Uzbekistan Embraced


Uzbekistan Embraced

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 12 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers

Itinerary

Day 1 – Tashkent

Arrive in Tashkent where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon we will start to explore beginning with Old Tashkent and moving on to the impressive Khast Imam Square, the holy heart of the city. Among the important sites is Tillya Sheykh Mosque which houses the Osman Koran, said to be the oldest in the world. We will also visit the Chorsu Bazaar, the largest farmer’s market in Tashkent, filled with the heady smell of spices. We will also visit Amir Temur Square which is the oldest public park in Tashkent. Overnight at Uzbekistan Hotel or similar. 

Day 2 – Nukus- Khiva (203kms, approx.3 hrs 30 mins driving time)   

Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for the flight to Nukus, the isolated capital of Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan Republic. It is home to a remarkable Art Museum founded by Igor Savitsky, and thanks to him many of the early 20th century Russian paintings, which were banned by Moscow, found protection here. The story of this collection has been told in the award-winning documentary: Desert of Forbidden Art. We will have the opportunity to view the collection which is the second-largest gathering of Russian avant-garde art after the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. From here we will continue by road to Khiva. Overnight at Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (BL) 

Day 3 – Khiva

Today is at leisure for you to make your acquaintance with this stunning city, the most remote of Central Asia’s Silk Road cities,  and its wealth of ancient monuments. Overnight at Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 4 – Khiva

Today will be given over to a full day city tour of the UNESCO listed Ichan Kala, or inner town, and its many sights, including the Friday Mosque with its 218 wooden pillars supporting its roof, and the Islam Khoja Minaret whose stripes rise to an impressive 60 metres in height. We will visit Kunya Ark, or Old Fortress, the residence of the rulers of Khiva from the 12th Century and the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum which is one of the most beautiful spots with its lovely courtyard and stately tilework. After lunch at a private house we will continue our tour to include a visit to a bazaar and a caravanserai. Overnight at Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 5 – Khiva- Bukhara (455 kms, approx. 6 hrs, 35mins driving time)

We will depart Khiva this morning for the Holy City of Bukhara and on arrival begin our introduction to the city. Overnight at Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 6 – Bukhara

We will spend today delving further into Bukhara one of the most spectacular cities in the region and with a superbly preserved old quarter. Our first of many visits will be to the spectacular Kalon Minaret, one of the defining symbols of Bukhara, and probably the tallest building in Central Asia when it was first built in 1127.We will continue to the three remaining domed bazaars; the Jewellers Bazaar, the Cap Makers Bazaar and the Moneychangers Bazaar which are among dozens of specialist bazaars in the city. We will take a break for lunch at a local restaurant and afterwards include the Ark fortress, a royal town within a town, home to the rulers of the city for over a millennium, and as old as Bukhara itself, and the satisfyingly perfect Ismoil Samani Mausoleum completed in 905. Overnight at Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 7 – Bukhara- Nurata- Lake Aydarkul - (175 kms, approx. 3 hrs driving time)

We will check out of our hotel and begin the drive towards the Nuratau Mountains. On the way we will visit the town of Nurata, famous for its Suzuni, an embroidered and decorative tribal textile. We will visit an old fortess remaining from the days of Alexander the Great, and then continue to Lake Aydarkul, and on arrival settle into our yurt camp. Overnight in a yurt. (B)

Day 8 – Lake Aydarkul- Samarkand (190 kms, approx. 3 hrs driving time)  

After a relaxing morning (there will be the opportunity to take a camel ride at your own expense, or to swim in the lake) we will drive to the legendary city of Samarkand. The rest of the day will be at leisure. Overnight at Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 9 - Samarkand

A full day to discover glorious Samarkand with its spectacular collection of traditional buildings. The city is most famous for its Registan Square, which contains perhaps the most stunning and well preserved architecture in the whole region. Long held in awe by early western travellers, it is easy to lose yourself in wonder at the incredible mosques and medressas, elaborately decorated in blue tiles and traditional Islamic art. We will also visit the Tomb of the Emir, beneath which lie Timur, along with two of his sons and two of his grandsons. After admiring the impressive Bibi Khanym congregational mosque we will continue to Siab Market, the main farmers market, before taking lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon we will visit Shakhi Zinda, a dazzling collection of richly tiled mausoleums, the tombs of the rulers and nobles of Samarkand, lining either side of a gently rising pathway. The name, meaning the tomb of the Living King, refers to the original shrine which is thought to be the grave of Qusam ibn- Abbas, a cousin of the prophet Muhammad, who is said to have brought Islam to the area.  Overnight at Malika Hotel or similar. (B) 

Day 10 – Samarkand

Today gives the opportunity to discover more of the sights of this inspiring city. We will begin with a tour of Ulugbek’s Observatory, which was constructed in 1420, and he was probably more famous as an astronomer than as a ruler. He was fascinated by the stars and the universe, and as a result of the observations he undertook with the naked eye only, he calculated the length of the year to within a minute of the modern accepted value; and predated the telescope by over 150 years. Other sites will include the Khodja Daniil Mausoleum and the Meros craft centre where silk paper is made.Overnight at Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 11 – Tashkent

After breakfast transfer to the railway station to board our train for Tashkent (0840/1240). In the afternoon we can take in some more of the city sights including Independence Square, the largest in the former Soviet Union, and flanked by public buildings and walls of fountains. In addition we will visit the Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre completed in 1947 by Japanese prisoners of war, and the Museum of Applied Arts, as popular for its setting in a beautiful house, as for its many lovely exhibits. Overnight at Uzbekistan Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 12 – Tashkent

The tour ends with a transfer to the airport to connect with your onward flight. (B)

Fergana Valley Extension

Day 1- Tashkent - Fergana (300 kms, approx. 5 hours)

The morning is at leisure and we then begin the drive to Fergana, stopping at the Kamchik Pass for photos, and any other places of interest along the way. On arrival in Fergana there may be time to look around. Overnight at Hotel Asia Fergana or similar. (B).

Day 2- Rishtan – Margilan

A full day excursion to Rishtan famous for its traditional cobalt pottery techniques and Margilon to witness traditional silk production and the local bazaar. Overnight at Hotel Asia Fergana or similar. (B).

Day 3- Kokand – Tashkent

After breakfast drive back to Tashkent via Kokand visiting Khudoyar Khan’s Palace, the Norbuta Museum- Bia Madrassah, and the Modarikhon Mausoleum. Overnight at Uzbekistan Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 4- Tour ends.

Transfer to the airport for flight home. (B)


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