Highlights of Uzbekistan
Sogda Tour

Itinerary:  Tashkent–Urgench-Khiva–Bukhara (Gijduvan)–Samarkand–Tashkent

Duration: 10 days/9 nights

Day 1, In – Tashkent  (air)

Departure to Tashkent via Istanbul by TK.

Day 2, Tashkent

Arrival in Tashkent midnight. Meeting with tour escort guide at the airport and transfer to hotel for early check in. Breakfast at hotel. Rest. Full day sightseeing:

  • Museum of Applied Arts – Located in a house built by a Russian diplomat in the 19th cent., with carved and painted plaster and carved wood, outline of old architectural details from Bukhara and Samarkand, ceramics and textiles.
  • Monument of Courage – built to acknowledge the courage of the people at the time of the Tashkent earthquake on 26th April 1966. The whole city was reduced to rubble and then modern Tashkent was built.
  • Ensemble Hazrati Imom – Here is the tomb of one of the first Imams of Tashkent. The square hosts a beautiful Islamic library, Muyi Muborak, with ancient ceilings and ancient manuscripts and the Osman Koran. It is considered the oldest Koran in the world and is said to have been stained with the blood of Hazrat Osman in 655. Barak-Khan Madrasah was completed in the 2nd half of the 16th century.
  • Chorsu Bazaar – City’s farmers market under a huge cupola that sells spices, grain, dairy products, fruits of the season.  Here you can encounter the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Central Asia and you will have a good chance to see people in the colourful local dress.

Start walking tour around new part of city (4 hrs):

  • Mustaqilik (Independence Square) – the political centre of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Government buildings and the Senate are located here.  Independence Monument was erected 1991 as a symbol of the sovereignty of the country. It shows a golden globe and the outlines of Uzbekistan.
  • Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre (from outside)– The theatre was built on the plans of Alexey Shchusev, the architect of Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow in neoclassical style. The theatre has special significance for Japanese nationals because it was built by the Japanese prisoners of war during the Second World War. A plate acknowledging their contributions is part of the building
  • Amir Temur Monument – is in the centre of Tashkent. Amir Temur, in armour, is sitting on his horse, holding the reins of his horse with his left hand and greeting the people with his right hand.
  • Walking of former Broadway streets

O/n at hotel.

Day 3, Tashkent – Urgench – Khiva (air HY+30 km/30min)

Early breakfast at hotel. Transfer to the airport, morning flight to Urgench by HY.  Arrival. Transfer to Khiva. Full day sightseeing:

  • Ichan Kala was the site of the khan’s palace. High officials and clergy and rich merchants used to live here. This is why we find the most important buildings in the Ichan Kala. The ordinary people, small merchants, craftsmen and peasants lived in Dishan Kala. There were wells in Ichan Kala, whereas people had to draw drinking water from the irrigation channels in Dishan Kala. In the north western part of Ichan Kala is the well, where according to the legend the city was founded by Sem.
  • Kuhna Ark –Khivan rulers commanded from this fortress-residence from as early as the 12th century up to the 17th century when the khans expanded the structure to include a mosque, a harem, and a jail. Most of the buildings date from the 17th cent. The fortress covers an area of 130 x 90 m and was enclosed by a fortification wall 9 m high.
  • Pahlawan Mahmud Mausoleum – one of the most popular places of pilgrimage in Uzbekistan. Pahlawan Mahmud (“the strong man”) was famous for his extraordinary bravery, physical strength as well as his good nature. He was a furrier, but also a wrestler, doctor, poet and saint. The people gave him the title “Pahlavan”, meaning brave and handsome hero, as he defended the poor and is said to have had mystical powers. It was erected in the 18th cent. In the 19th cent. the mausoleum became a necopolis of the princes of the Kungrat dynasty. It is considered as the last great mausoleum building in Central Asia.
  • Islam Khoja Minaret – 45 m high minaret. built in 1908.  However using the same methods as the much older minarets at Bukhara, Wabkent and Konye Urgench. You can see the minaret from every place in Khiva and even from far away in the desert. It is probable that the minaret served military purposes as well. Islam Khoja was great vizier of Khan Asfendijar. He undertook moderate reforms, opened the first secular school and the first hospital and introduced mail and railways. Khan Asfendijar ruled from 1910 to 1920.
  • Kalta Minor – This squat minaret is an iconic symbol of Khiva, mainly because of it’s exquisite blue and green tile work and the fact that it remains unfinished. It was originally supposed to rival the Kalon Minaret in Bukhara, however the architect fled before seeing it finished, fearing he would be put to death by the khan. Kalta Minor dates from the 19th cent.
  • Juma Mosque – the old mosque was already mentioned by the Arab traveler Mohammed al-Magisi in the 10th cent. According to the inscriptions above the entrance the mosque was rebuilt in the 18th cent. It contains 212 ornately carved columns that support the roof, dating back to the 12th to 15th century.
  • Medressa Muhammed Amin Khan – the largest medresse in Khiva. Its facade is made of colored brick and mosaics. The main characteristics of the building are the hujiras (students’ cells). Khan Muhammed Amin was one of the most important khans of Khiva. The medressa was built in 1851/52 and the khan died 1855 in a battle against the Turkmen. The Hungarian traveler Vambery reported that the medressa had 250 pupils.

