Quintessential Uzbekistan

Unlike most of Central Asia, where nomadic traditions prevailed, Uzbekistan is custodian to a rich urban culture. The names of its cities—steeped in the mythology and romance of the Silk Road - evoke legendary images: Samarkand, Tamerlane's imposing capital; Bukhara, the revered place of pilgrimage; and Khiva, the remote and isolated oasis. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Uncover the best of Uzbekistan's most iconic sites

Stay in boutique and charming hotels and guesthouses

Sample the most palettable traditional Uzbek cuisine

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE TASHKENT

Arrive Tashkent - capital of Uzbekistan a city that dates back more than 2,000 years ago and the largest city in Central Asia is a curious blend of Islamic and Soviet influences. After an early arrival, be met and transfer to the Hyatt Regency Tashkent for some much-needed rest. 

Awake this afternoon where we take you to a local restaurant for lunch to start your education of Uzbekistan beginning with its traditional cuisine. Thereafter, embark on a tour of the Old City area of Tashkent where you will find the Khast Imam Complex which contains the ancient holy Quran of Caliph Uthman, Tilla Sheikh Mosque and the Mausoleum of Saint Abu Bakr. We then take a ride on the city’s famous Soviet-era metro system which like Moscow’s features some of the most ornately decorated stations in the world. Exiting at Amir Temur Square Station, admire the Statue of Amir Temur, the Conqueror of Central Asia and next to it, the grand Independence Square

Overnight: Hyatt Regency, Tashkent (including guaranteed early check in)

Meals: Lunch & Dinner

DAY 2: TASHKENT / URGENCH / KHIVA

Enjoy a relaxing morning and later, we will make a visit to the atmospheric Chorsu Bazaar with its iconic giant green dome and one of the most busiest in Central Asia where you can find an assortment of spices, vegetables, fresh meat as well as jewelry and ceramics. This is a great place to understand the local life. Next to it is the Kukeldash Madrasah, one of the best-preserved monuments in Tashkent as well as the largest Islamic theological college in the Central Asian city and among the leaders of Muslim educational institution in the region. Later, a pleasant drive to the city limits take us to the Shedevr Garden Restaurant where we enjoy lunch in a relaxing atmosphere sampling homely Uzbek cuisine. Later, we continue to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the oldest orthodox church in Tashkent completed in 1905, with stunning architecture of white and blue before making our way to Tashkent Airport for our domestic flight to Urgench. 

Arriving at Urgench Airport, we then transfer to the ancient city of Khiva (1hr drive) where we arrive and check in at the stunning Orient Star Khiva Hotel, right inside the Mukhamed Aminkhan Madrasah that dates back to 1851 and recently reconstructed into a heritage hotel in 2000. 

Overnight: Orient Star Khiva Hotel, Khiva

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 3: KHIVA

After breakfast, we embark on a tour of the ancient city of Khiva, bursting with historical sites. We will visit the walled inner-city section of Khiva called Ichan-Kala. This old section of town preserves more than fifty historic monuments and hundreds of old houses dating back hundreds of years. The entire citadel is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you walk through the enormous city gates, you are confronted by the glistening Islamic beacon, the Kalta-minor Minaret. Delve deep into the town on a guided tour that embraces all of the city sites, and includes an ascent of the Islam Khodja Minaret, the highest minaret in Khiva. Enjoy broad views of Old Khiva atop the Kunya-Ark Citadel. During early dinner we will get the chance to watch exotic folklore show of local musicians and dancers from Khorezm region.

Overnight: Orient Star Khiva Hotel, Khiva

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4: KHIVA (THE KHOREZM FORTRESSES) / URGENCH / BUKHARA

Venture our of Khiva today as we explore the ancient fortresses of Khorezm, built more than 2,000 years ago. Travel to the Kyzylkum Desert where we discover the archaeological monuments of Ancient Khorezm: you will visit Kyzyl-Kala - a unique monument of Ancient Khorezm architecture relevant to Kushan - Afrigid period of antique history, Toprak-Kala - ancient settlement which was the capital of Khorezm in the 3rd Century AD. Not without reason Toprak-Kala is called "the museum of fine arts of Ancient Khorezm". It is the only completely dug out monument of architecture of Khorezm. Its sizes and genius of architectural design make Toprak-Kala one of the most unique monuments of Khorezm. There is a legend that the ancient subterranean passage connects Toprak-Kala and Kyzyl-Kala. It is quite possible that Kyzyl-Kala carried out the protective functions. Then we will visit one of the largest fortresses of Ancient Khorezm – Ayaz-Kala, 2nd Century AD, relevant to the period of Kushan Empire prosperity. Ayaz-Kala was neither a city nor a settlement, it was a fortress complex where nearly 19 centuries ago boundary groups of Kushan dynasty settled down. Thereafter, we drive to Urgench Airport where a short domestic flight takes us to Bukhara. Upon arrival at Bukhara Airport, transfer to Hotel Malika Bukhara for check in. 

