EN11C2 – Ancient Heritage of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – Combo Tour 11 days, 10 nights

Discover the ancient heritage of the lands of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where the complete history of the Central Asia was created during centuries, by the legendary dynasties of the past.

Recommended period for visit in 2017: 01/04/2017 – 25/10/2017

Recommended period for visit in 2018: 31/03/2018 – 24/10/2018

Days Description
Route: Istanbul – Ashgabat – Mary / Merv – Ashgabat – Dashaguz – Konia  Urgench – Khiva – Bukhara – Samarkand – Tashkent – Istanbul
Day 0

Saturday

Istanbul – Ashgabat

Flight to Ashgabat from Istanbul via Turkish Airlines flight TK322, departure at 08:05pm, arrival at 01:55am (next day).

TK322 SAT ISTASB 2005 0155+1 / Non-stop Flight, Airbus A321 (32B), 3h50m

Please visit our Turkmenistan Travel Guide for the Destination overview.

Day 1

Sunday

Ashgabat – Mary – Merv (UNESCO city) – Ashgabat 

Arrival in Ashgabat at 01:55am.

Transfer to the hotel upon arrival.

Short rest in the hotel.

Morning flight to Mary via Turkmenistan Air flight T5128, departure at 07:50am, arrival at 08:30am.

T5128 SUN ASBMYP 0750 0830 / Non-stop Flight, Boeing 717, 0h40m

Arrival and transfer to Gonur Depe (Margush) UNESCO site.

Gonur Depe is a Bronze Age site in Turkmenistan, dating back to the first half of the second milennium BC, contemporary to the Mesopotamien and Indus Valley civilizations. The first agricultural settlements in the Murgab River delat apperared in the 7th millenium BC. The are was later called Margush in old Iranian texts and Margiana by greek authors.

Visit to History museum in Mary.

Evening flight to Ashgabat via Turkmenistan Air flight T5136, departure at 07:15pm, arrival at 07:55pm.

T5136 SUN MYPASB 1915 1955 / Non-stop Flight, Boeing 737, 0h40m

Arrival in Ashgabat and transfer to the hotel.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 2

Monday

Ashgabat – Dashoguz – Konia Urgench – Khiva

Breakfast in the hotel.

Morning flight to Dashaguz via Turkmenistan Air flight T5103, departure at 09:45am, arrival at 10:35am.

T5103 MON ASBTAZ 0945 1035 / Non-stop Flight, Boeing 717, 0h50m

Upon arrival transfer to Kunya Urgench (UNESCO) and excursion on the site.

The modern town of Konye-Urgench (from Persian ‘Old Urgench’) is a rural backwater with livestock wandering its chaotic, unpaved roads. Yet centuries ago, this was the centre of the Islamic world, not the end of it. Khorezm fell to the all-conquering Seljuq Turks, but rose in the 12th century, under a Seljuq dynasty known as the Khorezmshahs, to shape its own far-reaching empire. With its mosques, medressas, libraries and flourishing bazaars, Gurganj (the Persian name for Konye-Urgench) became a centre of the Muslim world, until Khorezmshah Mohammed II moved his capital to Samarkand after capturing that city in 1210.

Pass the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Shavat.

Transfer to Khiva.

Arrival and accommodation in the hotel.

Overnight stay in the hotel.

Day 3

Tuesday

Khiva

Civilization has existed in this oasis area for at least four millennium. The historic center of Khiva has been preserved in its authenticity, and for that reason it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. To enter Khiva is to traverse into medieval times. This walled city dates from the Xth century and is in essence an outdoor historical, architectural and cultural museum. This was the capital for the khans of Khiva, and the major monuments from the Xth to the XIXth centuries are intact. These include the Ichan-Qala gates and the wall, as well as the Khuna Ark. It is worth noting that the great IXth-century mathematician al-Khwarizmi (Latinized as Algoritmi) was born in Khiva. He is as famous in the Middle East as Euclid is in the West. We owe algorithms to Algoritmi (the mathematical foundation of Internet search) and to some degree algebra, from his book Al-Jebr.

Please visit our Khiva Travel Guide for the city overview.

