Historical cities in the Great Silk Road

 aami18-21-512 Route:   ………… – Urgench – Turkmenistan – Khiva - (Dashoguz-Ashgabat-Merv) - Bukhara – Shakhrisabz - Samarkand – Tashkent - ……………

Duration:  sunny-icon 12 days - minicons2-53-512 11 nights

       The Great Silk Road for centuries linked East and West, silk thread of mutually beneficial cooperation. The main tourist path crosses through 32 large and small cities of Central Asia, and the pearls of the Great Silk Road in Uzbekistan were Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva,  Ferghana Valley, as well as in Turkmenistan were Kunya Urgench and Merv. Trade caravans, travelers, pilgrims and diplomatic missions, who followed throughout these routes, at the same time, paved the way of rapprochement and mutual understanding of nations. Striding the ancient cities of "Silk Road", you will get the opportunity to commit an exciting journey into the past, enjoy the kaleidoscope of bright colors of eastern identity, culture and uncover some of the mysteries of the East...

 day 1

Arrival in Urgench, you will be met at the airport of Urgench. Transfer to Khiva, accommodation in the hotel. Sightseeing in Khiva: Khorezm oasis, which is amazing with its undisturbed beauty. Sightseeing tour starts from Ata Darvaza main gate, in UNESCO World Heritage site Ichan-Kala complex.

Ichan-Kala – is inner part of Khiva town. In 15th-17th centuries Khiva was within these borders and surrounded by strong clay wall, the length of which was more than 2200 m, the height of more than 7 m.

Kalta Minor – Minaret (19th century) – is located in the far corner of Amin Khan Medressa. Initially the minaret was intended as the highest minaret in the Muslim world, the diameter is 15 m with a height of 28 m. But after the death of Amin Khan the project was canceled by his successor and remained unfinished.

Кunya-Ark – "old fortress" (17th century) – inner citadel of Khan in Ichan-Kala. It was “town within town” separated from Ichan-Kala with its high wall by the end of 18th century, there were Khan’s mosque, residence of Khan, the Supreme court and Khan’s reception - kurinish-khana.

Lunch at a restaurant.

Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum – Main religious center in Ichan-Kala – there existed the tomb of saint protector of Khiva, poet, philosopher, professional wrestler and master of furriers – Pahlavan Mahmud

Islam Khodja Medressa (1910) – the vizier of last Khiva khan and finance minister of Khiva Khanate.

Dinner. Overnight at hotel

day 2

Breakfast at hotel. Visit to the bazaar (market). Purchase of products for preparing one of the national dishes of Khorezm. After the purchase departure to countryside, visit family and participate in cooking meal for lunch. As well as get a chance of participating in master class of bread-making in tandyr (clay oven).

Lunch in a family of the village. Sightseeing tour after lunch:

Djuma Mosque with 213 wooden pillars and minaret, the height is 32,5 m Tash-Khovli Palace – Harem of the Khiva Khan (19th century). Allakuli Khan Medressa – traditional cultural center of Khorezm, Ak Mosque (White Mosque) – This small mosque in the ensemble at the eastern gate of Ichan Kala. Winter building of mosque, where main premise for prayers, has a white sphereconical dome

Dinner in a traditional restaurant. (Upon a request of tourist in dinner time show of folklore ethnographic ensemble can be organized).


day 3

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to checkpoint «Shavat», cross frontier border «Shavat». You will be met by the guide in Turkmenistan part.

In Dashoguz sightseeing tour «Turkmen carpets – tour heritage of the world» is offered. Visit carpet factory in Dashoguz, where the carpets are woven with special ornaments. Visit Historical and cultural reserve «Kunya Urgench», which has undeniable monuments proving the highest skill of Khorezm school of architects and builders. (90 km):Visit Torebeg-Khanym Mausoleum (14th c) - daughter of Uzbek Khan, the ruler of Golden Horde and wife of the governor of Khorezm – Kutlug Temur. Sultan Tekesh Mausoleum (12th c) – he was the son of Il Arslan. Tekesh reined Khorezm in the 12th century

Lunch. National Turkmen kitchen.

Continue the sightseeing tour: Kutlug Temur Minaret (11th century) grandiose, majestic and unique construction of the Middle Ages. The height is 60 m and it is the tallest monument in Central Asia. Il Arslan Mausoleum (12th century) – unique architectural construction, referred to as Fakhriddin Razi Mausoleum perfectly preserved. Nadjmiddin Kubra Mausoleum (14th century) he lived in the 12-13th century as religious teacher and poet in Khorezm and founded widely spread Sufi order of Kubraviya.

