A trip through the pearls of the Silk Road such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan is full of history, cultural treasures, and natural wonders. The favorable geographical location of Central Asia once made it the center of the Great Silk Road, and the creation of the oldest trading network in the world made an unmistakable contribution to the development of culture, traditions, but especially architecture. See Stone Age petroglyphs (prehistoric rock art), learn about the way of life of the locals in every country, and meet hospitable people! Let yourself be inspired by the magic of Central Asia!
Day 1: Flight to Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
You fly to Tashkent with a stop in Istanbul or Moscow. You arrive in Tashkent at midnight or early the next day. You meet with your guide at the airport. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight stays in Tashkent. (Hotel: Arien Plaza Hotel or similar)
Day 2: Arrival in Tashkent (B, D)
Today we experience the contrasting of the capital of Uzbekistan, which presents itself in a mixture of post-Soviet charm and oriental flair. It is astonishing how well modernity and tradition merge in Tashkent. In the old town, we visit the Khast-Imam complex, in which the oldest version of the Koran is kept. On the large square, we visit the Tilla Sheikh Mosque, Barak Khan Madrasah, and Mausoleum Kaffal Shashi and experience the hustle and bustle at the Chorsu Bazaar, which was already known in the middle Ages and was located at the intersection of the caravan processions of the Great Silk Road. In the afternoon we visit the Museum of Applied Arts. We also take a look at Independence Square, Navoi Theatre Square, and the Monument to Earthquake Victims. Then we take an underground journey. At the end of the day, there is dinner and an overnight stay in Tashkent. (Hotel: Arien Plaza Hotel or similar)
Day 3: Tashkent – Morning Flight to Urgench – Fairy-Tale Khiva (B, D)
We fly to Urgench on the morning flight. From there we continue to the beautiful oasis city of Khiva. Check-in at noon. The breath-taking fairy tale city of Khiva reveals the fascination of the legendary Silk Road. The city looks back on more than 2500 years of history, but today’s cityscape was only created between the 18th and 20th centuries, in which the magnificent old town “Ichan Kala” took shape. The old town, a UNESCO cultural heritage, was once the residence of idiosyncratic khans and today is like a living open-air museum. Today we visit the former residence of the Khan – Kuhna Ark, the unfinished minaret Kalta Minor, Juma Mosque, whose wooden beam ceiling is supported by 212 wooden columns decorated with elaborate carvings. Afterward, continue to the famous 19th-century Tosh Hovli Palace and the Islam-Khoja minaret, the symbol of the city. We also visit the Pakhlavon Makhmud mausoleum, the interior of which is considered a masterpiece of Khiva decor art. In the evening we enjoy the sunset over the oasis. Overnight stays in Khiva. (Hotel: Polvon Qori Hotel or similar)
Remarks: Domestic flight Tashkent-Urgench is included.
Day 4: Khiva – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz – Gas Crater (Turkmenistan) – (B, L, D)
In the morning drive to the Turkmen border post-Shavat Dashoguz (60 km). After passport control, crossing 1.5 km neutral zone (there is no means of transport in this zone). Then meet with your Turkmen guide and drive to Kunya-Urgench (100 km). Visit the mausoleums of Turabek Khanum, Sultan Tekesh, Sultan II Arslan, Najmiddin Kubra, Sultan Ali. Discover the Kutlug Timur minaret and the Kyrka Molla Mountain. Drive to the Darvaza crater in the Karakum desert (270 km). Darvaza means “the gate”. The whole area around Darvaza is rich in natural gas. When drilling in 1971, geologists accidentally discovered a gas deposit. The earth beneath the drilling machines collapsed, creating a large hole with a diameter of around 60 to 100 m and a depth of 20 m. To avoid toxic gas discharge, it was decided to ignite the gas. Geologists had hoped that the fire would burn the gas away in a few days, but it is still going on. The locals call the gas crater “Gate of Hell”. The view of the gas crater at night is breathtaking and spending the night in the tents offers a unique opportunity to marvel at this natural wonder. Have a relaxing evening in the peace of the desert and a leisurely dinner by the fire. Overnight stays in a tent in Darvaza. (Accommodation: Tent)
Day 5: Gas Crater – Ashgabat – Nisa (B, D)
After breakfast, we drive to the capital of Turkmenistan today. Ashgabat has seen a boom in “marble architecture” over the past 15 years. Visit the archaeological monuments of Alte Nisa (listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List) and the Spiritual Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Central Asia. Afterward, you visit the National Museum of History and the Neutrality Monument, President Square, the Ertugrul Gazy Mosque, and the newly built Independence Park. Have dinner in the local restaurant. Overnight stays in Ashgabat. (Hotel: Menzil Hotel or similar)
Day 6: Ashgabat – Mary (B, D)
In the morning, take the flight to Mary. Arrival in Mary, drive through the desert to the Gonur Tepe archaeological camp. Discover the excavations from the ancient capital of Margush – Gonur, which consists of the palace, fire and water temple, the royal necropolis. Return to Mary. Visit the Historical Museum. Dinner and overnight stay in Mary. (Hotel: Merv Hotel or similar)
Remarks: Domestic flight Ashgabat-Mary is included.
