18 day Grand Uzbekistan tour on the route of Silk Road. You will see all the pearls of Uzbekistan, including Muynak, Aral Sea, Termez, Nurata and famous handicrafts workshops in Fergana Valley- Rishtan & Margilan.
Flight to Tashkent, the biggest city in Central Asia with 2.5 million population.
Arrival in Tashkent International Airport named by Islam Karimov, first President of Uzbekistan.
Migration formalities usually take 20 min to 60 min: visa/passport control and baggage claim.
Come out of the terminal and meet the staff holding a sign “ANUR TOUR” or with your name on it. Transfer to the hotel. As Tashkent airport not far from the city center, transfer will not take long time (20 – 40 minutes depend on from the hotel). Arrival in hotel. Check in. Resting time in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
In 1960-s the construction of melioration canals for cotton irrigation from the Amur Darya River began, The Aral Sea began to shallow. The Aral Sea is the former closed Salt Lake in Central Asia, bordering on Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The area of the Aral Sea is rapidly decreasing, Towns and villages that once stood on the shore are now far away from it. The same is with Muynak, once located on the shore of the Aral Sea, now it is separated from the sea by 200 kilometers.
Arrival in the yurt camp, located the nearby Aral Sea.
- Drive to Muynak via beautiful Red Canions with beautiful and unusual Martian landscape. Arrival in Muynak city that used to be one of the richest city in the delta of Amu-darya,” the gates to Uzbekistan from the sea”. Nowadays there is only cemetery of Dead Sea.
- Visit to Savitsky Museum exhibiting a unique collection of antiques of Khorezm and Karakalpak, Uzbek fine arts and second largest collection of Russion avant- garde works after Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.
The founder of the museum, Igor Savitsky devoted his life to piece-by-piece collecting of the finest works of modern artists of Uzbekistan and Russian avant-gardists. In 70 s it was quite risky to become anti-Soviet propagandist. During perestroika and first years since Uzbekistan independence, the museum earned the world recognition and deserved rightfully the must-see sight status in Central Asia.
Transfer to Khiva. The road will take ~ 4 hours (202 km) en- route photo stops at the ruins of fortresses of ancient Khorezm.
- Ayaz-kala and Toprak-kala, the fortresses of Kushan period of Ancient Khorezm that used to be mighty border forts protecting the residents from raids of nomadic tribes. The forts were built in ~4-7th century BCE, during the ages when Khorezm achieved its independence. The fortresses are located on the hills quite close to each other and visitors are welcome to have a short overview tour in the monumental forts that currently are drowning in sands.
Departure to Bukhara(455 km ~ 6.30 hours) by train or by car through the Kyzylkym desert. (depends on the weather condition. Trains schedule is 08:57 - 14:50, Tue, Fri, Sun)
Kyzylkum desert - Kyzylkum (from Turkic means «red sand») – is a sandy desert between the rivers Amudarya and Syrdarya in Central Asia. Its area is 300 thousand sq. km. On the north-west the desert is limited by hollow of Aral Sea, on the north-east by Syrdarya and on the south-west is limited by Amudarya. In ancient time, Great Silk Road passed through the Kyzylkum desert. Thanks to it, such famous cities as Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva prospered. People of different professions worked here: sellers, interpreters, guarder of caravans, tax collectors. It is very strange but there was hectic life in the desert.
Arrival in Bukhara. Transfer to the hotel, check-in.
09:00 Meet your guide in the hotel's lobby. Head over to the old part of Bukhara and start your walking excursion:
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 of every visitor;
- 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.
- Gijduvan workshop of famous Uzbek pottery master Abdulla Narzullayev in Gijduvan city. There you can learn how ceramics is made and participate in master-class of painting ceramic plates.
- Rabat-I Malik and sardoba.
Driving to Nurata.
Aydarkulis a unique place called “The blue pearl”, a beautiful lake in the Kizil Kum desert which is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, abundance of fish and relaxing atmosphere. The camp offers to take a camel/horse ride, a trekking tour over the surroundings or fishing (by request).
Dinner near the campfire with accompaniment of akyn’s songs, where you can listen to national Kazakh songs with the string instrument dombra.
09:00 Meet with your guide & driver at the hotel's lobby and start excursion in Samarkand:
– Gur Emir Mausoleum – a burial vault of Timur the Great and his descendants decorated with gold ornaments and considered as one of the most significant places in the world;
– Continue to the famous Registan Square – the heart of Samarkand and a 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 which was one of the most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world in 15th Century;
– Shahi Zinda Necropolis – unique complex of Mausoleums formed by standing on both sides of the cenotaph (an imaginary grave) belonging to the Muslim person named Saint Abbas ibn-Kussam;
– Ulugbek’s Observatory – the finest astronomical centers in the medieval world was built by order of Ulugbek, an outstanding scholar and astronomer;
Excursion tour in Shakhrisabz includes visiting (2.5 hrs)
- Ak Saray Palace (“White Palace”), the ruins of the summer palace of Tamerlane. The palace was constructed and decorated by deported from conquered Khorezm skillful builders, masters and artisans. Some parts of the gate tower survived to the present day;
- Mausoleum of Dorus-Saodat ("The Place of Power", XIV century) contains the tomb of Eldest and favourite Tamerlane’s son Jahongir;
09:00 Meet a guide in the hotel’s lobby and start sightseeing program.
Termez, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, is located in the Surkhan Oasis, where ancient Buddihst monastery complexes coexisted along with monumental Islamic architectural masterpieces of the region. Tour around the city includes visiting:
- Kokildor-Ota Khanaka, Sultan Saodat Ensemble, a summer residence of Samani governours.
- Fortress Kyrk-Kyz; - the unique "Kirk Kiz" building ("forty girls”) which has attracted the attention of researchers for a long time, has been variously considered as a palace, an abbey, a caravansarai, Hanaqoh, or just simply a civil construction.
- Zurmala – Buddha’s stupa, Buddha complex Fayaz – Tepa – one of the museums in the open air under the protection of UNESCOl
- Mausoleum of Al – Hakim at – Termezi, the founder of the dervish order, an outstanding theologian who wrote numerous religious works and a leader of Islamic mysticism.
Continue excursion in Temrez and its suburbs visiting
- Kampyr – Tepe – Greco – Bactrian Kingdom fortress;
- Jarkurgan Minaret - The decoration of the minaret is not mosaic of colored tiles but masonry on ganch solution. The design is notable for that the tower consists of 16 half-columns in the shape of a flower or a star.
Drive back to Termez, of picturesque views of Surkhan oasis and Friendship Bridge, which connects Uzbekistan and Afghanistan;
Transfer to Rishton (50 km west of Fergana) famous all over the world for its pottery that is decorated according to ancient tradition that is more than 800 years. Masters hand down their trade secrets from father to son. The unique red clay ceramic masterpieces are decorated with naturally made ultramarine, turquoise and azure ornaments known as blue glaze "ishkor".
A visit to the workshops of the famous potter Rustam Umarov.
Start sightseeing tour of Tashkent (5 hrs) visiting old and new parts of the city:
- Amir Timur Square - is the radial-circular park, crossed by eight lanes the center of which is Amir Timur monument. In 2009 the square was reconstructed, there were planted new trees instead of old ones, as well as was built a new administrative building.
- 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;