TURKMENISTAN AND UZBEKISTAN
Cities: Khiva - Koneurgench - Ashgabat - Mary - Bukhara - Samarkand - Shahrisabz -Tashkent
Duration: 11 days
In Brief:This is the tour that you’ve been dreaming of! An unforgettable journey awaits you as we cover 2 stans that are most extraordinary among the 5 ‘stans in 11 days. While these countries share many similar traits, you will learn the subtle differences between them. You will visit most of the iconic images that the Great Silk Road in Central Asia has to offer. Among the many highlights of this tour you will see the wonders of Konyegench, Ashgabat, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand and everything between them! Once your tour is finished, you will have accomplished what few others have done! Your journey begins at your point of arrival, Tashkent. After your tour of the “Stone City”, you will fly to Khiva and explore the wonders one of the world’s most famous open-air museums. From Khiva, you will cross the border to Turkmenistan to see the ancient cities of Konyegench, Ashgabat, and Mary. From Mary, you will re-cross the border and continue your journey to Uzbekistan to gaze at the architectural wonders of Bukhara and Samarkand. From here, we will drive to Tashkent where you will rest and relax at your hotel.
As soon as you arrive at the Tashkent International Airport, our outstanding support staff will meet you and whose duty is to help you with all border formalities, assistance in collecting your baggage, and filling out the proper declaration forms. They are very helpful, especially if you are traveling with your family or with a big group since airports and formalities can be a challenge.
Once you have cleared customs, you will be met by a representative of our company who will welcome you to Uzbekistan and escort you to your hotel. Of course, they are there to assist you with your hotel accommodations and answer any questions you have.
After you have rested from your long journey, we will start your tour in the capital of Uzbekistan – the biggest city in Central Asia. While many parts of the old city were destroyed by a terrible earthquake in 1966, it was rebuilt in a very short period through the help of people throughout the former Soviet Union.
However, some parts of the old city survived the earthquake and were able to flourish as before. This part of the city is called Chorsu and will include visiting such sites of historic importance as the BarakKhanMadrasa with its gorgeous turquoise domes and intricate tile work; JamiMosque (Friday Mosque); the KaffalShashiMausoleum ― the poet and scholar; the library of the InstituteAlBukhari, which houses a sacred Koran dating from the seventh century, the only 4th preserved Koran of Osman.
Afterwards, you will enjoy your time in the newer part of the city with its wide boulevards and green, spacious parks; Independence Square, AlisherNavoi Theater, Amir Temur Square, and the Monument of Courage, which is dedicated to the victims of the earthquake in 1966.
After breakfast, we will take you to the airport for your flight to Khiva. Total flight time is about 1.5 hours.
Your driver will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel, which is located in the center of the ancient city.
After a short rest, you can start your Itchan Kala (internal city wall) tour with our local guide. Your visit to the oldest part of the city will include: Kunya-Ark Fortress and the KurinishKhana (17 c.); Mohammed-Amin-Khan Madrassah (19 c.), Islam Khodja Minaret; Palvan-Kari complex; Abd Al Bobo complex (18 c.); RafanekMadrassah; Mohammed Rakim Khan (19 c.); Amir-TurMadrassah; Sho-I-KalandarBobo Mausoleum.
Lunch time - We recommend having your lunch at the national house. Get acquainted with an Uzbek family, sample delicious Uzbek dishes, and experience their world-famous hospitality!
Continuing city tour:
Mazari Sharif Madrassah; Kheivak Well (10 c.); UchAvlioli (Three Saints) Mausoleum; Jami Mosque (18 c.); Kutluq-Murad InaqMadrassah (19 c.); Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum.
Free time at your leisure.
You have a free morning in Khiva before we depart to Turkmenistan. After lunch, we will drive to Turkmenistan border. After finishing with border formalities we will be driven to the hotel.
