On Day 1 travellers from all over the world will arrive to Tashkent. There are no activities planned. Upon arrival at the Hotel please check the notice board for trip information and the group meeting - during the group meeting the leader will outline the trip itinerary and answer questions. Free time in Tashkent presents an interesting mix of mosques, mud houses and Soviet architecture deep in the middle of Eurasia. Catch the metro out to Chorsu Bazaar to buy freshly-picked fruit or take in a ballet or opera at the Alisher Navoi theatre.
On Day two we will take a walking tour of the city's highlights.
In the morning of Day 3 a private transfer takes us to Samarkand (about 6 hours drive). Explore the mosaic-covered medressas and open spaces of the spectacular Registan, once the heart of Uzbek learning. One of the oldest cities in the world, Samarkand remains one of the most attractive in Central Asia despite a turbulent history of war and earthquakes. The city blossomed under Amir Timur, a tyrannical 14th century ruler. A lover of art, Timur was responsible for the colourful domes and exquisite minarets that now form the city's evocative skyline. While Samarkand fell into disrepair during its Soviet days, restoration is slowly progressing and we take a look at some of the city's most impressive works of art such as the spectacular Registan. This impressive collection of buildings is probably the most recognisable of all of Central Asia's monuments. On Day 4 we take a city tour. The afternoon is free to enjoy the Samarkand sights, have a cup of tea in a local tea house or wonder around the Bazaar.
On Day 5 a private transfer will take us to Nurata (4 hour drive) where we will visit the remains of the military Fortress of Alexander the Great & Holy Chashma (Spring) of Nurata. Proceed to Sentyab village which is located in the picturesque Nurata mountain range for a home stay, a great chance to learn more of the life of villagers or take an optional short walk into the mountains. Evening dinner with local family.
Today we will drive across the desert to the ancient city of Bukhara (about 4 hours) - one of most famous destinations on the Ancient Silk Road. In the morning of day 7 we take a half-day guided walk around the beautifully restored mosques, medressas and covered markets that make up the Old City. There is plenty of time to explore the artisan shops and wander the narrow twisting streets and alleyways. A centre for pottery, cloth and Turkmen carpets, the old city is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees, where you can sit at cafe tables and let the evening drift by. There is also the option to take in a local puppet show held in an old caravanserai or indulge in a Turkish bath.
On Day 8 we take a trip (approx. 8 hours) to the edge of Kyzyl Kum Desert and arrive to the ancient town of Khiva in the afternoon. In the 19th century, Khiva was a centre of mighty Khiva Khanate, which hosted the most famous slave market on the Silk Road - nowadays, it's one of the best preserved ancient cities in the region. Explore the old town surrounded by city walls, bargain with locals on the market and see the town from the top of Friday Mosque's Minaret. Don't forget to have a look at the amazing tiles in the yards of Tash Khauli Khan's Palace. Experience the sand-coloured brick structures populating the inner walls of the Ichon-Qala, wander through the medressas, clambor up minerets, and explore the dark dungeouns Khiva was infamous for back in the 10th century. We have a guided tour of the city on Day 9, followed by free time to experience the amazing local life - browse the shops, wander the lanes, examine handmade silk rugs, sit in a cafe drinking tea or enjoy a cold beer in this ancient historical town.
After a morning drive (1.5 hours) we will explore the Desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm, both listed as UNESCO World Heritage sights. Later we will have chance to stay in yurt & ride on Bactrian Camels.
After breakfast, we drive to Nukus (3 hour drive), capital of the Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic where we will have short tour of the capital & unique museum in Post Soviet area named after Igor Savitskiy which houses the best collection of artifacts of Ancient Khorezm Empire & Russian avant-garde, banned during Stalins rule through the 1960s. Later in the afternoon we take the short flight to Tashkent.
End of the tour