O/n at hotel.

Day 4, Khiva – Bukhara (450 km/7hrs)

Breakfast in hotel.

Morning departure to Bukhara by coach through Kyzyl Kum desert. For centuries it marked the northern limits of Transoxiana and the edge of the boundless nomadic steppe. You will see Amu Darya one of the two second river of Central Asia separating the Kyzyl Kum from the Kara Kum of Turkmenistan.

Arrival to Bukhara. Accommodation at hotel.

O/n at hotel.

Day 5, Bukhara
  • Ismoil Somoni  Mausoleum –  was built in the 9th (10th) century (between 892 and 943) as the resting-place of Ismail Samani – a powerful and influential Amir of the Samanid dynasty, one of the Persian dynasties that ruled in Central Asia, who held the city in the 9th and 10th centuries. The architects used an ancient tradition of baked brick construction, but to a much higher standard than had been seen before. The construction and artistic details of the brickwork, are still enormously impressive, and display traditional features dating back to pre-Islamic culture.
  • Chashma Ayub Mausoleum
  • Poikalon Complex – consists of three structures, Minorai Kalon, Masjidi Kalon & Miri Arab Madrassa. Minaret was built by the Karakhanid ruler Arslan Khan in 1127. The mosque was built circa 1514 & madrassah was completed in 1536.
  • Ark citadel / Registan Square – From the most ancient times the Ark was the fortified residence of the rulers of Bukhara. Everything could be found there – palaces, temples, barracks, offices, the mint, warehouses, workshops, stables, an arsenal, and even a prison
  • Labi Havz – considered to be the center of the Old City. It means “ensemble near the pool”. The main element of this ensemble is the pool. The ensemble Labi-havz has three monumental structures. These are: Kukeldash madrassah (16th century) built by Abdullah II was, at the time, the biggest Islamic School in Central Asia. Nadir Devanbegi Madrassah (16th century) was intended to be a caravan saray, but according to the order of the ruler Imam Kulimkhan, was reconstructed into a Madrassah. Nadir Devanbegi Khanaka (winter mosque) was built at the same time as the Labi-havz (16th century).
  • Maggoki Attar Mosque – the oldest surviving mosque in Central Asia, dating back to the 9th cent., reconstructed in the 16th cent.  It was built in place of the temple of fire worshipers. Till present time reached the sample recovered in 1546, it is16th stepped hall under two domes. Portals building are a real masterpiece of architectural decoration.
  • Trading Domes consists of three trading centers: Tok-i-Zargaron (1570) – Jeweler’s Bazaar, Tok-i-Tilpak Furushon – Cap Maker’s Bazaar, Tok-i-Sarrafon – Moneychanger’s Bazaar.
  • Visit Jewish quarter and cemetery. Short lecture about Jewish of Bukhara

Folklore show at Madrassah Nodir Dewon Begi.

O/n in hotel.

