Day 1: Arrive Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
Meeting on arrival, assistance and transfer to hotel. Sightseeing tour of Tashkent – we shall visit Old City, see the Barak Khana seminary, the Tilla Shaikh archives – containing the oldest copy of the Usman Koran (7th c. AD). Later proceed to the Kukeldesh madrassah, the Akbar’s pottery house, the Friendship Square, and the History Museum. In the evening we will attend a performance in the Navoi Theatre (season in Sep-May).
Day 2: Tashkent / Samarkand – Train
In the morning we shall depart by fast and comfortable train to Samarkand. On arrival transfer to hotel. We shall proceed to Gur Emir, a beautiful mausoleum of Tamerlane in the best of tile work. Later visit the Registan Square to see the sun setting among beautiful Madrassahs. Later we shall see ‘Son et Lumiere’ show in one of the madrassahs.
Day 3: Samarkand (WH)
Full day sightseeing tour of Samarkand – make day light photos at the Registan Square, visit the Bibi Khanum mosque, the Silk Road bazar and the Shahi Zinda necropolis. Also visit Ulugbek’s observatory and the museum. In the afternoon visit Afrosiab complex and site Museum of Regional Studies.
Day 4: Samarkand / Shakre Sabz / Bukhara – 378 kms
Morning departure for Bukhara. Enroute visit Shakre Sabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane. We shall see the Ak-Saray Palace ruins, the Dorus Tilavat, the Kok Gumbaz mosque, the Dorus Saidat and the Friday mosques. In the afternoon continue to Bukhara. On arrival transfer to hotel. O/n
Day 5: Bukhara (WH)
One of the grandest of Uzbek cities, Bukhara is an open-air museum with numerous mosques, madrassahs and the grand minaret. Whole day sightseeing some of the best madrassahs with excellent tiling, mosaics, and outstanding brick work. Sightseeing will include: the Lab-e-Khauz complex and the Nadirkhon Devanbegi madrassah, the Mogaki Attari mosque, the Poi Kalon minaret and mosque, the madrassahs of Aziz Khan and Ulugbek, the Ark Fortress houses. The fortress was used as a residence-cum-army headquarters by the Bukhara emirs. There is a nice collection of gifts received by Bukhara emirs during the Khanate days and a nice wooden mosque of Balokhauz nearby. The most interesting of Bukharan monuments is the mausoleum of Ismail Samani which serves as the best example of the 10th century brickwork. O/n
Day 6: Bukhara / Khiva – 430 kms
Morning depart for Bukhara via Kizilkum (red sand) desert – we shall make a short stop at the spot offering a nice view of the Amudarya (Oxus) river bank. Picnic lunch enroute. Arrival in the late afternoon and transfer to hotel. O/n
Day 7: Khiva (WH)
Full day sightseeing tour of Khiva we shall visit – Ichan Kala, Kalta Minor, Kunya Ark, the Rakhimkhon madrassah. Later proceed to see the mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud, the Islam Khodja minaret and museum, the Friday mosque and the Tashauli Palace/harem. Later in the afternoon free walks in the walled city. O/n
Day 8: Khiva / Nukus – 175 kms
After breakfast drive to Nukus. Enroute, short stops at desert forts. On arrival transfer to hotel. Later visit the Arts Museum of Karakalpakstan more popularly known as the Savitsky Museum renowned for rare masterpieces of the Russian avant-garde school of painting. This collection survived Stalin era purges thanks to the tireless work and protection by Igor Savitsky, curator of the museum who collected and displayed these priceless works. Also visit the Regional Museum proud of its collection of embroidery and tribal nomadic carpets of Krakalpaskstan and archaeological finds from the desert forts of the region. We shall also visit ancient necropolis reminiscence of the lost Zoroastrian culture. O/n
Day 9: Nukus / Kunya Urgench / Dashoguz / Ashgabat (Turkmenistan)
Morning depart for Turkmen border. After the formalities proceed to Kunya-Urgench (Old Urgench) to see the former capital of the Khorezmshah Empire (100 km). We will see the mausoleum of Turabeg Khanum (15 c.), the highest medieval minaret of Kutlug Temur (11-14 cc.), the mausoleum of Sultan Tekesh (late 12 c.), and the mausoleum of Il-Arslan (the mid 12 c.), the founder of the pre-Mongol Khorezmshah empire. We will also visit a cosy museum in Kunya-Urgench, the displays of which are located in khujras (prayer cells) of the former madrasah. Then, we continue to Dashoguz to take a flight to Ashgabat. On arrival transfer to hotel. O/n
Day 10: Ashgabat
Full day sightseeing tour of Ashgabat – including the fortress of Old Nisa (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the impressive complex of the biggest mosque in Turkmenistan and the family mausoleum of the first President. We will also see independence period parks and monuments, such as the Monument and Park of Independence and the Arch of Neutrality, extraordinary Wedding Palace “of Happiness”. We will also visit the National Museum of History. O/n
Day 11: Ashgabat / Mary – by flight
After breakfast at hotel, we start our sightseeing. We will drive to Geok-Depe (40 km/1 hr) to see real pure-blood Akhal-Tekke horses at Arkadash stud farm. On our way to the farm, we will pass by a former Tekke stronghold, which was the site of the biggest battle for the Russian domination in Central Asia in the late 19 c. The fortress is also a site of a beautiful Geok-Depe mosque. Then we return to Ashgabat, to visit the National Carpet Museum – (day off SUN & PM SAT), exhibiting an interesting collection of hand-made Turkmen carpets and various carpet objects. Then, we fly to Mary (40 min by Boeing 717 or 737). On arrival transfer to hotel. O/n
Day 12: Mary / Ashgabat – by flight
After breakfast at hotel we head 25 km to the east of Mary, towards the glorious Ancient Merv (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Within the limits of the archaeological park, we will observe all constituent parts of the “wandering city” – the ancient Erk Kala and Gyaur Kala, the medieval Sultan Kala with its suburbs, and the post-medieval Abdulla-Khan Kala and Bayram-Ali-Khan Kala). Then head back to Mary to visit local History Museum. Evening flight back to Ashgabat. O/n
Day 13: Departure home
Early morning transfer to airport for international flight home.
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