-called covered bazaars Toki Sarrofon, Toki Telpak Furushon and Toki Zargaron preserved from the XVI century and these bazaars were the centers for trade of silk, jewelry and even for money exchange. Today as well, one can enjoy and purchase different souvenirs of a wide range, from small souvenir magnets to the famous Bukhara carpets;
- Visit Ulughbek and Abdulazizkhan Madrassas or so called Kosh (pare) madrassas opposite each other with distinctive style of facade ornamental decoration;
- Poi Kalon Square with Kalon Minaret and Mosque, Mir Arab Madrassa – the heart of Bukhara, a monumental complex impresses the imagination;
- Ark Fortress – the oldest citadel dating back to I century BC where one can feel the history of the great fortress covered in beautiful legends and myths.
- Ertogrul Gazy Mosque, Independence Park with Monument of Independence (it's a 118m column that consider the highest building in the country);
- Neutrality Arch - unique composition that rotates slowly after the sun;
- National Museum, where you can see more than 166 unique exposition from Ancient Merv and Nissa;
- A trip to ancient Nissa (18km from Ashgabad) that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the ruins of the ancient city ;
- Turkmenbashi Mosque-Mausoleum is considered as the biggest in Central Asia (10 thousands of people). There are beautiful garden and fountains.
- In the afternoon transfer to Darwaza crater and change from the asphalt road to the Karakum desert track, continue 10 km deep inside. In 1971 geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn the gas. Geologists hoped the fire would go out in a few days but it has been burning ever since. Locals have named the cavern The Gate - Darwaza. The views are impressive, especially in sunset and night when the mild sunlight and burning crater evoke incredible and ambiguous feelings.
Start sightseeing tour of Tashkent (5 hrs) visiting old and new parts of the city:
-Amir Timur Square, founded in 1882 and originally called Konstantinovsky Square, was renamed in August 1994 after of the Amir Temur to honor the cultural and historical contribution of the great conqueror.
- Tashkent chimes, one of major symbols of Tashkent, were brought from defeated Koenisberg in 1945 as a sign of the great victory and eternal glory of patriots who fought in World War II.
- Theatre Square with the Opera House: State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Uzbekistan named after Alisher Navoi builit in 1947 is one of the best opera theatre of the world performs both classical and national repertoires.
- Independence Square, the main square of Uzbekistan reflects the past, present and future of the country. There are fountains, the “Eternal flame" in honor of soldiers who died during the Second World War, arch ''Good and noble aspiration" crowned with birds of happiness and prosperity, road "Ok Yul" (“Good way”) leading to Independence Monument and a monument to Happy Mother that symbolize the hope for a great future.
- Earthquake Memorial, the composition is devoted to the tragic date of earthquake in Tashkent on April 26, 1966, and is erected in the approximate place of earthquake epicenter. Residents still come to the monument to honor those people who took a part in the reconstruction of Tashkent;
- Khast Imam Square – a religious center of the city consisting of the Barakkhan madrasah; Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum and the library of Islamic Literature with the Holy Koran Book of the VII century (original Quran Othman). Khast Imam is one of the most significant spiritual centers in Central Asia and attracts the pilgrims and visitors all over the world.
- Chorsu bazaar – the ancient bazaar of Tashkent. “Chorsu” means “four waters”, symbolically meaning the conjunction of four major parts of old city in bazaar where people come for trades.
- Tashkent Metro (the first line was launched in 1977) with beautiful train stations each decorated in thematic style with traditional ornaments and special lightning.
- Accommodation based on shared yurt in Darwaza camp (incl. sleeping mat, sleeping bag and pillow);
- Meals: breakfast at hotels ; camp-style breakfast and BBQ dinner in Darwaza camp,home-made dinner and breakfast in Nofin village, homemade dinner and breakfast in Asraf (fixed menu, alcohol excluding);
- All transfers as per program by comfortable tourist class/SUVtransportas per road conditions including transfers to-from airports/train stations and borders;
- English speaking professional licensed local guides in Uzbekistan (4 standard excursions); English-speaking local guides in Turkmenistan and Tajikistan;
- Single entry tickets to the sites, museums, mausoleums as per program;
- Transport for walking tours in Khiva and Bukhara; guide/transport service for free time after the standard city tours;
- Meals: lunches and dinners except those specified in the included section ;
- Personal/travel insurance; portage, tips, personal expenses and other services not specified under “Tour Price Includes”.
- Check-in 14.00, check-out time 11.00. No early check-in/ late check-out is included unless indicated;
- Please note that the drivers do not speak English or can speak only basic English;
- All the changes in the basic itinerary, the timing for transfers depending on the international flight departure/arrival time are to be discussed and pre-agreed;
- Please note that the train trip/s can be replaced for transfer/s by car depending on train tickets availability and trains schedule;
- Please note yurt camps, guesthouses, and homestays offer traditional meals; there are quite basic toilet and shower conditions. Single accommodation in the guesthouses, yurts and homestays is subjest of availability in high season;
- After the date of publication, any changes in the hotels, air/train ticket prices, tax increase, and exchange rate fluctuation may influence the tour prices;
- Anur Tour is not responsible for the force majeure occasions (weather conditions during the tour, repairing-reconstructing works at some parts of roads, government restrictions).