In the heart of The Great Silk Road (Uzbekistan)
Uzbekistan is probably the country with the best preserved relics from the time of the Great Silk Road between Europe and China. The main Central Asian cities on that road were Kriva, Buchara, Samarkand and Tashkent, and they are still symbols of oriental beauty and mystery. This trip to Uzbekistan includes a stop in each of there cities.
The Centarl Asian region was famous even before Europeans discovered silk. Alexander the Great set up at least 8 cities in Central Asia between 334 - 323 BC. Then China opened its boarders around 138 BC and the region flourished because of the active trade with silk and other essential goods. Between 484 - 1150 Huns, Turks and Arabs came from the west and the Arabs brought with them the new religion of Islam. Many mosques and madrassahs were built in the following centuries. Some of those buildings were destroyed during the invasion of the Genghis Khan in 1220. Later Timur, known also as Tamerlane, restaured the once famous cities by using the labor of slaves and artists captured during successful crusades. Timur conquered Persia, Baghdad, and lead expeditions to Anatolia and India. Most of the architecture that is found in Samarkand was build or restaured by Timur and his grandson Ulugbek. This tour represents the best of what has remained from ancient times, influenced and modified by all the empires that have settled there over the centuries.
♦ Khiva - The inner town, or Itchan Kala, is encircled by brick walls, whose foundations are believed to be laid in the 10th century.
♦ Bukhara - The town boasting more than 140 architectural monuments.
♦ Samarkand - one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world (about 2,500 years old), prospering from its location on the trade route between China and Europe (Silk Road).
♦ Tashkent - Uzbekistan’s modern capital, which shows its roots as a Silk Road City even today.
Day 1: Tashkent
Arrival to Tashkent (usually in the early morning hours). In most cases the trip from your home country should start the day before). Transfer to your hotel for some rest. Sightseeing tour after breakfast - Kukeldash Madrassah, Kafal-al-Shashi Mausoleum, Barak Khan Madrassah, the Chor-Su Oriental Market, Khast-Imam Square, Independence Square etc. In the evening transfer to the train station and night train to Urgench at 20:20 h.
Day 2: Urgench - Khiva
Arrival in Urgench at 12:20 h. Transfer to Khiva, accommodation at a hotel and time on your own. Overnight in Khiva.
Day 3: Khiva
Sightseeing tour in Khiva: Kunya-Ark fortress, Pakhlavan Mahmoud Complex, Islam Haji Minaret, Tash Khauli Complex, Alakuli Khan palace, Juma Mosque etc. Overnight in Khiva.
Day 4: Khiva - Bukhara
Transfer to Buchara across the Kyzyl Kum desert and along the Amurdarya River (600 km.) Overnight in Bukhara.
Day 5: Bukhara
Sightseeing in Bukhara: Poi-Kalyan Ensemble including the 12 c. minaret a 15 c. Mosque, a functioning Madrassah from 16 c, Taqi (trading domes), Kukeldash Madrassah (16 c), the Ark Fortress (16 c), Bolo-Hauz complex (18 c), Ulugbeg Madrassah, Lyabi House Architectural Ensemble, Ismael Samani Mausoleum etc. Overnight in Buchara.
Day 6: Bukhara - Samarkand
After breakfast sightseeing outside Bukhara - Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, Chor-Bakr Memorial etc. Transfer to Samarkand (approx 150 km.) and accommodation at a hotel. Free time in the afternoon. Overnight in Samarkand.
Day 7: Samarkand - Tashkent
Sightseeing in Samarkand: the famous Registan Square with the three beautifully decorated madrassahs, the Bibi Khanum Mosque, the Gur-Emir Mausoleum, the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, Ulugbek observatory. Transfer to the railway station and train to Tashkent at 17:00 h. Arrival to Tashkent at 19:10 h and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Tashkent.
Day 8: Tashkent, departure
Transfer to the airport for departure.
The price includes: ►Accommodation in a dbl room at 3* hotels with breakfast ►train tickets (4-persons kupe) for the night train Tashkent-Urgench; train tickets economy class Samarkand-Tashkent ► transport as per program incl. transfer from/to the airport ► visa support ► sightseeing tour in each city according to the program with local English-speaking guides ►a small bottle of mineral water
The price does not include: ►International flight tickets ►tourleader during the whole tour (you travel together with a driver between teh cities, and have a different local guide in each city) ►drinks and meals not mention ► entrance fees ►insurance ►personal expenses ►video and photo shooting fees on spot ►tips ►visa fee to be paid at the airport (about 50 EUR)
Price of extra services: ►Single room supplement: 125 EUR ►entrance fees: about 70 USD in total to be paid on spot ►2-persons compartment for the train Tashkent-Urgench: 50 EUR per person ►Half board/Full board: on request ► Additional nights: on request
Practical information: ►July is not recommended travel period due to high temperatures at that time of the year ►you will be part of an international group but we cannot say in advance how many people there will be and of what nationality ►In order to get a visa support, when you book the trip please send to Penguin Travel a scanned coloured copy of your passport + a signed and stamped letter from your employer that you are allowed to travel to Uzbekistan in the desired period. ►Uzbek currency is called sum or som (UZS). Credit card payment is not a general practice. The most usual way to pay is in cash. The generally accepted currency is USD ►Please, note that changes in the time table of the trains are possible.
Recommended travel period of the year: spring, autumn