GRAND TOUR UZBEKISTAN

Length

17 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURE/NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

A Grand Tour in Uzbekistan to explore the culture and ancient traditions.

Explore the caravan town on the Silk Road: Tashkent, the ancient oasis trading today eclectic capital of the Uzbek Republic; the legendary Samarkand, known as the “crossroads of cultures”, one of the oldest cities in the world; Bukhara, architecture untouched by time, important religious center for centuries; Khiva between the old towns best preserved in all of Central Asia.

Visit remote Muynak the “Aral Sea” and the fascinating forts abandoned in the Kyzylkum desert. Immerse yourself in the nature of Nuratau mountains and discover the rural lifestyle to Sentyab village.

Sleep in an authentic Uzbek yurt, the typical house of the circular nomadic decorated with local carpets.

This example itinerary can be customized according to actual travel needs and can be combined with other routes.

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

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY

Length : 17G 16N
From : URGENCH
To : TASHKENT
Destinations  : Urgench, Khiva, Nukus, Moinaq, Khorezm, Bukhara, Nurata, Sentyab, Fazilman, Aydar Kul, Samarkand, Kokand, Fergana, Margilan, Tashkent

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVE IN URGENCH - VISIT KHIVA

Kunya Ark fortress © Gabriele StoiaKunya Ark fortress – Khiva

Arrive in Urgench and transfer by car to Khiva, the most isolated cities on the Silk Road caravan routes, considered one of the best preserved old towns in all of Central Asia. 

Delve into the maze of narrow streets in the core of the Itchan Qal’a city, a World Heritage Site, and let yourself be transported back in time surrounded by the exciting artistic contrast of the mud houses and turquoise decorations of minarets and madrasas.

Crossing the walls of the Kunya Ark fortress we explore the mythical citadel which houses impressive architectural masterpieces including the Muhammad Amin-Khan Madrasa, the largest in all Central Asia, the famous Kalta-Minor Minaret in turquoise enamel with bricks and majolica, and the madrasas of Muhammad Rakhim-Khan II and Alla-Quli-Khan.

We visit Islom-Khodja Minaret and Mosque. We continue the discover the corridors and courtyards of the Tosh Khauli Palace and admire the turquoise dome of the mausoleum of the famous warrior Mahmud.

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

02. TRASFERIMENTO A NUKUS

Nukus_Art_Museum © ChanOJ / CC BY-SAArt Museum Nukus © ChanOJ / CC BY-SA

In the morning free time to walk independently in the charming ancient town of Khiva.

In the afternoon we continue with the transfer to Nukus, capital of Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic. Visit to the Museum of Art, or “Savitskiy Museum“, from the famous painter, archaeologist and collector Igor Savitskiy. With over 82,000 objects ranging from fine antiquities of Khorezm Karakalpak folk art, the Uzbek fine arts, the museum houses the second largest collection of Russian avant-garde in the world.

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

03. ARAL SEA

  Moinaq © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelAral Sea, Muynaq

After breakfast drive to Muynaq. Once home to a bustling fishing community of thousands of the town was the only Uzbek port city overlooking the Aral Lake, northwest of Uzbekistan, lying across the border with Kazakhstan, so large in size that to be nicknamed Aral Sea. The considerable abundance of fish for decades has guaranteed the sustenance of the economy of the region thanks to industrial and canning fishing.

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

At the end transfer to the yurt camp nearby the lake.

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

04. TRANSFER TO NUKUS AND VISITS

After breakfast return to Nukus following an alternative route through amazing scenery.

Visit the settlement of Kurgancha, in Kungrad district, whose history dates back to the 13th century, an important trading time on the Great Silk Road. We stop on Sudochye lake to enjoy the picturesque scenery.

In the afternoon visit to the Mizdakhan necropolis, once the largest city in the Khorezm region, inhabited since the 4th century. B.C. to the 14th century. Nearby resting on a hill the evocative remains of Gyaur Qala fortress dating back to IV-III centuries. 