Breakfast in the hotel.

Sightseeing in Khiva: Mukhammad Amin Khan and Kalta Minor, Kunya-Ark (ancient fortress), Mukhammad Rakhim Khan Madrasa, Said Allaoutdin Mausoleum, Jami Mosque with 212 wooden columns, Tash Khauli – the second residence of khans of Khiva, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum, Islam-Khodja ensemble, local bazaar visit and later a visit of wood carver’s workshop.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 4

Wednesday

Khiva – Bukhara

This morning, after breakfast in the hotel, we will drive from Khiva across the Kyzyl Kum desert to the great city of Bukhara.

Kyzyl Kum, meaning “Red Sand,” is the eleventh largest desert in the world. Our drive will follow along the banks of the Amu Darya River.

Transfer to the hotel upon arrival.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 5

Thursday

Bukhara (UNESCO city)

UNESCO, in naming Bukhara a World Heritage site, states: “It is the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia, with an urban fabric that has remained largely intact.” In a bit of one-upmanship locals like to say, “Samarkand is the beauty of the earth, but Bukhara is the beauty of the spirit.” It exudes a beguiling, old-world atmosphere.

Please visit our Bukhara Travel Guide for the city overview.

Breakfast in the hotel.

Walk around the old city which was a teeming commercial centre during the heyday of the Silk Road.

Visit the Poi Kalyan complex. The minaret is one of the rare monuments that survived the destructive wrath of Ghengis Khan who destroyed most of the monuments of Central Asia. Visit to the miniature painter workshop.

The visit will include the Toki-Zargaron (Dome of the jewellers), Tim Abdoulla Khan, Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble including Nadir-Divan-Beghi Madrasah, Kukeldash Madrasah and Nadir-Divan-Beghi khanaka; Magok-Attor Mosque; Trade Dome Toki-Sarafon (Dome of the Moneychangers) and Toki-Tilpak Furushon (Dome of the headgear Sellers); Chor Minor.

Option: Hammam – oriental bath (upon request).

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 6

Friday

Bukhara

Breakfast in the hotel.

Sightseeing: The Ark Citadel, Bolo-Khaouz Mosque, Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum, Job source.

Later, we will take a short drive outside Bukhara to the Sitorai Makhi Khosa, popularly known as the Emir’s Summer Palace. Explore the grounds, living quarters, and three separate museums within the grounds: the Museum of Applied Arts, Museum of National Costume, and Museum of Needlework. Return to Bukhara, and stroll through the local market and the back alleys of the city.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 7

Saturday

Bukhara – Samarkand

Breakfast in the hotel.

Morning Sharq Train to Samarkand, departure at 07:45am, arrival at 10:50am.

The title “the heart of the Great Silk Road” is rightly attached to Samarkand. It is included in a special list of UNESCO – The World legacy. The significance of its material and spiritual values are so great. Unique monuments of ancient architecture, the legacy of scientific and artistic schools, centers of traditional national crafts of Samarkand are praised and glorified today throughout the world. Samarkand has a unique combination of styles and art schools that gave birth to distinctive looks of this ancient city as described by historians, poets and diplomats of the past.

Please visit our Samarkand Travel Guide for the city overview.

Upon arrival transfer to hotel, leaving luggages, free time for lunch.

After lunch, you will discover a Samarkand’s unique history. We will start from the visit of the Gur Amir Mausoleum – the beautifully tiled resting place of Tamerlane and his sons, the tomb of Tamerlane, great conqueror and the main architect of Samarkand. The arresting inscription on his tomb reads, “Were I alive, the world would tremble.” The tomb was opened in June, 1941 by a Soviet archeologist, and persistent legend holds that a dreaded curse was unleashed – Hitler’s invasion of Russia is regarded by many locals as its synchronized fulfillment.

Then, visit of one of remarkable places in Samarkand – Registan Square. The square is a striking ensemble of three madrasahs (Arabic for “schools”) and mosques, one of which was built in the 15th century, and the other two completed in the 17th century. On seeing this square in 1899 the British diplomat Lord Curzon wrote, “I know of nothing in the East approaching it in massive simplicity and grandeur.” Adjacent is the lively Silk Road Bazaar – its colorful offerings are a visual feast.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 8

Sunday

Samarkand

Breakfast in the hotel.

