MAGICA TOUR UZBEKISTAN

Length

15 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURE/NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

  An extended itinerary in the most remote provinces of Uzbekistan to discover the oldest cities of Central Asia.

Explore the caravan cities on the Great Silk Road: Tashkent, the former commercial oasis today the eclectic capital of the Uzbek Republic; the legendary Samarkand, known as the “crossroads of cultures”, one of the oldest cities in the world; Bukhara, with its architecture that has hardly changed over time and for centuries an important religious centre; Khiva, one of the best-preserved ancient cities in all Central Asia.

Visit the remote Muynak on the ‘Aral Sea‘ and the fascinating abandoned fortresses in the Kyzylkum Desert. Spend the night in an authentic Uzbek yurt, the typical round nomadic dwelling decorated with local carpets.

Travel through time to Termez, one of the oldest cities in Asia, located in Bactria on the border with Afghanistan, in the Hellenistic kingdom at the eastern end of Alexander the Great’s Empire.

The itinerary can be customised to suit your travel needs and can also be combined with other routes.

Itineraries-Gran-tour-in-Uzbekistan © In Asia Travel

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY

Length : 15G 14N
From : URGENCH
To : TASHKENT
Destinations  : Tashkent, Termez, Shakrisabz, Samarkand, Nurata, Aydar Kul, Bukhara, Khiva, Nukus, Moinaq, Khorezm

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVAL IN TASHKENT - CITY TOUR

Khast Imam mosque  © Gabriele StoiaKhast Imam Mosque

Arrive in Tashkent and check-in at the hotel.

Visit the Khast Imam complex, the capital’s religious centre located in the oldest part of the city, and the Muyi Mubarak library which houses thousands of manuscripts including the 7th century Uthman Quran, one of the oldest copies of the sacred book in the world.

Afterwards, visit Amir Temur Square, in the modern part of the capital; in the centre stands the equestrian statue of the famous undefeated Turkish-Mongolian conqueror, known in the West as Tamerlane.

Not far away we find the remarkable Mustaqillik Maydonila, or Independence Square, a symbol of Uzbekistan’s exit from the Soviet Union on August 31, 1991, surrounded by monuments, fountains and impressive public buildings.

Later we visit the Museum of Applied Arts, where we admire numerous objects highlighting Uzbek skills, from embroidery to the manufacture of pottery and other sculptures and jewellery.

We end the day at the exotic and colourful Chorsu Bazaar market surrounded by the scent of spices, dried fruits and delicious Uzbek bread.

Included : Private pick up from them airport, tour guide, tickets, private transportation and hotel

02. TASHKENT-TERMEZ

Archeological Museum Termiz © Zenwort - CC BY-SAArchaeological Museum – Zenwort – CC BY-SA

Transfer by domestic flight to Termez, one of the oldest cities in Asia, located in Bactria on the border with Afghanistan, in the Hellenistic kingdom at the eastern end of Alexander the Great Empire.

Visit the Archaeological Museum whose artistic heritage is unique throughout Central Asia. It houses 27,000 exhibits including everyday utensils, weapons, coins, paintings, ancient sculptures, correspondence between rulers, 16,000 books and medieval documents.

We continue to the 11th-15th century Hakimi Termizi architectural complex, named after the renowned author of numerous religious philosophical works, theorist of Islamic mysticism and founder of the Dervish order.

We visit the Sultan Saodat religious complex, built between the 11th and 17th centuries on the grave of the Sayyid dynasty of Termez, direct descendants of the prophet Mohammed. Further on we visit the Zurmala Buddhist stupa situated in the ruins of ancient Termez, built in the 1st-2nd century BC.

Finish the day at the impressive Kara Tepe Monastery, a Buddhist place of worship built on three hills, consisting of a series of temples and monasteries dating from the 2nd century AD, a combination of caves carved into the sandstone and surface buildings of unfired brick.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

03. TERMEZ-SHAKHRISABZ - VISITE

Amir Timur statue © Gabriele StoiaAmir Timur statue – Shakhrisabz

Transfer to Kashkadarya region by car to visit Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of the famous conqueror Tamerlane.

