UZBEKISTAN & KYRGYZSTAN
Combined Tour on the Silk Road
15 days /14 nights
The itinerary: Tashkent-Khiva-Bukhara-Samarkand-Tashkent-Kokand-Rishtan-Ferghana-Osh-Bishkek-Issyk kul – Karakol – Bishkek – Chonkurchak – BishkekITINERARY
HOME – TASHKENT (flight + 10 km)
Departure from home with TURKISH AIRLINES via Istanbul or AEROFLOT via Moscow and overnight on board. Early morning arrival in Tashkent. Meet guide of your group, transfer to hotel (10 km) and overnight.
TASHKENT – URGENCH – KHIVA (excursion + flight + 35 km)
Breakfast. “Check out” hotel. Transfer to the north-east part of Tashkent, that’s ancient part called as ‘old city’. It looks like a maze of narrow dusty streets overlooked by low houses from brick and mud. Madrassa Kukaldosh (XVI cen.) was built in 1561. It is operational Madrassa in Tashkent only for boys (not girls) as Muslims high school & 400 students are taught there. Transfer to Museum of Applied Arts, which was built (the end of the XIX century) by Russian ambassador Plovsev, who used it as his residence. It exists as museum since 1937. Transfer to airport & departure for Urgench with local flight HY-1057 (18:40 – 20:20). Arrival in Urgench & transfer to Khiva (35 km). Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
After breakfast in the hotel we start full day city tour of Khiva – one of the most fascinating cities in the region. Its facilities are in Arabic style with color ranging from light blue to turquoise; there remained virtually intact since the sixteenth century. A traditional story attributes the name to one of the sons of Noah: “It is said that Shem, after the flood, he found himself wandering in the desert alone. It is possible to see this well in Ichan-Kala (an internal town of Khiva City) even today. There are 4 gates and walls with length 2500 meters. Madrassa Mukhammad Amin Khan (XIX century) was the biggest madrassah, there were 125 rooms for 250 students. Minaret – Kalta Minor (XIX cen.) Recurring ornaments, painted ceilings, majolica panels, and exquisite carving and tracery windows with grilles make the palace Tash Hovli as a gem of ancient architecture. Dinner at local restaurant & overnight in the hotel.
KHIVA – BUKHARA (480 km)
Breakfast. Transfer to Bukhara (480 km). Our route goes crossing the Amu-Darya River and the Red Desert (Kyzilkum). In Uzbekistan there are two great rivers: the Amu-Darya (in classical Greek known as the Oxus) and the Syr-Darya (known as Jaxartes or Yaxartes by the Greeks). Amu Darya flows through Turkmenistan from south to north, passing Turkmenabad and marking the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan from Khalkabad. The Kyzylkum Desert, it is the 16th largest desert in the world. Bukhara – is the city, which is important for country’s economy with its mineral deposits, particularly gold, uanium, aluminium, copper, silver, oil and natural gas. The history of Bukhara stretches back for millennia. The origin of its inhabitants goes bac to the period of Aryan immigration into the region. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long been a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. During the golden age of the Samanids in the 9th and 10th centuries, Bukhara became the intellectual center of the Islamic world and therefore, at that time, of the world itself. UNESCO has listed the historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassahs, as one of the World Heritage Sites. Arrival in Bukhara and hotel accommodation. Free time. Dinner at local restaurant & overnight in the hotel.
Breakfast. Excursion in the historic center of Bukhara – functioned as one of the main centers of Persian civilization since its early days in the VI century BC – Turkish speakers gradually moved in from the VI century AD. The city’s architectural and archaeological sites form one of the pillars of Central Asian history and art. The region of Bukhara long formed a part of the Persian Empire. The mausoleum of Samanids is located in the historical urban nucleus of the city of Bukhara, in a park laid out on the site of an ancient cemetery. There is also an interesting metal sculpture of Khodja Nasriddin, the quick-witted and warm-hearted man, who forms the central character of many children’s folk stories in the Central Asian and Indian subcontinent, sitting atop his mule with one hand on his heart and the other with an ‘All OK’ sign above his head. Dinner at local restaurant & overnight in the hotel.
BUKHARA – SHAKHRISABZ – SAMARCANDA (270 km + excursion + 140 km)
Breakfast, transfer to Shakhrisabz (270 km). It means city of green or verdant city. It is a city in southern Uzbekistan located in the southern part of Samarkand. It was a major city of Central Asia, it is primarily known today as the birthplace of 14th-century Turk-Mongol conqueror Timur. Shahrisabz was the birthplace of Timur on April 9, 1336, who was born in the family of a minor local chief, and during the early years of the Timurids’ Dinasty, enjoyed its considerable patronage. Excursion in The Palace Ak-Saray, which was Timur’s Summer Palace (“White Palace”). It was planned as the most grandiose of all Timur’s constructions. It was started in 1380 by artisans deported by Timur from the recently conquered Khwarezm. Unfortunately, only traces of its gigantic 65 m gate-towers are survived with blue, white and gold mosaics. Above the entry of the Ak-Saray there are big letters saying: “If you challenge our power – look at our buildings!” The Mosque of Kok Gumbaz / Dorut Tilovat Complex. Transfer to Samarkand (140 km). Dinner at local restaurant & overnight in the hotel.
