Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
Depart on your flight to Tashkent, Uzbekistan* For flights departing Day 1 and arriving in the early hours of Day 2, a room will be available for you upon arrival.
Welcome to Uzbekistan with its ancient cities accented by turquoise domes, desert landscape and towering minarets. Transfer to your hotel and check-in to the room that will be ready for early arrivals. Balance of the day is at leisure to rest and relax. This evening, attend an orientation meeting with your Tour Manager before tonight’s Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers Overnight: Tashkent Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
The cultural tour of Tashkent begins at Khast Imam Square, religious center of the city and home to many exquisite mosques, monuments and madrasas (centers of Islamic learning) dating back to the 15th century. View the blue-domed Barak-Khan Madrasa with its imposing gateway and the Muyi Muborak Madrasa housing elaborate ancient manuscripts. Passing the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum and Tillya Sheih Mosque you arrive at the bustling Chorsu Bazaar with its bright green dome – acres of spices, sweets, fresh-baked breads and crafts await you! After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the Museum of Applied Arts occupying a home with bright carvings and decorative ceramics. Proceed to the Alisher Navoi Theater built in neoclassical style, the Forum Palace and Amir Temur Square once dominated by a huge statue of Karl Marx, and view the massive Monument of Courage Earthquake Memorial. Ride the Tashkent metro and admire the lavish decorations, a legacy of the former Soviet Union. Conclude the day with dinner at a local restaurant Overnight: Tashkent Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Depart Tashkent by flight to Urgench. From here, travel to Ayaz Kala; view the towering mud-brick walls rising dramatically from the surrounding plains. Built on the edge of the Kyzylkum Desert between the 4th century BC and 7th century AD, these forts are the remains of regal palaces. View King's Palace rising above the town with its three monumental towers that dominate the landscape. At a nearby yurt camp, see traditional housing of Central Asian nomads made of felt that’s easily assembled and disassembled Gather for a meal, wash with water from copper jugs and perhaps even get to ride a camel Afterward, visit the magnificent fortress of Toprak Kala, surrounded by a brick wall before heading to Khiva. Upon arrival , check in to the hotel Tonight, dinner is at a local restaurant Overnight: Khiva Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today, explore medieval Khiva that served as a major trading post on the Silk Road. Walk along the ancient streets within the walled city, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pause at the elegant Muhammad Amin Khan Madrasa with its five domes and minaret decorated with bright geometric patterns of glazed bricks and the distinctive turquoise-tiled Kalta Minor Minaret, one of the iconic symbols of Khiva. Then to the Kunya Ark, the Khiva rulers’ own fortress and residence first built in the 12th century; remnants of the khans’ harem, stables, arsenal, barracks, mosque and jail can still be seen. Continue to Muhammad Rahim-khan Madrasa, one of the largest madrasas in Central Asia. After a traditional lunch, on to the grand Djuma Mosque and the revered Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum with its courtyards and intricate tilework, built in honor of the legendary poet and philosopher who became Khiva’s patron saint. Here, in the historic complex of Ichan-Kala in the medieval Old Town, visit the Islam Khodja Mosque with its striking minaret, one of the jewels of Khiva. Tour the palace of Tash Khauli, with its sumptuous interior decor including ceramic tiles, carved stone and wood; there are more than 150 rooms off nine different courtyards Overnight: Khiva Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
This morning, transfer to the train station for your journey to Bukhara. During the trip, a box lunch will be provided. As you travel through the Kyzylkum Desert, witness the depth of Uzbekistan's natural terrain. Upon arrival in Bukhara, check in to your hotel. Later, visit splendid Ismail Samani Mausoleum, a world-famous architectural masterpiece that was built for the founder of the Samanid dynasty at the end of the 9th century. Next, proceed to Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum that dates from the 12th century. Legend has it that the prophet Job struck his staff on the ground here, causing a spring to appear Overnight: Bukhara Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Today, discover the beauty of Bukhara, one of the most important ancient cities in Uzbekistan, dating back nearly 1000 years before Alexander the Great conquered Central Asia. Begin with an excursion to Sitorai Mohi Hosa palace, the country residence of the last Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan. Return to Bukhara and continue your city tour with the Bolo Khauz Mosque followed by the 5th century Ark Fortress, former residence of the emirs of Bukhara. After lunch at a local restaurant continue to the architectural complex of Poyi-Kalon that includes the Kalon Mosque, large enough to hold 10,000 people. Pass the Madrasas of Abdulaziz Khan and Mir-I-Arab. Conclude with a local folk show with traditional music and dance Overnight: Bukhara Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
This morning, head to the Bakhaouddin Naqshbandi Memorial Complex. Afterward, visit the Chor Minor, the monumental gatehouse of a now destroyed madrasa. After lunch at a local restaurant, proceed to Liab-I Khaouz Square that encompasses the Nadir Devon Begi Madrasa and the Kukeldash Madrasa. Next, visit the city’s buzzing bazaar, offering rows of shops selling jewelry, carpets, and carved wood. Cap your day with a traditional dinner with a local family. Experience modern Uzbek culture, home cooked food, and learn the secrets of how to prepare Pilav, a traditional rice dish Overnight: Bukhara Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Depart Bukhara and drive to Samarkand. Along the way, stop at the delightful town of Gijduvan, center of the ancient craft of ceramics. A special visit has been arranged to the home and shop of a skilled ceramicist. View some of the beautiful works displayed that reflect the culture of different regions of Uzbekistan, before continuing your journey to Samarkand. The city, steeped in history that grew prosperous at the crossroads between East and West. Samarkand, considered the most romantic of the Silk Road cities, is adorned by decorative domes and minarets and is a melting pot of many different cultures and traditions. Upon arrival, have lunch and later begin your exploration of this remarkable city. See iconic Registan Square, the world-famous symbol of Central Asia with its colorful mosaics, blue domes and lofty arches. This plaza is surrounded by three impressively-decorated madrasas of the 15th to 17th centuries; Ulugbek Madrasa, Sherdor Madrasa and Tilya Kori Madrasa. Tonight, join your group for dinner Overnight: Samarkand Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The day begins at the sumptuous Guri Amir Mausoleum, final resting place of Timur (Tamerlane), the Turco-Mongol conqueror; its interior is covered with elegant turquoise arabesques and inscriptions in gold. On to the Ulugbek Observatory, once known as the most advanced in the Islamic world. Continue with a visit to Afrasiab Museum, dedicated to the city’s history. After lunch, travel along the shores of the Siab to the sacred Mausoleum of Daniel, the Old Testament biblical prophet. Pilgrims from all over the world come here to worship. Continue to the Konigil Merosi silk paper factory, followed by a visit to a local vineyard for a guided tour and tasting Overnight: Samarkand Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Start the day at the Bibi-Khanym Mosque with its glistening blue domes, built as the largest mosque in the world enriched by stately minarets and carved marble décor. A jewel in Tamerlane’s empire, the mosque was constructed as a tribute to his wife. Afterwards, a walk through the energetic Siab Market, a special place where you can feel the dynamic atmosphere of this ancient city. On to Shah-i-Zinda, a necropolis that includes sparkling blue mausoleums, embellished with some of the richest tile work in the Muslim world. These mausoleums, strategically grouped along the narrow medieval streets are an important place of pilgrimage. Lunch is followed by a drive to the train station where you board the Afrosiyob high-speed train to Tashkent. Upon arrival, enjoy a Farewell Dinner. Bid goodbye to your newfound friends and to your journey through Uzbekistan Overnight: Tashkent Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight Meals: Breakfast