Day 7: Mary – Ancient Merv – Bukhara (Uzbekistan) – (B, D)
In the morning drive to Merv. Merv was the main center for the trade of international goods and goods on the Silk Road. Discover the historical park with the Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, the Great and Small Gyz Kala, Erk Kala, Gaur Kala (medieval castles), the Keshk Fortress, and other sights. In the afternoon transfer to the Uzbek-Turkmen border crossing (260 k). Upon arrival at the border crossing, go through customs and passport control on both sides. Cross over 1.5 km of neutral zone (means of transport may not be available). Meet with your driver and guide and continue to Bukhara (100 km). We arrive in Bukhara. We have dinner and overnight stay in Bukhara. (Hotel: Lyabi House Hotel or similar)
Day 8: “Noble” Bukhara (B, D)
A highlight of your trip! Bukhara (UNESCO World Heritage Site) presents itself today as a unique authentic museum. The mosques, madrasahs, and minarets are lined up like narrow pearls in narrow, winding streets that are mostly traffic-free. The Poikalon complex is considered a showpiece of Islamic architecture. The Kalon minaret, built in the 12th century, which rises like a lighthouse and once served as a guide for caravans, is the symbol of Bukhara. Other highlights include the Ark Citadel (the former residence of the Emir) and the Samanid Mausoleum. The heart of Bukhara is the architectural ensemble of the Lyabi-Hauz, it consists of three large monumental buildings: the Kukeldash Madrasah in the north, the Madrasah Nadir Divan Begi in the west, and the Khanaka in the east.
The dinner takes place today in an old Jewish house with a Bukharian family. The Suzani sticker Abdurahman tells us about the book embroidery. Try Emir Plov today. (Hotel: Komil Boutique Hotel or similar)
Day 9: Bukhara Sightseeing (B, D)
Today we visit a famous pilgrimage site: the tomb of the founder of the Sufi order Naqshbandi. As is well known, Bukhara is one of the seven holy cities of the Islamic world. Sufism has a large number of directions, and representatives of all orders were trading in the area of what is now Uzbekistan at different times. Sitorai Mohi Khosa – the wonderful summer residence of the last reigning Emir of Bukhara with its imposing park is another highlight. In the afternoon there is still time for your inquiries, small purchases or relax at the Lyabi Hauz with a cup of tea in a cooling water basin and enjoy your free hours with a glass of tea. Overnight stays in Bukhara. (Hotel: Komil Boutique Hotel or similar)
Day 10: Bukhara – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand (B, D)
In the morning we say goodbye to Bukhara and follow the course of the Great Silk Road through the fertile valley of the Amudarya, where cotton is grown and apricots, figs, and melons grow in its moist, shady oases. We first reach Shakhrisabz, the “green city”. Timur (Tamerlane) built his magnificent palace Ak Saray here, which means “White Castle”. Even the ruins that have survived today give an overwhelming impression of its size. We also visit the Kuk Gumbaz Mosque, which with its blue dome is visible from afar and has incredible acoustics. We continue over the mountain pass * to Samarkand with a marvelous panorama. Overnight stays in Samarkand. (Hotel: Ideal Hotel or similar)
* The trip over the mountain pass at Samarkand is only possible with two people; the total distance is 350km (approx. 5 hours 50min.). From 3 people you drive with a minibus and take the detour, a total of approx. 405km (approx. 6 hours 20 minutes)
Day 11: Magnificent Samarkand (B, D)
The fairy tale of a thousand and one nights begins again for us in Samarkand. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and at the same time the center of the famous Silk Road. In the Afrosiyob Museum, we get a closer look at old Samarkand. Then visit one of the largest pilgrimage sites in the Islamic world – the tomb complex of St. Daniel and Ulugbek observatory, once the largest research center in Central Asia. After a rest break, we drive to a tissue paper factory founded by craftsmen brothers Mukhtarov. Thanks to their efforts, the old tradition of paper production using Samarkand technology has been revived in this factory. Interestingly, the whole production is done manually and every guest can watch the process of production. We then visit the Shakhi-Zinda complex, a magnificent ensemble of various mausoleums clad in the Timurid style with majolica and mosaic tiles. Today we have dinner in the “Samarkand” restaurant, where you can experience the country’s culture and people up close. Overnight stays in Samarkand. (Hotel: Ideal Hotel or similar)
Day 12: Samarkand (B, D)
Samarkand is the center of the Silk Road and one of the oldest cities and cultural centers in the world. The city was founded over 2,750 years ago. The city’s architecture makes it look majestic and extremely inviting. The palace-like mausoleum of the ruler Amir Timur, the Gur Emir mausoleum, impresses us today during our city tour. Today we enjoy the highlight of your trip – Registan Square with three impressively huge and artistically decorated madrasahs. Then we visit the once largest mosque in Central Asia – Bibi Khanum Mosque. To demonstrate his unlimited technical and financial possibilities, Timur wanted to build the most beautiful mosque in the eastern world. Afterward, we visit the Siab Bazaar, which puts you in a world of 1001 nights through the hustle and bustle and the oriental scents.