Drive to Dashoguz. Dinner at the hotel Uzboy. Overnight at hotel .

day 4

Breakfast at the hotel. Flight to Ashgabat at 07:50.

Arrive in Ashgabat, you will be met by guide. Sightseeing tour along the Cable Road (cableway between Ashgabat and the foothills of the Kopetdag).

Lunch during sightseeing tour. Back to the city, accommodation in the hotel.

Continue sightseeing tour, visit to the ancient Nisa (Nisa – was capital of the ancient Parthian State). It is located in 18 km west of Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan. Parthian State existed in 1st thousand BC and 1st and 3rd AD.

Dinner. Excursion in night Ashgabat, the city of white marble. Overnight at hotel .

day 5

Breakfast at the hotel.

Visit the oriental bazaar «Altyn Asyr» (Golden century).

Lunch. Check-out.

After lunch visit the National Museum of Turkmenistan and Saparmurat Niyazov Mosque (previous President of Turkmenistan). Transfer to the train station. Travel to Mary by train (18:20, dinner at the train). After arrival you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Accommodation in the hotel Margush (3*).

Dinner and overnight in Mary .

day 6

Breakfast at the hotel.

After breakfast (check-out), drive to Ancient Merv. Ancient Merv – Merv Oasis was part of Margush or Margiana. The name comes from the old Iranian which means “meadow”. The town was an important trading center in the Silk Road and one of the great Islamic cities. The field of ruins, surrounded by an endless wall of mud, sun-dried brick covers 120 square kilometers. Merv is located near the small town Bayramali 30 km east of Mary. Merv consists of several built near cities for centuries. War, time and stability of clay buildings to weather conditions, these are the reasons that affected the poor preservation of ancient buildings. In 1999, UNESCO recognized Merv as a cultural heritage of the world. Today Merv ruins include several settlements: Erk Kala, Gyaur Kala, Sultan Kala, Abdulla Khan Kala and Bayramali Khan Kala.

Lunch in private restaurant.

Depart Mary and drive to Turkmenabad. Accommodation in the hotel Jayhun 3*.

Dinner. Overnight at the hotel .

day 7

Bukhara - one of the most esteemed cities of Islamic civilization. "Noble, a nice abode" - the name of this wonderful city was well-known in the Muslim medieval East. What epithets occur in the imagination when you find yourself in this sunny region with vast deserts and blossoming gardens, noisy bazaars and ancient mosques and medressas. Bukhara - a magical, fairy-tale, ancient, exotic and, of course, originally the eastern city. After all Bukhara - one of the oldest cities in the East.

Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to checkpoint «Farab», cross the Turkmen border, you will be met in Uzbek border, transferred to the hotel. Check-in.


Sightseeing tour in Bukhara: Ark Fortress – in the Middle Ages there was a whole town which included palace of the Emir, mint, mosques, government institutions, warehouses, shops, prison and an area for public meetings

Samanid Mausoleum (9-10th century) – one of the first building in the Central Asia, built of dried bricks in the form of cube, with indoor dome and an unique geometric brickworks. It is a masterpiece of world architecture.

Chashma Ayub Mausoleum – belongs to esteemed "place of track" remained by saints. According to the legends, the bible phophet Job (Ayub) crossed here, when he hit with his stick well (chashma) appeared.

Bolo Hauz (18th century) – well-known and esteemed mosque with nearby artificial water basin.

Kumpola Bazaars – consist of 3 trading centers: Tacki Zargaron (1570) – market of jewelries, Tacki Telpak Furushon – market of embroidery, Tacki Saraffon – exchange market.

Dinner at the hotel and free time. Overnight at hotel.

day 8

Breakfast at the hotel.

Continue of sightseeing tour: outing along the ancient side-streets.

Lyabi Hauz (14th – 17th century) – Lyabi Hauz (water basin) is one of the most popular tourist sights. It is the largest artificial water basin of medieval Bukhara. It was dig up around in 1620 between Khanaka and Medressa, built by the order Khan’s vizier Nadir Divan begi. Kukeldash Medressa another building of 14th century and one of the biggest medressa in Bukhara. It has 160 hudjras, located in two floors with the perimeter of two aivan yard. One of the famous writers in Central Asia, Sadriddin Ayniy (1878-1954), studied here.

Nadir Divan-begi Medressa – This is a massive rectangular structure with a central cruciform hall under the dome and hudjras corners. Then it was built a swimming pool on the other side of which Nadir Divan-Begi built a caravanserai.

Lunch in local restaurant

Kalyan Minaret (the Great) – the main symbol of sacred Bukhara. From its top Muslims are invited to the praying. The dominance of the minaret in the holy city meant that its inhabitants are under the protection of Islam. Its height is 46.5 m.