Visit the remains of the architectural complex that includes Aksaray buildings, Dorut Tilovat memorial complex , Shaykh Shamsaddin Kulal al-Keshi Mausoleum, Gumbazi-seidon Mausoleum, Kok-Gumbaz Mosque.

At the end transfer to Samarkandamong the oldest cities in the world, cultural crossroads and fundamental stop along the Great Silk Road.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

04. SAMARKAND

 Registan Samarqand © Gabriele StoiaRegistan Square – Samarkand

We visit the iconic Registan Square, home to some of the world’s finest examples of Islamic architecture, dominated by the impressive Sher-Dor, Ulugbek and Tilla-Kori madrasas.

Afterwards we explore the enchanting Shakhi Zinda complex adorned with an extraordinary array of blue tiles, the Tomb of Timurids – Guri Amir, burial ground of the Timurid dynasty, a unique architectural monument, and the sparkling turquoise dome of the Bibi Khanum cathedral mosque dedicated to Timur’s favourite wife.

We continue to the colorful Siab Bazaar, the largest and oldest in Samarkand, of strategic importance for the commercial development of the Great Silk Road. A special place where the exotic atmosphere of the ancient city is palpable.

We conclude the day with a visit to the Samarkand “Hudjum carpet factory where we can admire the production process of the splendid oriental hand-embroidered rugs.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

05. SAMARKAND

ProphetProfet Daniel Mausoleum

After breakfast we visit the Mausoleum of the Prophet Daniel on the outskirts of Afrasiab, the ancient city dating back to the 7th-2nd century BC situated on the high hills just before Samarkand.

Visit to the “Merospaper mill, where the famous Samarkand paper is produced using mulberry bark. An interesting fact is that all the production is done by hand following ancient traditions.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

06. SAMARKAND - NURATA - AYDAR KUL

Yurta Uzbeka © Gabriele StoiaUzbek yurt

After breakfast drive to Nurata. Flint quarries, mines, ancient settlements, burial mounds, cemeteries of ancient nomads, pagan altars, crypts and some 4,000 petroglyphs, including monuments from the Middle Ages, the Iron Age, the Bronze Age and even the Stone Age, can be found in the area.

Afternoon excursion to Chashma, the religious complex known throughout Asia, at the centre of which is a sacred spring (‘Chashma’), according to a legend it was created by a meteorite.

Transfer to the yurt camp, the typical nomadic dwelling, circular in shape and decorated with locally made sherdoke carpets. It is possible to participate in the making of local dishes or to take a camel ride into the desert to see the local flora and fauna, and to admire a beautiful sunset.

Included : Yurt, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

07. NURTA-BUKHARA

After breakfast drive to Bukhara, once the intellectual and cultural centre of the Islamic world, and a flourishing city on the Silk Road, which has hardly changed since the days of the merchant caravans.

Stop for lunch on the way.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

08. BUKHARA

Abdulaziz-Khan-Madrassah-Bukhara © Gabriele StoiaAbdulaziz Khan Madrassah

Today we visit the historical centre of Bukhara, the Ark citadel, the massive fortress built in the 5th century for military purposes and used as the residence of the royal courts until 1920.

We continue to the Lyabi Khauz architectural complex in the city centre where we admire the marvellous mosaics of the Divan Beghi madrasa, the Khanaqa Divan Beghi and the Kukeldash Madrasa.

We continue to the Po-i-Kalyan religious complex whose bright blue domes are visible from afar, overlooking the iconic square dominated by the Kalyan MosqueMiri-Araba Madrasa and Kalyan minaret, symbol of Bukhara, used for centuries as a beacon to guide the caravans arriving from the desert. 

We visit the Chor Bakr necropolis, the Samanid mausoleum, the oldest funerary building in Central Asia and an icon of early Islamic architecture, and the Chashma Ayub mausoleum where we find a water spring named after the prophet Job (Ayuba).

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

09. BUKHARA

Sitori-i-Mokhi Khosa © Gabriele StoiaSitori-i-Mokhi Khosa Complex

After breakfast we continue our visit to the mausoleum of Bahauddin Naqshband, the founder of the Naqshbandi order of Sufism and one of the most revered figures in the Muslim world.

