Ancient Civilizations

Uzbekistan

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Description:

Choosing the Ancient Civilizations tour will show you the best of Uzbekistan as we journey through what is left of this powerful kingdom, built by the Great Tamerlane. You will be introduced to the fascinating cultures that flourished in Central Asia for centuries, which have left behind a range of architectural and cultural wonders. On the trip, you will visit Tashkent, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Bukhara, and Khiva – five varied cities with plenty of artistic and historical sites to drink in. This classic seven-day tour is suitable for individual travelers, couples and families, as well as both small and large groups.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival - Tashkent

Experience Old and New on the Tashkent Walking Tour. On arrival in Tashkent you will be taken to your downtown hotel, where the comprehensive city tour will follow. You will begin the tour in the old city center with some amazing ancient buildings and religious monuments of the Hasti Imam Square, such as the Barak-Khan Madrasah, the Mausoleum of Kafal Shashi and more. After that, you will be taken to the modern-day city center and see the Amir Timur Square. The surrounding buildings were built in different periods over the last two centuries, boasting a variety of architectural styles. We will then continue to the gorgeous Theater of Alisher Navoi, built by the Japanese in the midst of 20th century, and finally pay a visit to the Museum of Applied Arts, which has exquisite examples of Uzbek handcrafts.

Day 2: Tashkent - Samarkand

A Picturesque Train Journey to Architectural Delights. After your first night in Tashkent, you’ll be waking early with the payoff of spectacular views on your journey. Departing for Samarkand (180 miles, 3 hours by train) you can enjoy views of typical Uzbek agricultural landscapes along the road. Once you arrive in Samarkand and settle into your city hotel – which is next to some magnificent monuments - you will have a chance to freshen up and get ready for an exciting afternoon. After lunch you’ll go for a walking tour of Samarkand, during which we’ll visit a number of impressive tourist spots, including:

  • Guri Amir, which is the mausoleum of Tamerlane (also known as Timur). The Tomb of the King was completed in 1404 and is richly decorated, with a fluted dome and embellishments in tranquil shades of blue.
  • Registan Square, the famous heart of the city. Translating as ‘sandy place’ in Persian, the square is flanked by three Islamic schools (known as madrasahs).
Day 3: Samarkand

A Plethora of Historical Monuments and a Visit to the Market.

On the third day of your tour you will visit Samarkand’s greatest historical monuments, including:

  • Ulugbek's Observatory (also known as Ulugh Beg), named after the astronomer who built it in 1420, which is one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world
  • Tomb of Saint Daniel (Khodja Daniar), located in the Afrasiyab hills.
  • The Afrasiyab Museum, which is one of the largest archeological sites in the world, with over 22,000 unique exhibits.
  • The Bibi Khanym Mosque, which was built in the 1400’s and restored in the Soviet period.
  • Shahi Zindah, a necropolis in the North-East of Samarkand

While visiting Bibi Khanum Mosque, we’ll also make a short detour and pop in the traditional farmers market, where you can sample delicious local fruits, sweets and stock up on rare spices and herbs – a great place for souvenir shopping.

Day 4: Samarkand - Shakhrisabz - Bukhara

Great Views on the Journey West. While most of the forth day of the tour will be spent driving westward to Bukhara (220 mi, 6 hours of comfortable driving), there is a stopover in Shakhrisabz along the way. On our brief tour of the amazing ruins of the Great White Palace built by Tamerlane, you will also get to see Kok Gumbaz Mosque and the Dorus Saodat Memorial, where relatives and close friends of the Emperor were buried. We’ll have lunch right after the tour and continue our journey to Bukhara, where will spend the night in Bukhara.

Day 5: Bukhara

Step Back in Time with Middle Eastern Folk Tales. You will spend full day exploring Bukhara, the famous city from Tales of One Thousand and One Nights. Our guides will tell you exciting stories while we visit local attractions, such as:

  • The impressive Ark Fortress.
  • The imposing Bolo Hauz mosque, built in the 1700’s.
  • The mausoleum of Ismail Samani, which is one of the oldest Bukhara historic buildings.
  • The Chashma Ayub Mausoleum.
  • Kalyan minaret (almost 150 feet tall) and mosque.
  • Lyabi Hauz square and pond with the spectacular Nadir Divan Begi Madrasah.
  • In addition to exploring the old city center, we’ll take you further out of the centre to see Sitoran Mokhi-Khosa Palace, located just a few miles north of Bukhara. Many describe this Palace as a fanciful blend of oriental and modern architecture.
Day 6: Bukhara - Khiva

A Journey to a Dramatic Desert Landscape. This will be the longest drive of the tour (290 miles, 6-8 hours), but after several hours of driving through the authentic, spectacular desert you will arrive in the capital of Ancient Khorezm -- Khiva, a true open-air museum with its Mausoleums, Minarets, and the feel of ancient times surrounding you. Right after we unpack and settle in the hotel, you’ll have a chance to start exploring for yourself. You will spend the night in Khiva.

Day 7: Khiva - Tashkent - Departure

The Vital Silk Road Stop-off. Thousand domes of Khiva are waiting for you! The guides will take you to see Ichan Kala, the fortress and the open-air museum, followed by a visit to Muhammad Aminkhan Madrasah and its minaret. Aside from that, you’ll visit Kunya Ark and Juma Mosque, which has 218 hand-carved wooden pillars. You’ll also get a chance to see the Harem of Khiva Khans, the mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud (a famous ancient wrestler and poet who patronized Khiva). If you’re able to climb the narrow stairs of the Islam Khodja Minaret, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Khiva from its top. Once the tour is over, you will fly back to Tashkent (90 minutes flight) for a connection to your flight home. This will conclude your visit.

Inclusions:

Included in the package:

  • Visa support.
  • Best available hotels (3-4* or similar), 6 nights, breakfast included.
  • All in-country transportation.
  • Experienced tour guides and tour manager.
  • Entrance tickets to monuments and museums as per the program.
  • Welcome gift.
  • Silka Departure Guarantee.
    What is Silka Departure Guarantee?

    We’d rather take a loss than let you down. We guarantee that any tour you booked will happen even if the group is not full. If that occurs, we might adjust certain technical details like driving you around in a mini-bus or sedan instead of a coach, or letting you join one of our partners’ scheduled departures, but we’ll still take you to places we promised.

Not included:

  • International airfare.
  • Additional Hotel Expenses.
  • Travel and/or medical insurance.
  • Meals, unless specified.
  • Personal expenses.

Days

8

Hotel

3-5*

From:

$0

Scheduled departures:

Ancient Civilizations