Ulugbek Medressa (1417) – It is the only building remaining in Bukhara in memory of the great astronomer and is the earliest of the three buildings by great scientist Mirzo Ulugbek, a descendant of Temur

Free time.

Dinner at the hotel. Overnight at hotel .

day 9

Breakfast at the hotel.

Depart Bukhara and drive to Shakhrisabz (Green City).

Shakhrisabz is the birthplace of Amir Temur. Arrival in Shakhrisabz, sightseeing tour in the city: Shakhrisabz primarily associated with Ak Saray Palace, which was built in the late 14 and early 15 centuries with the order of Amir Temur. Many wonderful legends are connected with the history of the construction of the palace. According to one of them, Temur was going to build the greatest masterpiece, invited architect and told all his ideas. After listening to the governor, the architect requested to get an access to the state treasury. After he got permission, craftsmen began to make foundation blocks of clay with admixture of gold in front of Amir Temur. Seeing that, the governor was not impressed, the architect broke the blocks and returned them to the treasury. When Amir Temur asked “Why did you do that?” The architect answered: “To persuade you to let us initiate the construction of the building which will require a lot of expenditure”.

Summer residence of Amir Temur “Ak Saray” (1380 – 1405) – Amir Temur built it in a bare area, brought together 50.000 prisoners: architects and craftsmen from all over his empire. The height of the Palace is 40 m. and it is decorated with glazed mosaics and majolica.

Lunch in a traditional restaurant.

Continue the guided tour: Kuk Gumbaz Mosque – means a blue dome, the mosque was built by the grandson of Amir Temur, by Ulugbek for the honor of his father, Shohrux.

Gumbazi Seydan literally means the dome of Sayids – the mausoleum was built by Ulugbek, Amir Temur’s grandson for his relatives.

Dorut Tilavat Complex – The establishment of the memorial complex is associated with the name of the judge Shamsiddin Kulyal. He was from potters family, Kulyal became a close Temur’s father Taragay, and simultaneously became his spiritual master as well.

Departure to Samarkand at 16:00. Arrival in Samarkand, check in at the hotel and dinner.

Overnight at the hotel .

day 10

Breakfast in a hotel.

Sightseeing tour: Registan Square – means sandy area. The square is one of the masterpieces of oriental architecture. It is a unique ensemble including three medressas. This square also is used as a place for holding festivals, and national holidays.

Gur Emir Mausoleum – where Amir Temur and his sons and grandsons are buried. Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis – It is the oldest monument of Samarkand where the Temurids’ dynasty buried.

Visit to Meros – paper factory

Lunch in a restaurant.

Continue the sightseeing tour: Ulugbek Observatory - On the hill Kuhak, Ulugbek built an observatory in 1428-1429 an unique building of that time.

Bibi Khanym Mosque – another name, Friday mosque of Samarkand. Thousands of Muslim men came here to pray. It was built in 1399-1404 by Amir Temur after his trip to India.

Siyab Bazaar - modern oriental bazaar in Samarkand, which has been preserved a century. The bazaar attracts tourist with its colorfulness and products. Visit to carpet factory Khudjum.

Dinner at the hotel. Free time. Overnight at hotel .

day 11

Tashkentone of the oldest cities in Central Asia. There are many legends about it. Some associates it with the mythical powerful man called Tash. The others, with legendary Turkish-Mongol leader called Oguz-Khan. Also, third ones with the heroes of Firdavshi’s book, «Shah-name», — Afrosiyab and Kaykavus. There it is indicated, that «Ark» or «Shahnishin-Tepe» («Hill — home of Shah») — this is the hill, where the palace of Afrosiyab was. Later on the hill disappeared, but there is a name in the previous old city for a long time. Then, it is indicated that the conqueror of Turan, Kaykovus, dug an aryk (ditch), which still exists under the name of «Kalkauz» up to now. It exists for more than two thousand year, during that time it had several names. It is called in Sogdian «Chach», in Arabic «Shash», in Persian «Binkent», «Tadjikent» and so on. The name «Tashkent» was first mentioned by the Arab historian, Al-Buruni in 9th century.

Early breakfast in the hotel.

Depart Samarkand and drive to Tashkent. Arrival in Tashkent and check-in to the hotel.

Lunch at the hotel.

Sightseeing tour: Visit Khasti Imam Complex, Kukeldash Medressa and Chorsu bazaar

Dinner in a restaurant. Overnight at hotel.

day 12

Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to the Tashkent International Airport and fly to the home destination.