Day 6, Bukhara
  • Chor – Minor – unique and one of the most surprising buildings in Bukhara with four minarets – one for each corner. It was built in 1807, by Turkmen merchant Khalif Niyazkul.
  • Sitorai Mohi–Khosa (XIX c) – amir’s country residence – constructed in a tight combination of local and European traditions in the countryside near Bukhara. The halls of the palace are richly decorated with carpets & paintings.

In the afternoon free time to explore the city.

O/n at hotel.

Day 7, Bukhara – Samarkand (280 km/4hrs)
  • Gijduvan Ceramics Centre – Gijduvan is a small town located in 46 km from Bukhara. Since the ancient times Gijduvan has developed here. Gijduvan ceramics are well known in Central Asia and recognizable due to its original color and decoration style. Master Abdulloh Narzullaev is the sixth generation hereditary master. His works are well known in Uzbekistan and among ceramists abroad. He participates in more than 50 international exhibitions. Now he is teaching his sons and daughters the secret of his profession. Visiting the workshop of the master you will get an impression of how original Gijduvan ceramics is produced, participate in process of producing.
  • Get acquaintance with master’s family. Visit home museum of master. Watching the process of making ceramic goods and cooking Uzbek bread in Uzbek clay oven
  • Ruins of former Caravansaray en route

Continue driving to Samarkand.

Arrival & accommodation at hotel.

O/n at hotel.

Day 8, Samarkand
  • Registan Ensemble – Registan became the city square when the life in Afrosiab stopped. Since that time Registan was reconstructed several times. Today it is surrounded by the three Medreses Ulugbek, Sherdor and Tillokori.
  • Ulugbek’s Observatory – observatory of Timur’s grandson. Only the foundations remain but it is truly extraordinary. Ulugbek was an astronomer, scientist and architect. His scientific and astronomical discoveries greatly advanced knowledge in these fields. The only thing that was preserved is a part of huge sextant – major astronomic instrument, the lowest part of which was in a deep trench (11km).
  • Tomb of Prophet Daniel, Afrosiab – Amongst other curiosities in Samarkand is the tomb of the Hebrew Prophet Daniel, which is in the cemetery section of Afrosiab next to a pleasant stream. It contains a burial chamber around 18 meters long. After the conquest of Syria the grave was transported to Samarkand under the orders of Amir Temur.
  • Bibi-Khanym Mosque – named after the wife of Temur and built between 1399-1404 – is one of best known architectural attractions of Central Asia. The Mosque was erected on Timur’s order after his combat of Delhi. The Minaret of the Mosque was supposed to be the tallest.
  • Visit local Siyab bazar (closed on Mondays).
  • Shakhi-Zinda Ensemble – (9 -14, 19 centuries) situated on southeastern mound of Afrosiab. This architectural complex consists of 44 tombs in more than 20 mausoleums. The greatest significance of Shah E Zinda is that he was the First cousin of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and resembles the Prophet the most.
  • Gur Emir Mausoleum – As a conqueror there are few that are Tamerlane’s equal, both in territory and legacy left. Today one can visit his tomb in the beautifully reconstructed Gur-Emir Mausoleum (1404-1405, 15-17 centuries) and reflect on his life while looking at the largest piece of jade (greenstone) in the world.

O/n at hotel.

Day 9, Samarkand – Tashkent (train)
  • Koni Ghil Paper Mill – The paper is renowned for its exquisite quality and called silk-paper because of its smooth, shiny surface. Many 9th and 10th century Arabic and Persian manuscripts were written on it. Only emirs, sultans and viziers could afford this paper. That is why it is also known as royal paper. The Silk Road caravans exported this paper to Asia, the East and Europe.
  • Non baking experience – visit local bakery, watch the process of traditional Uzbek bread preparation. Meet and talk to people who making bread. Taste hot bread with tea and sweets.
  • Fashion show “Aisha” – it has already been 10 years since Samarkand textile workshop with a beautiful name “Aisha” started its work. It was founded by Valentina Romanenko – a professional fashion designer.

Transfer to the train station, departure to Tashkent by high speed train “Afrosiab”.

Arrival and accommodation.

O/n at hotel.

Day 10, Tashkent – Out (air)

Transfer to airport. Flight to home country.