Breakfast. Excursion to the heart of Uzbekistan – Samarkand (“Stone Fort” or “Rock Town”) is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia, prospering from its location on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean. At times Samarkand has been one of the greatest cities of Central Asia. There is evidence of human activity in the area of the city from the late Paleolithic era, though there is no direct evidence of when exactly Samarkand was founded, some theories say that it was founded between the VIII and VII centuries BC. By the time of the Achamenid dynasty of Persia, it was the capital of the Sogdian satrapy. The city was taken by Alexander the Great in 329 BC, when it was known by its Greek name of Marakanda. The city was ruled by a succession of Iranian, Persian, and Turkish peoples until the Mongols under Genghis Khan conquered Samarkand in 1220. In 2001, UNESCO added the city to its World Heritage List as Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures
The Mausoleum of Gur Amir is Persian for “Tomb of the King”. This architectural complex with its azure dome contains the tombs of Tamerlane, his sons Shakhrukh, Miranshakh and grandsons Ulugbek, Sultan Muhammad. Also honored with a place in the tomb is Timur’s teacher Sayyid Baraka. The earliest part of the complex was built at the end of the XIV century by the orders of Sultan Muhammad. Now only the foundations of the madrassah and khanaka, the entrance portal and a part of one of four minarets remains. The construction of the mausoleum itself began in 1403 after the sudden death of Muhammad Sultan, Tamerlane’s heir and his beloved grandson, for whom it was intended. Timur had built himself a smaller tomb in Shahrisabz near his Ak-Saray Palace. However, when Timur died in 1405 on campaign on his military expedition to China, roads to Shahrisabz were under snow, so he was buried here instead. Ulugbek, another grandson of Tamerlane, completed the work. During his reign the mausoleum became the family crypt of the Timurid’s Dinasty. The Registan Square was the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand of the Timurid’s dinasty. The name Registan means “Sandy place” or “desert” in Persian. The Registan was a public square, where people gathered to hear royal proclamations, heralded by blasts on enormous copper pipes called dzharchis – and a place of public executions. It is framed by three madrassas of distinctive Islamic architecture: the three madrassas of the Registan are: The Ulugbek Madrassah (1417–1420), The Tilla-Kori Madrassah (1646–1660) and The Sher-Dor Madrassah (1619–1636). The Ulugbek Madrassa was built during the Timurid’s Empire, has an imposing aiwan with a lancet-arch pishtaq or portal facing the square. The corners are flanked by high minarets. The mosaic panel over the aiwan’s entrance arch is decorated by geometrical stylized ornaments. The square courtyard includes a mosque and lecture rooms, and is fringed by the dormitory cells in which students lived. There are deep galleries along the axes. Originally The Ulugbek Madrassah was a two-storied building with four domed darskhonas (lecture rooms) at the corners. It was one of the best clergy universities of the Muslim Orient in the XV Century. Abdurahman Jomiy (was the great Persian poet, scholar, mystic, scientist and philosopher) studied here. During Ulugbek’s government madrassah was a centre of secular science. The Sher-Dor Madrassah was built in the XVII century by Yalangtush Bahodir (was the ruler of Samarkand), he ordered the construction of the Sher-Dor and Tilla-Kori madrassahs. The tiger mosaics on the face of each madrassah are interesting, in that they flout the ban in Islam of the depiction of living beings on religious buildings. The Tilla-Kori Madrassah (means ‘gilded’) was built 10 years later. It was not only a residential college for students, but also played the role of grand masjid (mosque). It has a two-storied main facade and a vast courtyard fringed by dormitory cells, with four galleries along the axes. The mosque building (see picture) is situated in the western section of the courtyard. The main hall of the mosque is abundantly gilded. The Mosque Bibi Khanum is one of the most important monuments of Samarkand. In the XV century it was one of the largest and most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world. By the mid XX century only a grandiose ruin of it still survived, but now major parts of the mosque have been restored. After his Indian campaign in 1399, Timur decided to undertake the construction of a gigantic mosque in his new capital, Samarkand. The mosque was built using wealth looted during his conquest of India. The Mausoleum of Shah-i-Zinda (means “The Living King”) is a necropolis in the north-eastern part of Samarkand. The Shah-i- . Dinner at local restaurant & overnight in the hotel.
SAMARKAND – TASHKENT (excursion + 280 km)
Breakfast, free time till 12.00. ‘Check out’ from the hotel. Excursion in Museum Afrosiyob. It was an ancient site of northern Samarkand, that was occupied from c 500 BC to 1220 AD. Today, it is a hilly grass mound located near the Bibi Khanaum Mosque. Afrasiyab is the oldest part and the ruined site of the ancient and medieval city of Samarkand. It was located on high ground for defensive reasons, south of a river valley and north of a large fertile area which has now became part of the city of Samarkand. The habitation of the territories of Afrasiyab began in the VII-VI centuries BC, as the centre of the Sogdian culture. The Tomb of Daniel is the traditional burial place of the biblical prophet Daniel. Various locations have been named for the site, but the tomb in Susa, Iran, is the most widely accepted, it being first mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela, who visited Asia between 1160 and 1163. Transfer to Tashkent. Dinner at local restaurant & overnight in the hotel.