Sightseeing day in Koneurgench. Visitng Koneurgench-the capital of Khorezmshahs (III-XVI cc). SS of the Old City includes: Portal of Caravansaray (XI-XIV), Mamun Minaret (X-IX), Il Arslan Mausoleum (XII), Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum (XIII), Academy of Horezm (III-XIII), Kutlug Timur Minaret (XIV)-one of the tallest minarets in Central Asia, Turabek Hanum Mausoleum (XIV), Najm Ed Din Kubra (XIII) & Soltan Ali (XV) Mausoleums located near Dash Metjit/Medrese (XIX). Flight to Ashgabat
Morning proceed with SS in/around Ashgabat includes: “Turkmenbashynyn Ruhy Metjidi” which is biggest in Central Asia & Mausoleum Complex of the tombs of Turkmenbashy and his parents with his brothers, Old Nissa-The Sanctuary of Parhian Kings (Nissa is situated in 15 km to the west of Ashgabat & founded in the III century B.C. Nissa was the capital of Parthian Empire which lasted for about 600 years and was the biggest competitor for the Rome Empire. Here there were the palace & temple buildings, the depositories & the treasury of the Parthian Kings. During the Old Nissa excavations the monumental constructions are exposed-the temples (round & tower). Taking into consideration the great scientific-cultural meaning, the site of the ancient town is declared the historical-cultural preserve. It was inscribed at the World Heritages Book by the UNESCO). After Old Nissa proceed with SS of Monuments of Archabil Shayoly (Berzengi) to have a close impression of the new part of Ashgabat with its modern buildings, monuments & parks which includes: Health Path of Turkmenbashy built on mountains which became very popular place among locals especially its park is crowded with families who come for picnic and playing with their children, Monument of Constitution opened on 18 May, 2011 & tallest building in Turkmenistan with its 185 meters, Newly Opened “Alem” Culture Center: it’s the biggest indoor Ferris Wheel included into the Guinness Book. Museum of Turkmen Carpets (closed on Sundays) for extra entry fees paid on spot if visited: it is believed there are only 3 carpet museums in the World & this is one distinguishable among them with its ways of exposition & number of different unique differs. Here is also kept the biggest hand made carpet in the world with the Guinness Book Certificate). After lunch break proceed with SS includes: National Museum of History & Ethnography (closed on Tuesdays) for extra entry fees paid on spot if visited: highly recommendable one of the biggest & best exhibited museum in Central Asia, Arch of Neutrality: famous rocket & tripod style built monument symbolizing neutral status of Turkmenistan which was re-build & opened on 12 December, 2011. Its height 95meters including 12 meters rotated statue of first President of Turkmenistan: Saparmyrat Nyyazow (Turkmenbashy) on the top, Walking tour within the Park of Independency along the hundreds of fountains & statutes with stops to visit Monuments of Independency & Ruhnama. Evening/night short walking tour along the popular newly opened Park of Inspiration “Ylham Seyilgahi” where there are statues of famous Turkmen Scientists, Poets & etc from early ages till modern time with descriptions about their personalities & famous works highlighted by colorful night lights with vary fountains built along the alley. Evening flight to Mary
SightseeingOld Merv includes: Gyz Gala & Oglan Gala (VI-VII), Complex of Askhabs (VIII-XIV), Gyaur Gala (IV BC), Erk Gala (VI BC), Soltan Gala (XI), Soltan Sanjar Mausoleum (XII), Ibn Zeid Mausoleum (XII). Upon arrival accommodation & rest or if time allows possible to go for walking tour within the central part of Mary City which has The Regional Mosque of Mary Province, The Central Theater of Mary, The Convention & Conference Center “Ruhiyet Koshgi”, Central Park & Monument of Mollanepes-the National Classic Poet who lived in Mary in XVIII-XIXcc. Drive to Uzbekistan border, visiting on road Turkmenabat and the Floating Bridge lasting ~900 meters over the Greatest River of Central Asia from where is visible nearbythe Oldest Railway Bridge in this part of Central Asia built at the end of XIX century over that “mad” river which till 2009 was the only one connecting south with north. Border formalities. Drive to Bukhara UZBEKISTAN.
Your personal guide will come to pick you up at the hotel and you can start exploring the fabulous caravan city of Bukhara. UNESCO, in naming Bukhara a World Heritage site, states: “It is the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia, with an urban fabric that has remained largely intact.” You will have an active day by visiting: Lyab-i-Hauz – a cozy pond where local people get together for a cup of tea; Madrassahs – to learn about ancient Islamic schools: Nadir Divanbegi – Madrassah (17 c.); Magoki Attari (16 c.), Ulug Beg (15 c.), Abdul Aziz (17 c.).
Registan Ensemble, Ark Fortress (16 c.) and Bolo-Hauz complex (18 c.). There is plenty to see after lunch: Visit to Ismael Samani Mausoleum (9-10 c.) – the vault of the Bukhara rulers' dynasty; Chor-Minor, Chashma-Ayub Mausoleums (14 c.); Bukhara local bazaar.
Visit to Old Bukhara: Poli-Kalon ensemble including Minaret (12 c.); Mosque (15 c.); functioning Madrassah Miri-Arab (16 c.); Amir Alim-Khan Madrassah (14 c.); Taqi (trading domes); Kukeldash Madrassah (16 c.); short drive outside of the city to visit theSitorai Makhi Khosa, popularly known as the last Emir’s Summer Palace.
In the evening you can enjoy a national concert of Central Asian music, dancing, and a demonstration of our national clothes.
