Navruz in Uzbekistan
Sogda Tour

Duration: 8 days / 8 nights

Route:Tashkent – Urgench – Khiva – Bukhara – Samarkand – Tashkent

Day 1 – In – Tashkent (air) – Urgench – Khiva

Arrival in Tashkent midnight. Meeting at the airport. Transfer to hotel for early check in. Rest.

Breakfast. 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

Transfer to airport and take evening flight to Urgench by HY.

Arrival in Urgench and drive to Khiva.

O/n at hotel.

Day 2 – Khiva

Breakfast at hotel. 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 traveller 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 coloured brick and mosaics. The main characteristics of the buliding 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 traveller Vambery reported that the medressa had 250 pupils.

O/n at hotel.

Day 3 – Khiva – Bukhara (450 km/7hrs)

Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Bukhara by coach.

  1. Late afternoon arrival and check in hotel.

O/n at hotel.

Day 4 – Bukhara

Breakfast at hotel. Full day sightseeing:

  • ARK Fortress
  • Watching celebration of Navruz in the Park
  1. Lunch in local restaurant. Continue SS:
  • Poikalon complex with “Kalyan” mosque, “Miri Arab” madrasah (from outside) and “Kalyan” minaret (from outside)
  • Three Trading Domes
  • Magoki Attori mosque
  • Lyabi – Haus (XVI – XVII c) – a complex with Nodir – Devon Begi madrassah, khanaka and big pool surrounded by trees
  • Chor-Minor

Folklore Show at Medresse.

Festive dinner at traditional restaurant.

O/n at hotel.

Day 5 – Bukhara – Samarkand (280 km/4hrs)

Breakfast at hotel. Continue sightseeing:

  • Bolo Khauz Mosque (1712) Mosque Near the Pool.
  • Chashma Ayub Mausoleum
  • Samanid’s mausoleum
  1. Drive to Samarkand. Arrival and check in hotel.

O/n at hotel.

Day 6 – Samarkand

Breakfast at hotel.

Watching “Buzkashi” national horse-riding game

Full day sightseeing:

  • Gur Amir mausoleum
  • Registan Square with Madrassah of Ulugbek, Sher Dor & Tillya Kari.
    1. Lunch in local restaurant.
  • Shahi Zinda mausoleum complex
  • Bibi Khanum mosque
  • Ulugbek’s Observatory ruins

Watching of Sumalyak (Traditional Navruz sweets) preparation in National House.

Having dinner and acquaintance with people in the family.

O/n at hotel.

Day 7 – Samarkand – Tashkent (320 km/5hrs)

Breakfast at hotel. Full day sightseeing:

  • Siab Bazaar (closed on Monday)
  1. Drive to Tashkent. Arrival in Tashkent and sightseeing incl:
  • Khast Imom Complex including Barak Khan Madrassah, Kaffal Shashi mausoleum, Quran Library & Mosque.
  • Independence (Mustakillik) Square

O/n at hotel.

Day 8 – Tashkent – Out (air)