Overnight: Hotel Malika, Bukhara

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5: BUKHARA

Today, we will begin our tour of UNESCO-listed Bukhara, the quintessential representation of the exotic Orient. Begin our tour in the historical center, starting from the picturesque Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble will take you to the world of medieval East. You will see the most famous mosques and madrasahs of the Holy City; visit the unassailable Ark fortress and the 47-m Kalyan Minaret like a beacon pointing the way to trade caravans and pilgrims traveling to Bukhara. Amongst other sites we will visit include the stunning Chor-Minor Madrasah, the Miri-Arab Madrasah and the Bolo-Khauz Mosque. We will also enjoy traditional "Manti", a steamed dough filled with tender sliced or minced lamb and onions where we may witness the making process. 

Overnight: Hotel Malika, Bukhara

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6: BUKHARA / SHAKHRISABZ / SAMARKAND

Our journey continues today as we leave Bukhara through the Rabota Malik chul desert. Halfway en route to Samarkand, we stop in the UNESCO-listed city of Shakhrisabz, birthplace of Amir Temur (Tamerlane) where upon becoming the ruler, he turned Shakhrisabz into his residence and ordered to build the palace, known as Ak-Saray (White palace). By the way, at that time Kesh was renamed to Shakhrisabz, which means in Persian “Green city”. We enjoy an insight of the historical center visiting the ruins of the Ak-Saray Palace, the memorial complex Dorut Tilovat, the Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, the mausoleums of Dorus Saodat, Shamsad-Dina Kulyala and Gumbazi-Seyidan. Thereafter, we continue to Samarkand, arriving in the early evening where we check in at the Registan Plaza Hotel. 

Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel, Samarkand

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7: SAMARKAND

Today we uncover the imperial city of Samarkand, probably the most opulent during the reign of Timur, one of history’s great conquerors. Today, you get to see Samarkand’s and arguably Uzbekistan’s most famous landmark, spectacular Registan Square. The focal point of ancient Samarkand is framed by three beautiful madrassas – Ulugbek, Sherdor and Tillya Kori. We will also visit Gur-Emir Mausoleum, where Timur is buried. we then visit Ulgubek’s observatory, once the biggest research center of Central Asia. Ulugbek was decades ahead of the West with his observations of the solar system and the earth and we will learn more about his story in this prestigious setting. Our next stop is Shah-i-Zinda, the necropolis where family members of Timur are buried. After lunch we visit the impressive Bibi Khanum Mosque, before delving into the world of dried fruits and other local delicacies at nearby Siyob Bazaar. Just outside the city we visit the silk carpet factory of a Turkmen master from Kabul where you will learn about the production of silk and carpets.

Overnight: Registan Plaza Hotel, Samarkand

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8: SAMARKAND / DEPARTURE TASHKENT

We get to spend another day in UNESCO-listed Samarkand as we journey to the outskirts of the city to the village of Koni Ghil to explore the traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry. After, we’ll pay a visit to the Afrasiab Museum and the Tomb of Saint Daniel. An unmistakable visit today will be to meet a traditional baker, demonstrating how Uzbek bread are made. In the late afternoon, we will take the high-speed train back to Tashkent where after an enjoyable dinner, transfer to Tashkent Intl Airport for your journey home or continue your adventures in Central Asia. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

HOTELS

Adjacent to the prestigious National Library, with perfect access to local landmarks, tourist attractions, shops and restaurants, the Hyatt Regency Tashkent offers luxurious comfort for the business and leisure traveler discovering the gems Uzbekistan has to offer. 

Hyatt Regency, Tashkent

Orient Star Khiva Hotel is located in the Muhammad Aminkhan madrasah, which is next to the Kuk Minor Minaret. The rooms of the hotel are previously served as cells for students of the madrasah. However, each room is well designed in accordance with functionality and taste. Original and ergonomic design of the hotel distinguishes it from a number of other ones.

Orient Star Khiva Hotel, Khiva

Malika Bukhara started operating in the spring of 2005. The hotel provides modern and comfortable rooms within walking distance from the Lyabi-Hauz historical complex. 
Rooms with large and comfortable beds are equipped with air conditioning and cable TV.

Hotel Malika, Bukhara

The Registan Plaza is conveniently located in the city centre of Samarkand with 

immediate proximity to both business part of the city and historical sights of the Old Town offering comfortable and luxurious rooms for the discerning traveler. 

Registan Plaza, Samarkand

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