Visit the Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace, the countryside residence of the last emir Said Alim Khan, and the Ulug bek madrasa, an important Islamic school built in the 15th century.

We continue to the Abdul Aziz Khan madrasa and the Magok-i Attari mosque, one of the oldest in Central Asia, predating the Mongol invasion.

Free time in the afternoon to visit the historical centre of Bukhara at your own pace.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

10. BUKHARA-KHIVA

Kyzylkum desert © Gabriele StoiaKyzylkum desert

Transfer by car to Khiva, the most isolated of the caravan cities on the Silk Road, considered one of the best-preserved ancient historical centres in all Central Asia.

We cross the Kizylkum Desert and Amudarya River. On the way we stop to learn about the fauna and flora of the desert.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

11. KHIVA

Kunya Ark fortress © Gabriele StoiaKunya Ark fortress – Khiva

We spend the day exploring Khiva, an open-air museum that carries us back in time for centuries to the period of the merchant caravans on the Silk Road.

Wander through the maze of narrow streets of the World Heritage-listed Itchan Qal’a city centre and let yourself be carried back in time amidst the exciting artistic contrast of mud houses alternating with the turquoise decorations of minarets and madrasas.

Walk through the walls of Kunya Ark fortress and explore the mythical citadel with its impressive architectural masterpieces including the Muhammad Amin-Khan madrasa, the largest in Central Asia, the famous Kalta-Minor minaret made of turquoise enamel with brick and majolica, and the Muhammad Rakhim-Khan II and Alla-Quli-Khan madrasas.

We visit the minaret and mosque of Islom-Khodja. We explore the corridors and courtyards of the Tosh Khauli Palace and admire the turquoise dome of the mausoleum of the famous warrior Mahmud.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

12. FORTS KHOREZM - NUKUS

Ayaz Qala fortress © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelAyaz Qala fortress

After breakfast visit the fortresses Toprak Qala, Qavat Qala and Ayaz Qala, the latter built on a hill overlooking the Kyzylkum desert in the 2nd century AD by the Kushan Empire, probably part of a chain of fortresses guarding the desert borders. Interesting residential structures can be found within the surrounding walls.

Afternoon transfer to Nukus and visit the Savitskiy Museum of Art, or Savitskiy Museum, named after the renowned painter, archaeologist and collector Igor Savitskiy. With over 82,000 fine objects ranging from Khorezm antiquities to Karakalpak folk art and Uzbek fine art, the museum houses the second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art in the world.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, picnic lunch, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

13. ARAL SEA

Moinaq © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelAral Sea – Muynaq

After breakfast we drive to Muynaq. Once home to a lively community of thousands of fishermen, Muynaq was Uzbekistan’s only port city on the Aral, the lake in north-western Uzbekistan, which crosses the border into Kazakhstan, so vast that it is called the Aral Sea. The lake’s abundance of fish has ensured the region’s economy for decades, thanks to industrial fishing and canning.

However, the diversion of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers in the 1960s by the Soviet government to benefit the cotton industry, resulted in the depletion of a large part of the lake and an extreme increase in the salinity of the remaining water, causing an economic disaster and the collapse of the fishing industry.

We visit the suggestive “graveyard of ships “, the fishing fleet of rusty ships stranded in the sand of the Ustyurt plateau for decades.

At the end transfer to the yurt camp.

Included : Yurt, breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

14. TRANSFER TO NUKUS

After breakfast we return to Nukus following an alternative route through incredible landscapes.

Visit the settlement of Kurgancha in the Kungrad district, whose history dates to the 13th century, once an important trading centre on the Great Silk Road. We stop at Sudochye Lake to admire the picturesque landscape.

In the afternoon we visit the necropolis of Mizdakhan, once the largest city in the Khorezm region, inhabited from the 4th century BC to the 14th century AD. Nearby rests on a hill the impressive remains of the Gyaur Qala fortress dating back to the 4th-3rd centuries BC.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, picnic lunch, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

15. NUKUS - TASHKENT - DEPARTURE

After breakfast transfer to the airport and short domestic flight to Tashkent. Accommodation in hotel and free time at your disposal.

Evening transfer to the international airport for your departure.

Included : Breakfast, private transportation to airport

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