After the show you will visit a local family to experience Uzbek lifestyle and hospitality; and participate in a master class of making plov – our national dish from rice. (Should be re-confirmed by your local guide).
Enjoy your morning at leisure in Bukhara. This is an excellent opportunity to shop, photograph, or just take a relaxing stroll among the ancient monuments and the old narrow streets.
After lunch, we will drive to our next destination, the beautiful city of Samarkand. On the road, we will have several stops: Gijduvan, a village famous for traditional pottery crafts. You will see a demonstration of the making of traditional bowls, dishes, handicrafts, and handmade textiles (suzanes). This is the perfect place to find souvenirs. Rabat Mallik Caravan Sarai, a motel for traders along the Silk Road (10 c.).
*Another option is to drive to Samarkand through the small town of Shahrisabz. We always leave this decision to be made by the traveler, as it is a 3-hour road trip. Shahrisabz is the birth place of Tamerlane, and possesses 3 popular attractions: Ak – Saray; the ruins of Timur’s Palace; and Kuk Gumbaz – the Friday mosque and Mausoleum of Jahangir, the son of Amir Temur.
Arriving late Samarkand, you will be driven directly to your hotel for rest and relaxation.
We head out to explore this remarkable city, one of the most romantic in the world. This was the center of Tamerlane’s empire, immortalized in the words of Edgar Allen Poe: “Look ‘round thee now on Samarkand! Is not she queen of Earth?” Tamerlane (Timur, 1336-1405) was a descendent of Genghis Khan, but Turkic-speaking and steeped in Persian and Islamic culture. He is credited with dismantling the Mongolian Empire and establishing the great Mughal Empire that eventually stretched all the way to India, where it would last for centuries.Visiting: Guri Emir – Legendary mausoleum where Amir Temur and all his family buried.
Registan Square– World famous complex of 3 madrasahs and the golden domed mosque.
Mosque Bibi Khanum – The biggest mosque ever built in Central Asia as gift to Tamerlane from his wife.
Siyab local bazaar – unique place where you can get acquainted with the life of Samarkand’s people; Shahi - Zinda necropolises, a holy place and cemetery with graves of Temured’s dynasty, and the grave of the cousin of the Prophet Mohammed.
Observatory of Ulugbek – incredible, ancient construction from the 15th century for studying astronomy.
If you are interested in visiting the winery and carpet factory, please do not hesitate to ask your guide/driver.
Your dinner can be organized at Nigina’s family house, a national treasure recognized by UNESCO. (Re-confirm with your guide or driver).
Free morning in Samarkand. Your driver is always at your disposal and can take you anywhere you wish for your spare time. We can recommend going to Registan square or local bazaar.
Transfer to Tashkent
On road small picnic to enjoy the view of mountain pass around legendary gate of Tamerlane’s state. Photo stops near second Largest river of Central Asia Sirdarya, local fish market and famous market where the best melons are sold in the whole region. Photo stops at cotton fields (depending on season)
*OR miss all above mentioned activity and catch a train to Tashkent by fast Spanish train “Afrosiab” (230 km p/h, 2 hours traveling time)
Transfer to the airport to begin your journey home. If you would prefer to extend your stay, we can arrange an additional itinerary based upon your interests.
Services included in main tour price:
- Double / Single accommodation with breakfast
- English speaking guide in each city
- Transport service all over tour by luxury air conditioned car
- Portages charge at airports and hotels Tips at the airports and hotels
- Picnic and coffee stops
- Unlimited supply of mineral water
- Unlimited entrance fees to all sightseeing
- Folklore shows in Bukhara city
- Visa support documents
- Farewell dinner with all beverages (Only for groups starting from 6 people)
Services excluded in main tour price:
- Airfare due to the program (international and local)
- All optional deviations from the main itinerary
- Photo-and video charges
- All personal expenses (extra luggage fee, room service, Medical expenses/insurance, etc.)
Moreover, you can also choose one of our free-of-charge activities:
1) Tashkent: Tickets to see performances at the Alisher Navoi Theatre,
Visiting Christian churches,
Cup of tea at Tashkent TV tower restaurant
Subway – you will be amazed by the architecture and artwork in the stations
Tashkent zoo and botanical garden.
Any of the numerous museums in Tashkent
2) Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Ferghana: Decussating of local wines of local factories, all museums, and theatres. Taking part in national holidays, parties, customs, and traditions. Visiting Uzbek families, schools, medical institutions, bazaars, archives of ancient books, and libraries.
3) Lunches / Dinners. We usually do not include meals on our tours (in Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan part) as you might want to have flexibility on your evenings. Just tell your driver the time and your preferences and he will find you a great place. You can have a really good meal between $5-10$ - $ 20 (USD).