TASHKENT – KOKAND – FERGANA (350 km total + excursion)
Breakfast. Drive to Fergana Valley (350 km drive till Fergana city). The steep road which connects Fergana Valley with the rest of Uzbekistan runs via picturesque mountain pass Kamchik (2267 m. above the sea level). The first stop will be in the city of Kokand where you will visit: Khudoyar-Khan Palace (1871) – a pearl of Kojand. It is the palace of the last ruler of Kokand Khanate’s Khudoyar Khan. 16 thousand people, 80 masters, worked on its construction and 1000 carts. were used for it. Today the palace is the museum of local history, expositions of which tell about the past and present of Kokand. Jami Mosque (XIX century) – is the true decoration of Kokand’s Chorsu square. Citizens cannot imagine their city without this magnificent mosque. The western part of the vast courtyard of the mosque is occupied with khanaka and big aivan, the roof of which is supported by 98 columns. Norbut-biy Madrasah (XVIII century) – a bright example of craftsmanship of Kokand architects. It was the largest religious point of the city, and in the 19th century turned into the largest educational centre in Kokand. Dinner & overnight at the hotel.
FERGANA – border point – OSH – BISHKEK (280 km total + excursion)
In the morning transfer to Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan border point. Crossing the border. Customs and passport control check on both sides. In Kyrgyzstan your guide will pick you up at the border and accompany you to Osh. In Osh city you will go for a walk there and visit the most famous place – Suleiman Mountain. Suleiman Too (Solomon’s Mountain) is situated in the center of the city and it is considered to be a pilgrimage place for local Muslims. According to the legend, biblical prophet Solomon (Suleiman in the Koran) was buried at the foot of it. After it we will visit an Asian bazar. In the evening we will transfer you to the airport to have a flight to Bishkek city. In Bishkek you will have a dinner in a national restaurant. Night is in a hotel.
Bishkek – Burana – Issyk Kul northern shore
The first half of the day is dedicated to a guided Bishkek City Tour. The tour includes the visiting Pobeda Square (Victory Square), Duboviy Park (Oak Park), Central Ala-Too Square, Old Square, National Philharmonic, and many others places of interest. After traditional lunch you will be transferred to Issyk Kul Lake. On route visiting of Burana Tower (an 11th century minaret) and an open air museum of Balbals (stone warriors). Issyk Kul Lake is the second largest alpine lake in the world (1608m.above sea level). The lake is called “the pearl of Central Asia”. Your dinner and night is in a hotel.
Issyk Kul lake – Karakol
The day starts with a breakfast at 9 o’clock. Afterwards, you have a one hour cruise on a steam boat is the perfect way to enjoy the lake’s beauty. Then you will visit Rukh Ordo, a unique cultural and spiritual complex of culture and tolerance of religious diversity. Located right on the shore of the lake it perfectly demonstrates its beauty and magnificence. On the way, we will take a short break to give you the opportunity to visit ancient stone inscriptions (dating back to 800 B.C.). These petroglyphs were made more than 2 000 years ago by shamans. After lunch you will start your trip to Karakol city. We continue our way along the northern shore of the lake to the town of Karakol. You will visit the Dungan mosque. One of its highlights is the fact that it was built in a Chinese style without using a single metal nail. The mosque will be followed by a visit to an old wooden Orthodox Church. Also you will visit the museum of M.V. Prejvalsky, one of the world’s greatest explores. The night ist spen in a hotel.
Karakol – Issyk Kul southern shore – Bishkek
Today we will drive to Jeti Oguz gorge. It’s famous for its red rocks formations that have a name Seven Bulls – Jeti Oguz. Also you will see there the Broken Heart Mountain. If you want it is possible to go on a top of a mountain (20 minutes) to see a panorama view of the gorge. Then we continue our trip, breaking in Bokonbaeva village, where we will meet a local eagle-hunter. He hunts hares and foxes with the help of eagles. It is an ancient kind of hunting animals preserved from generation to generation. You will find out a lot of interesting facts about it and you will see eagle hunting show. After this visit we will continue our way to Bishkek. Night is in a hotel.
Bishkek – Chon Kurchak – Bishkek
In the morning you will travel by 4X4 cars to Chon Kurchak. You will see a lot of completely different mountain views and you will fall in love with Kyrgyzstan. Today we have an interesting route over mountain landscapes and you will have an exciting drive on a traffic-free unpaved road. Following these roads along mountain gorges, weaving and switch-backing, up and down; this day provides the ideal opportunity to explore Kyrgyzstan. After it we return to Bishkek.
Bishkek – Airport
In the morning is transfer to airport.