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

05. KHOREZM FORTS - BUKHARA

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

After breakfast visit Toprak QalaQavat Qala and Ayaz Qala forts. Ayaz Qala was built on a hill overlooking the Kyzylkum desert in the 2nd century A.D. during Kushan Empire, probably part of a chain of forts guarding the borders of the desert. Inside the walls we find attractive residential structures.  

In the afternoon transfer to Bukhara, once intellectual and cultural center of the Islamic world, and flourishing city on the Silk Road, which has remained almost unchanged since the time of the caravans of merchants. 

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

06. BUKHARA

Magok-i-Attari-mosque-Bukhara © Gabriele StoiaMagok i Attari Mosque, Bukhara

After breakfast we visit an authentic Tea House for tea tasting and local cafes. Visits the Ark Citadel, the massive fortress built in the 5th century for military purposes and used as a residence of the royal courts until 1920. 

Continue to Lyabi Khauz architectural complex in the city center where we can admire the wonderful mosaics of the Divan Beghi madrasa, the madrasas of Khanaqa Divan Beghi and Kukeldash.

Visit the Po-i-Kalyan religious complex 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 continue to the mausoleum of the Samanids, the oldest funeral building in Central Asia and an icon of early Islamic architecture, to the mausoleum Chashma Ayub, where we find a water source considered that takes its name from the prophet Job (Ayuba), to the madrasa of Ulug Bek, important Islamic school, built in the 15th century, to the madrasa Abdul Aziz Khan and Magok-i Attari Mosque among the oldest in Central Asia, preceding the Mongol invasion.

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

07. BUKHARA

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

Visit Chor Bakr necropolis, the Samanidi mausoleum, the oldest funerary building in Central Asia and an icon of early Islamic architecture.

Visit to Sitorai Mohi Hosa palace, the country residence of the last Emir Said Alim Khan, and to the mausoleum Bahauddin Naqshband, the founder of the Naqshbandi Sufi order and one of the most revered figures in the Muslim world.

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

08. NURATA - YURT CAMP

Yurta Uzbeka © Gabriele StoiaUzbek yurt

After breakfast drive to Nurata and visit the gorge Sarmish, or “Sarmishsay“, on the southern slopes of the Karatau mountain range, since ancient times crossing of seasonal migration routes for people and animals. In the area there are flint quarries, mines, ancient settlements, burial mounds, cemeteries of ancient nomads, pagan altars, crypts and about 4,000 petroglyphs, including monuments of the Middle Ages, Iron Age, Bronze Age and even Stone Age.

In the afternoon excursion to Chashma, the religious complex known throughout Asia at its center is a sacred spring ( “Chashma”), according to legend, created by a meteorite.  

Transfer to the yurt camp, the typical house of nomads, decorated with sherdoke carpets locally produced. You can participate in the preparation of local dishes or take a camel ride in the desert to admire the flora and fauna, and a beautiful sunset.

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

09. AYDAR KUL LAKE - SENTYAB

After breakfast we walk on the shore of Aydar Kul lake where you can take advantage for a swim or simply enjoying the relaxing landscape.

Later we continue with the transfer to the Sentyab village (4h) on the slopes of the Nuratau Mountains. Inhabited for over 2000 years, the village (650 meters above sea level) is immersed in a fertile valley in a remote area outside the tourist circuits and offers the special opportunity to get to know the rural lifestyle of the place.

In the afternoon hike in the area accompanied by a local expert guide. We visit the ruins of ancient houses built in flat stones on the steep walls.

Continuing the excursion along the gorge we find a small waterfall after which we can take advantage of a relaxing break.

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

10. TREKKING SENTYAB - FAZILMAN

Lago Fazilman © Carpodacus / CC BY-SA - //commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fazilman_lake_and_Kichik_Fazilman_mountain.jpgFazilman Lake © Carpodacus / CC BY-SA

In the morning we continue the excursion by following the path that leads to the pass under the majestic peak of Mount Gaukum (1516 m.).

Along the route we admire the Sentyabsai river gorge, the view over Sentyab village, the peaks of the Nuratau mountain range and the Aidar Kul lake in the distance.

