Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
On this once-in-a-lifetime nine-day tour, you will discover the beauty and marvels of historic Uzbekistan, the jewel of Central Asia’s Silk Road. Explore capital city, Tashkent, the center of Islamic study and home to towering minarets and porticos and the grave of Tamarlane himself. From there, enjoy the stunning countryside sweeping past the window of your carriage en route to Samarkand with its fragrant bazaars, vast squares and labyrinthine necropolis. Marvel at the architecture of World Heritage sites, Bukhara and ancient Khiva and witness Uzbekistan’s natural wonders, the deserts of Kyzl Kum and the great Amy Darya River.
Spend your first day acclimating to mesmerizing Uzbekistan in the nation’s capital, Tashkent. Check in to your comfortable hotel and take to the streets to explore the bustling Chorsu Market; in the ‘cultural capital of the Muslim world’, make like a pilgrim and visit the sacred Khast Imam Mosque Library to see the world’s oldest copy of the Quran and marvel at the countless minarets, mausoleums and madrassas.
Travel aboard the Afrosiab rapid train from Tashkent to historic Samarkand, the cornerstone of Tamerlane's mighty empire. See the vast and intricately decorated, turquoise-domed Bibi-Khanym Mosque; experience local delicacies in the Sivab bazaar; wander among the fountains of Registan Square and marvel at the architecture of its three stunning madrassas, decorated with mosaics and minarets. Finally visit the final resting place of Tamerlane himself at the mausoleum where lies his entire dynasty.
Continue your tour of the wonders of Samarkand with a visit to Shah-i-Zinda, a necropolis formed over nine centuries; the elaborate mausoleum complex is the burial site of Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of the Prophet Mohammed. Gaze at the sky from the the seat of Islamic astronomical discovery - the 15th-century Ulugbek Observatory and learn ancient paper-making methods at the old paper mill. Round off your day of culture at the theater with a traditional El-Merosi performance.
Board the train destined for historic Bukhara and enjoy gliding through the majestic Uzbek scenery. After checking into your cosy accommodation, stroll to one of holy Bukhara’s most important sites, the Po-i-Kalyan complex. Its mosque and madrassa surround the skyscraping minaret, which has served as a lighthouse for travelers on the Silk Road and as the site of medieval executions.
Continue your exploration of the city-museum with a peaceful stroll around the shady pond at Lab-i-Hauz, framed by three beautiful buildings and take in the intricate mosaic work that covers central Asia’s biggest mosque. Experience local craftsmanship at the Dome of Jewelers and the Dome of Hatters. In Samani Park, be amazed by the architecture of the Ismail Samani Mausoleum - the final resting place of the Samanid Dynasty.
Before you leave the UNESCO World Heritage site, visit Buhkara’s opulent royal residences, the Baha-ud-Din Naqshband memorial - a sacred site for Sufi Muslims and wander through the winding alleys of Old Mahalla, the Jewish Quarter. The afternoon is yours to relax, we recommend browsing the domed bazaars of the old town to pick up some souvenirs. In the evening, enjoy dinner aboard the comfortable sleeper train as you travel through the night.
Disembark your train at Urgench and meet your driver who will whisk you to ancient Khiva. The inner-city, known as Itchan Kala, is the first part of Uzbekistan to be deemed a World Heritage Site; your tour inside the crenellated walls will take in the 10th-century Djuma Mosque, with its hall supported by 112 columns and the mausoleum of Sayid Alauddin. After a day of wonders, enjoy dinner at Toza Bog, the last Khan’s Summer palace.
Discover the three hidden fortresses of Ayaz Kala and the crumbling citadel of Toprak Kala, amidst the red sands of the Kyzl Kum Desert, Enjoy lunch in a traditional yurt on the banks of the Amu Darya. After crossing the great river, you will head for Urgench, ready for your relaxing overnight journey cross-country to Tashkent.
Arrive at your hotel in Tashkent, refreshed from your journey and spend the morning relaxing and strolling around the city. We recommend a visit to the Palace of Prince Romanov with its distinct Russian architectural style. In the afternoon, witness exhibits of authentic Uzbek workmanship in the Museum of Applied Art and plunge into the Art Deco style of Tashkent’s stations.