Samarkand is known not only for its historical monuments but also for the production of wine: wine and cognac run through your throat like a balm! After visiting the wine museum in Samarkand in the “Khovrenko” winery, we try 10 of the best varieties of Uzbek wines and cognacs here. After the tasting, in the evening we enjoy typical dishes in a typical Uzbek atmosphere. (Hotel: Ideal Hotel or similar)
Day 13: Samarkand – Panjakent (Tajikistan) – (B, D)
In the morning you are transferred to the “Jartepa” border between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (50 km). We go through customs and passport control and cross the border. On the Tajik side, we meet our local guide and drive to Panjakent (30 km). On the way, we visit excavations from Sarazen. In the city of Panjakent, we continue to visit the Rudaki Museum, a local bazaar, and a mosque. After a lunch break, we drive to the ruins of the ancient city of Panjakent, which is 5 minutes from the modern city. Panjakent was one of the most important Sogdian cities in the 5th century and was destroyed by the Arab conquest in the 8th century. Dinner and overnight stay in Panjakent. (Hotel: Rudaki Hotel or similar)
Day 14: Fascinating Seven Lakes (B, L, D)
We leave the city and make our way to the Fan Mountains. The landscape increases in drama and we reach the Seven Lakes – a unique natural spectacle awaits us here. The lakes all have a different color, which changes depending on the lighting conditions. On foot, we want to discover the landscape on a hike and marvel at the lakes from different perspectives. We have dinner and overnight in a simple inn in the Seven Lakes region. Overnight stays in the village of Padrud. (Accommodation: Guesthouse)
Day 15: Mountains on Lake Iskandarkul – Saritag Village (B, L, D)
The trip takes us to the mountain lake Iskandarkul – a beautiful turquoise mountain lake, where we take a break on the shore of the lake. On arrival at Lake Iskandarkul, we walk to the “Fan Niagara” waterfall, which rushes 24 meters from the Iskandar River. Where the Iskandardarya River drops from a height of 24 meters, we visit Snake and Iskandarkul Lakes. Not far from here is the small village of Saritag, where we stay with a local family today and get to know the Tajik hospitality. After arrival, there is time for a first walk through the village (approx. 1-2 hours) and to get to know our hosts. In the summer months, we may also meet local women with their children who live in simple mud huts and look after the cattle. What an exciting insight into traditional life. Have dinner and overnight in the village of Saritag. (Accommodation: Guesthouse)
OPTION: If you wish, you can take a boat trip on Lake Iskandarkul for a fee. Payment for a boat trip is not included in the standard price.
Day 16: Mountain Passes – Waterfalls & Visit Istaravshan (B, L, D)
We continue on adventurous mountain roads to Khujand. Grandiose mountain passes, Mountain Rivers in rugged rocky landscapes, mud houses under a bright blue sky accompany us as impressions on the arduous path. We continue to the oldest city in the country (around 2,500 years)! Istaravshan was founded by Alexander the Great. We visit Mug Tepa, where once stood a gigantic fort and the blue shimmering Kuk Gumbaz madrasah from the 15th century. Then we continue to our destination, where we end the evening with a first stroll. We have dinner and overnight stay in Khujand. (Hotel: Khudjand Grand Hotel or similar)
Day 17: Onward Journey to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) – (B, D)
In the morning we have a sightseeing tour in Khujand, the second-largest city in the country on the banks of the Syr-Darya River. The city was once of great strategic importance on the Silk Road leading to the Mediterranean countries. Among other things, they visit the historical museum, which is located in a citadel, and the lively market hall. In the afternoon we say goodbye to Tajikistan and are brought to the border station “Oybek” where our Uzbek guide waits for us. The journey continues to the hotel in Tashkent. To have dinner and overnight stay in Tashkent. (Hotel: Arien Plaza Hotel or similar)
Day 18: Tashkent – Flight to Almaty (Kazakhstan) – (B, D)
We are picked up from the airport and escorted to the city of Almaty. The tour starts with sightseeing in the central part of Almaty. We learn more about the history and development of the southern capital of Kazakhstan and the main sights. We visit a popular spot for city dwellers – the Green Bazaar, where it is impossible to do without shopping. You have a great opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the real eastern market, its colors, smells, and crowds. We continue the tour in one of the oldest Almaty parks – Panfilov Park, where one of the most beautiful wooden houses in the world – the Zenkov Cathedral. We also visit the Cenotaph and Eternal Flame, dedicated to the memory of the fighters who died for the country’s freedom and independence. After exploring the city’s sports, cultural, and business districts, we arrive at the Medeo Gorge, known for the world’s tallest ice rink and the dam that protects the city from dangerous mudslides. The next destination is Kok-Tobe Hill, where the highest television tower in the world is located (if you count from sea level) and where you come through the picturesque winding mountain road. In Kok-Tobe Park we walk on the winding paths of the park and admire the wonderful panorama of the city from the special viewing platform. The tour ends with a short ride from the top of the hill to the center of the city on the famous Almaty cable car. We have dinner and overnight in Almaty. (Hotel: Voyage Hotel or similar)
Remarks: International flight
Tashkent-Almaty in economy class is included.
