Duration: 9 days/8 nights
Day 1: Tashkent
Arrival in Tashkent by international flight in the morning. Transfer to hotel, breakfast. City tour of the capital of Uzbekistan. Visit Hast Imam Complex with Barakhan Madrasah, Tilla Sheih mosque and the mausoleum of Kafal Shashi (XVI c). Walk through a huge Chorsu bazar of the old town. Lunch. Excursion in the central part of the city. Independence Square, Amir Timur square, beautiful metro of Tashkent. After the excursion – meeting with local students and young people and at the National Library of Uzbekistan. Overnight at hotel of Tashkent.
Day 2: Tashkent – Khiva
After breakfast transfer to airport for flight to Urgench at 7:25 Arrival in Urgench at 08:55 and transfer to Khiva (35km). Accomodation at hotel after 12:00. Full day excursion.
Ichan-Qala is the historical center of Khiva which has been inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List. City tour around the architectural complex “Ichan-Qala”: Kunya-Ark Khan’s castle – the inner citadel of Ichan-Qala (16-17th cc.), Kalta Minor Tower (Short minaret) that would have become the biggest and tallest minaret in Central Asia (19th c.), Muhammad Amin-Khan – the biggest medieval madrasah in Khiva (1845-1855 yy.), Djuma mosque with 220 wooden columns and a minaret 32 meters high. Lunch at a local restaurant. Tash Hauli (Stone courtyard) palace looking like a fortress with a high battlements, towers and fortified gates (19th c.), Ak mosque (White Mosque) – a small quarter mosque by the gates of Palvan-Darvaza (1838-1842), necropolis of Pahlavan Mahmud – the cultic center of Ichan-Qala (1810-1913 yy.), residence of Islam Khodja (1910 y.) – the vizier of the last khan. Ensemble consists of the smallest madrasah in Khiva and a minaret which top platform has a height of 45 m and is the highest observation point in town. During free time you can walk on the old city walls. Dinner.
After a little rest in the hotel, be sure to take a walk in Khiva in the evening! Khiva at night is the eighth miracle of the world! Walking along the streets of this town, where minarets rise, and the sky is filled with large, bright stars you will find yourself in a fairy tale! And words cannot discribe extraordinary calmness and peace in the air! Overnight at hotel of Khiva.
Day 3: Khiva – Ayaz-Kala – Bukhara
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive towards Karakalpakstan crossing the Amudarya River, to visit ancient clay fortresses located on desert hills: Ayaz-Kala (3rd century BC) and Toprak Kala (1st century BC).
Ayaz-Kala means “Fortress in the wind.” According to historians this name was given because of the location of the fortress among the moving sands of the Kyzylkum desert. The age of construction is IV century BC. Many legends are associated with the ancient fortress. According to one of them one day an old ruler died and people were left without their king. Then priests let a royal falcon fly and waited on whose hand it would sit. And that person chosen by a falcon was supposed to be the new ruler. The falcon flew around and sat on a head of an ordinary soldier. Thus the new ruler was chosen. And it was he who ordered to build the fortress. After exploring the fortress continue to Bukhara. Arrival, accommodation. Overnight at hotel of Bukhara.
Day 4: Bukhara
After breakfast explore Bukhara with your guide.
Visit the central part of the city: complex of Poikalon (XII—XVI c), architectural ensemble of “Masjidi Kalon”, “Miri Arab” madrasah and minaret (46 m). Ulugbek Madrasah (1417) was the earliest of three commissioned by the enlightened Timurid ruler. Abdulaziz Khan Madrasah (1652). Trading Domes including Toki Zargaron, Toki Telpak Furushon and Toki Saraffon. Tim of Abdullakhan (1577) and one of the most elegant trade halls. Faizulla Khodjaev House (XIX c) — a 150-year old house of the Bukhara merchant. Magoki Attori mosque, Labi-Hauz (XVI—XVII c) — a complex with Nodir Devon Begi madrasah. Lunch at a local restaurant. Ark Fortress (VI — XIX c) — in the Middle Ages it was a whole town with the Emir’s family house with wives, mosques, mint place, government institutes, store rooms, a prison and a square for public executions, Bolo Haus Ensemble, Samanid mausoleum (IXc)- the first brick building shaped as a cube covered with dome with unrepeatable geometrical brickwork design, Chashma Ayub Mausoleum. Overnight at hotel of Bukhara.
Day 5: Bukhara – Aydarkul Lake
Breakfast at the hotel. Excursion in the vicinity of Bukhara: visit the summer residence of Emir of Bukhara – Sitorai Mohi Hosa (19 in). After that transfer to Lake Aydarkul through picturesque desert and mountains. Arrival at a yurt camp 8 km from the lake, accommodation. After a short rest – safari on camels to Aydarkul lake. Enjoy wonderful views of the lake and the abundance of fish. Get acquainted with the local flora and fauna, collect medicinal herbs and flowers. After dinner you can sit at the fire and listen to the singing of the local Kazakh Akin singer under millions o of stars – what can be more beautiful!? Overnight at the yurt camp.
Day 6: Aydarkul – Sentob
Breakfast at the yurt camp. Transfer to the mountain village Sentob. Upon arrival – hiking in the mountains. Walk through the village and its surroundings accompanied by a local guide. Overnight at the guest house.
Day 7: Sentob – Fazilman Lake – Samarkand
Early departure from the village to hike to Gaukum Pass ( 1516 m). During the walk you will be able to enjoy the view of Sentob village, the canyons of the Sentob river, the views of the Nuratau Mountains and Lake Aidarkul. After half-hour trip, arrival at a small mountain lake Fazilman (1640 m). After a break and lunch you will continue to Kichik Fazilman mountain (1833m). The return journey to the village of Sentob by another route will take 2.5 hours. You will walk down a steep path from the lake to the upper bank of the left tributary of the Sentob River and walk down an abandoned mountain passage to the village of Sentob. Transfer to Samarkand. Arrival, hotel accommodation. Overnight at hotel of Samarkand.
Day 8: Samarkand – Tashkent
Breakfast at the hotel. Quest excursion of Samarkand “Secrets of Registan.” Today you will visit the main attractions of Samarkand and explore the city in unusual way solving riddles and intellectual challenges.
Visit Ulugbek Observatory (XV c), the Museum of Archaeology of Afrosiob, the Necropolis of Shahi Zinda (XIV-X cc) – “City of the Dead” complex of 20 elegant mausoleums covered with blue glittering tiles. Lunch in a national house (included in the price).
After lunch visit Registan Square (15-17 c), which was the main city square during Tamerlan ‘s reign. It is surrounded by three majestic buildings: Ulugbek madrasah, Sher Dor and Tilla Kari madrasahs. Bibi Hanum mosque (XIVc) was built on Timur ‘s orders to become the grandest building of the time. Visit a famous Samarkand Siob bazar. Here you can find all kinds of spices and fruits and famous Samarkand bread. The mausoleum of Guri Emir with a majestic blue dome (XVc) is a burial place of Amir Timur, his sons and grandchildren. To finish, we stop at a legendary Saint Daniel’s grave. It is a remarkable place with unforgettable atmosphere. At 17.00 transfer to railway station. Departure from Samarkand by high-speed train at 18:00. Arrival in Tashkent at 20:10. Transfer to hotel. Night at the hotel of Tashkent.
Day 9: Tashkent – international flight home
Breakfast at the hotel. Free time in Tashkent. Transfer to the airport for international flight home.
End of the programme.