After about 1h30′ we reach the small mountain lake Fazilman, at an altitude of 1640 meters, where we stop for a packed lunch.

If desired, it is possible to continue the excursion up to the peak of  Kichik Fazilman hill at 1833 meters altitude.

Afterwards, return to Sentyab village (2h30 ‘).

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

11. SENTYAB - SAMARKAND

Transfer to Samarkand by car, among the oldest cities in the world, cultural crossroads and fundamental stop along the Great Silk Road.

Soste lungo il percorso. All’arrivo sistemazione in hotel.

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

12. SAMARKAND

Registan Samarqand © Gabriele StoiaRegistan Square – Samarcanda

We visit the iconic Registan Square, home to some of the best examples of Islamic architecture in the world, dominated by the imposing Sher-DorUlugbek and Tilla-Kori madrassas. 

Later we explore the enchanting Shakhi Zinda complex adorned with an extraordinary spectrum of blue tiles, the tomb of Timuridi – Guri Amir, burial of the Timurid dynasty, a unique architectural monument, and the sparkling turquoise dome of the Bibi Khanum cathedral mosque dedicated to his favorite wife from Timur. 

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. 

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

13. SAMARKAND - TASHKENT

Hudjum carpet factory © Gabriele StoiaCarpet factory – Hudjum

Visit the ancient observatory of Ulugbek built in 1420 by the astronomer Timurid Ulugh Beg, considered by experts one of the best observers of the Islamic world.

We continue to “Hudjum” carpet factory where we can admire the production process of the splendid oriental hand-embroidered rugs.

Visit to the factory of the famous Samarkand paper, “Meros” made with the mulberry shortness. It is interesting to note that all the production is done manually following ancient traditions.

In the afternoon transfer to Tashkent, the ancient commercial oasis now eclectic capital of the Uzbek Republic

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

14. TASHKENT - KOKAND - FERGANA

Fergana market © Gabriele StoiaLocal market, Fergana

After breakfast transfer to Fergana Valley, through the Kamchim pass in the direction to Kyrgyzstan border, known for the massive cotton production.

We stop in Kokand for a visit to the Khudoyor Khan palace, residence of the last ruler of the Kokand Khanate. Built in 1871 according to the architectural traditions of Central Asia with a high central portal decorated with four minarets is undoubtedly among the most magnificent works of architecture in the area.

We visit the Jami mosque, an important symbol of Kokand located in the Chorsu square, and the madrasa Norbut-biy built in the 18th century, important religious and educational center of the city.

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

15. FERGANA - MARGILAN - TASHKENT

Yodgorlik Silk Factor - Margilan © Gabriele StoiaYodgorlik Silk Factor – Margilan

We continue the journey to the town Margilan in the Fergana valley which, according to some European legends, was founded by Alexander the Great. It was a milestone on the Silk Road along the path that ran through the dell’Alay mountains to Kashgar in China.

Visit Yodgorlik Silk Factory known around the world for its sublime silk manufacturing. The reputation gained over the centuries has guaranteed Margilan the nickname full title of “capital of Central Asia’s Silk”.

Later we visit the Rishtan one of the most famous and ancient pottery centers in Uzbekistan, with traditions handed down from generation to generation for over eight centuries. The town owes its success to the substantial clay deposit at the base of almost the entire area of the town. At the end transfer to Tashkent.

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

16. TASHKENT

Khast Imam mosque © Gabriele StoiaKhast Imam mosque

The last day of this long journey is dedicated to visiting the capital Tashkent. 

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

Then visit the Amir Temur Square, in the modern part of the capital; in the center the equestrian statue of the famous conquer undefeated Turkish-Mongol, known in the west as Tamerlane.

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

We end the day at the exotic and colorful market Chorsu Bazaar surrounded by the scents of spices, dried fruit and delicious Uzbek bread.

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

17. TASHKENT - DEPARTURE

Free time until the transfer to international airport in time for your departure flight.

Included : Breakfast, private transportation to airport

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