Day 19: Drive over Charyn Canyon to Issyk Kul (Kyrgyzstan) – (B, L, D)
Drive to Charyn Canyon, one of Kazakhstan’s unique natural monuments. The canyon surprises with its vertical cliffs and is reminiscent of the old castles created by wind, sun, and rain. It takes about 3 hours to reach the canyon. On the way, our guide tells us about the history and nature of the region, about the country and its people and their traditions. The beauty and splendor of the gorge impresses and makes us forget the long way immediately. We admire the wonderful panorama and walk through the labyrinth of the castle Ireland with its inaccessible walls. Continue to the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border. Here Passport control is available and border crossing to Kyrgyzstan. Have dinner and overnight in Karakul. (Hotel: My Hotel Karakul or similar)
Day 20: Karakol – Altyn Arashan – Karakul (B, L, D)
Today we visit a hot spring called Altyn Arashan (“Golden Spring”). There is a river that bears the name Arashan. The water is over 50 degrees. After walking about 5 minutes we reach the first glacier called Palatka, one of the symbols of the village. There we can visit other glaciers and waterfalls as desired. We have dinner and overnight in Karakul. (Hotel: My Hotel Karakul or similar)
Day 21: Karakul – Zhetyoguz -Gorge – Bokonbayevo Village – Chon Kemin (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we drive to the Yety Oguz gorge. On the way we see the broken heart rock. We leave for Chon Kemin. On the way, we make a stop in the village of Bokonbayevo. There we meet a local hunter. There are still some people in the villages who continue this old way of hunting into our day. They train young eagles and falcons and then take them to the mountains every winter to hunt. We learn a lot of interesting facts about this type of hunting and are allowed to take photos and even pick up one of these magnificent birds. Again, we visit a women’s cooperative that manufactures the yurts and traditional Kyrgyz felt carpets.
We arrive in the Chon Kemin valley. The Chon Kemin valley is a unique natural area located in the north of the country. The mountain range varies from 1400 m to 2800 m. The river flows through the valley and is 116 kilometers long. The mountain valley is surrounded on both sides by mountains, glaciers, and fir forests. In the gorge, there are many tourist routes to the numerous mountain passes that connect the Chon Kemin valley with the Issyk Kul area. Traditional dinner and overnight at the inn in Chon Kemin. (Hotel: Ashuu inn or similar)
Day 22: Chon Kemin – Bishkek (B, D)
In the morning we take a hike in a mountain gorge. Later we drive to the country’s capital – Bishkek. On the way, we stop at the Burana tower. It is an 11th-century minaret. At the time of the Great Silk Road, the Burana Tower was a sign for the travelers at the time that there was a place to rest. Nearby there is an open-air museum with balbals (stone figures). These heavy stones, which look like warriors, were built in honor of the brave soldiers who died for their motherland. After an interesting tour and climbing the tower, the journey continues to Bishkek. We have dinner and overnight in Bishkek. (Hotel: Art Hotel or similar)
Day 23: Bishkek – Trip to Ala Archa (B, D)
After breakfast in the hotel, we visit the Ala Archa Gorge. It is a nature park. During the Soviet era, only V.I.P. People go there for a walk. It is only 45 km from Bishkek and the route will not take long. Here you can have a short hike to see a panoramic view of the gorge. Then we return to Bishkek. The second half of the day is devoted to the city tour of Bishkek. The tour consists of visiting Pobeda Square (Victory Square), Duboviy Park (Oak Park), and central Ala-Too Square, Art Museum, National Philharmonic, and the other sights. To have dinner and overnight in Bishkek. (Hotel: Art Hotel or similar)
Day 24: Bishkek – Flight Back Home (B)
Check out at the hotel by noon. Transfer to the airport for the flight home.
Specification: Adventure Trip to Uzbekistan
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