Our full day in Samarkand, known as the “Mirror of the World,” begins with Excursion in Bibi Khanum Mosque which ones was the biggest Mosque in Central Asia, it was erected by Tamerlane after his victorious Indian campaign in 1399. After, the walking tour to Orient open market Siab, located next to Bibi Khanum, and later visit craftsman shops and Happy Bird gallery.

Continue to the Shakhi Zinda Necropolis where it is believed that the cousin of the Prophet Mohammed, Qusam ibn Abbas, is entombed. Many notables built magnificent tombs to be next to his, and it has long been a place of pilgrimage. Head to the centerpiece of the city and perhaps the epitome of architectural art of this journey.

Visit carpet-making  workshop. Samarkand is famous for its carpets. The carpets are woven by hand on unique looms which enable the carpet-makers to ensure high quality products. Natural yarn, the secrets of carpet-making techniques that are passed from generation to generation and devotion to the craft allow the local masters to impress both the consumers and the experts of carpet-making industry. During the visit to one of the carpet-making workshops you can immerse yourself in an amazing world of carpet-making, and probably take part in creation of a handmade masterpiece.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 9

Monday

Samarkand – Tashkent

Breakfast in the hotel.

Explore the Ulughbeg Observatory, named for one of the world’s greatest astronomers. In the 1420s, Ulughbeg, Tamerlane’s grandson, created a 30-meter-long astrolabe to chart the stars. He famously noted that, “religions dissipate like fog, kingdoms vanish, but the work of scientists remains for eternity.”

Silk paper factory visit. Samarkand was one and only paper manufacturing center at the whole Middle East during the VIII and first half part of IX century. Here you will learn the simple technologies which have been used for centuries: water power, manual labour and patience. It’s impossible to remain indifferent during the masterclass to this workshop. Moreover, unique paper made of long fibre will become an excellent souvenir for artistic people who take up calligraphy, decoration or interior designing.

Evening high-speed Afrosiyob train to Tashkent, departure at 05:00pm, arrival at 07:10pm.

Upon arrival transfer to the hotel.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 10

Tuesday

Tashkent

Tashkent is one of the most ancient cities in Central Asia. Archaeological finds of artifacts and old city remains dated as far back as IV-III B.C., have been acknowledged. During its history, Tashkent had been named Djadj, Chachkent, Shashkent and Binkent. The name Tashkent was first mentioned in historical transcripts in the IX century.

Please visit our Tashkent Travel Guide for the city overview.

Breakfast in the hotel.

Walking tour to Alisher Navoi Ballet and Opera House (exterior observation). Built by Japanese prisoners of war and designed by Shusev, the same architect who built Lenin’s tomb, the architecture of this opera is a skilled mix of a number of influences that characterise Uzbekistan: Islamic art is combined with classicism, that lead to beautiful results – with a neo-classical façade, topped with stalagmites, Moorish style.

After, visits of Independence Square, Tashkent Tube (Metro), exploring of the Old Part of the city with visits of Khast Imam Square, Friday Mosque and Kaffol Shoshi Mausoleum, Kukeldash Madrasah.

Visit Chorsu bazaar where craftsmen selling traditional clothes and an assortment of oriental souvenirs.

Visit the Museum of Decorative Arts. One of the most interesting museums in Tashkent is the Museum of Decorative Arts with an extensive collection of ceramics, carved wood, textiles, carpets, metalwork and other handicrafts.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 11

Wednesday

Tashkent – Istanbul

Early breakfast in the hotel.

Transfer to the Tashkent airport, for the international flight to Istanbul, via Turkish Airlines flight TK369, departure at 08:15am, arrival at 11:35am.

TK369 WED TASIST 0815 1135 / Non-stop Flight, Airbus A330-200 (332), 5h20m.

Notes:

All flights, indicated in this travel program, are subjects to change, and will be confirmed during tour booking process.

For the rates, discounts, hotels and restaurants information, additional options and visits please contact us via contact form below.

Tour ID: EN11C2

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