Uzbekistan - Walking the Silk Road - Part 1
Uzbekistan is located on the route of the ancient Silk Road. Like Hong Kong, in its heyday, it is the answer to Central Asia's cradle of culture for millennia, the trading hub between the East and West.
You will find people from everywhere here. From Mongol to Korean, Indian to Persian, Arabs to Russian and to modern day Uzbek.
In 2016, the new President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev has made tourism promotion a strategic part of much-anticipated reforms. It has gained momentum in 2018 and 2019. However, with the coronavirus a world wide pandemic. It is hoped the country can still able to make progress when the restrictions were over.
The best time to travel to Uzbekistan is during spring (April to May) and autumn (September to early November). It's typically warm and dry during these periods, with temperatures sitting around 21°C-30°C during spring and 14°C-30°C during autumn.
I visited Uzbekistan in September 2019.
Tour itinerary: Tashkent –Urgench – Khiva – Ayaz akala – Tuprok kala - Bukhara - Samarkand – Tashkent
Day 1 (flight) Arrival in Tashkent by flight. The guide picked me up at International Airport of Tashkent and accompany to the hotel, early check-in. Free time. Overnight at the hotel
Day 2 Tashkent (visits)
Breakfast at the hotel Sightseeing tour of Tashkent with visiting old part of the city: Architectural complex “Khazret-Imam” (Mausoleum of imam Kaffal al-Shashi, Barak-khan Madrassah, Tellya Sheikh Madrassah, Mui-Mubarak Madrassah, Juma Mosque, Imam Ismail al-Bukhari Islamic Institute), Kukeldash Medressa, bazaar Chorsu and the Museum of Applied Arts. 18:30 Transfer to local airport. 20:25 Flight to Urgench (Uzbekistan Airways HY057) 21:55 Arrival in Urgench Airport and transfer to the hotel in Khiva (30 km, 35 min) Hotel check-in. Overnight at the hotel
Day 3 (Khiva) walking tour Breakfast at the hotel Sightseeing tour in the old part of Khiva – Ichan Kala known as “Inner town”. Ichan Kala is the biggest open air museum in Central Asia and consists of the following architectural monuments: Ata Darbaza, Kunya Ark, Muhammad Rakhim-Khan Madrassa, Muhammad Aminkhan Madrassa, Kalta Minor Minaret, Jome Mosque and Minaret, Islam Khodja Madrassa, Said Alauddin Mausoleum, Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, the last Khiva Khan Allak ulikhan’s Madrassa and Tosh Hovli Palace, Caravanserai. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4 Khiva– Ayaz kala – Tuprok - Khiva (visits)
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Ayaz kala and Tuprok kala fortress Ayaz Kala 1 is a fortress dating back to end of the 4th or beginning of the 3rd cent. BC. In this time Khorezm had become independent from Persia. Ayaz Kala 1 was part of a chain of fortresses protecting the agricultural settlements from attacks by nomads. The fortress is situated on the top of a hill, approx. 100 m high, providing wide views over the surrounding plains. The fortress is rectangular in plan with sides 182 and 152 m long. The main axis is oriented from South to North. Return to Khiva and free time Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5 Khiva– Bukhara (450km)
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning depart Khiva and drive to Bukhara (480 km, 6-7 h.*). The Great Silk Road once routed through Bukhara and Khiva ran through the Kyzylkum Desert, as the present road does nowadays. Stop en-route to enjoy views of Amu Darya River and the desert. Arrive in Bukhara late in the afternoon, check in to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6 Bukhara
Breakfast at the hotel Enjoy sightseeing tour with a guide in Old City of Bukhara including visits to the Mausoleum of Samanids, Bolo Hauz Mosque and the Ark Fortress – the oldest citadel dating back to I century BC, Poi Kalon Square with Kalon Minaret and Mosque, Mir Arab Madrassah.There are three trading domes or so called covered bazaars preserved from the XVI century. The bazaars were the centers for trade of silk, jewelry and for money exchange. Today as well, one can enjoy traditional bazaar bargains and purchase different souvenirs of a wide range, from small souvenir magnets to the famous Bukhara carpets. The excursion around Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan Madrassahs, Abdullakhan’s Tim and a visit to the Caravanserai Sayfuddin which is the Center of Handicraft Development of Bukhara. Magoki Attari Mosque. Lyabi Hauz , the center of old Bukhara , is an architectural complex of the XVII century that includes Nadir Divanbegi Madrassah and Khanaqa, Kukeldash Madrassah and the monument of the famous historical comedian character Khodja Nasreddin . Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7 Bukhara (visits and free time)
Breakfast at the hotel Visit Mokhi Khosa palace and Memorial Complex Nanishbandi. Free time Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8 Bukhra – Shakhrisabz - Samarkand
Breakfast at the hotel
In the morning depart Bukhara and drive to Samarkand via Shakhrisabz (275 km, 4 h*). Stop in Shakhrisabz for city tour. Visit Mausoleum of Jakhongir in Dor-us Saodat Memorial Complex, remains of Ak-Saray Palace, Dor-ut Tilavat Ensemble with Kok-Gumbaz Mosque and burial vault of Tamerlane’s father. In the afternoon continue driving to Samarkand (90 km, 2 h*). Arrive in Samarkand, check in to the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2 hours
Day 9 Samarkand
Breakfast at the hotel Transfer to Samarkand Arrive in Samarkand and check in hotel.
The history of Samarkand is about 2,750 years old and has witnessed many upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis-Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane's. Hence, the culture of Samarkand was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures.Sightseeing tour of Samarkand with visiting: Registan Square (a heart of the city), BibiHanum Mosque, orient bazaar Siyab, Shahi Zinda Necropolis Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10 Samarkand - Tashkent
Breakfast at the hotel Sightseeing tour of Samarkand with visiting: Ulugbek’s Observatory, Mausoleum of Khodja Doniyor known as Saint Daniel. Free time for shopping 17:30 Transfer to railway station of Samarkand. 18:00 Depart for Tashkent by high-speed train “Afrosiab”. 20:10 Arrival in Tashkent. Transfer to the hotel Overnight at the hotel On rare occasion when the high speed train is unavailable we will replace this train with the most comfortable class of regular train.
Day 11 Tashkent
Breakfast at the hotel Check out at 12:00am. Free time in Tashkent Transfer from hotel to the international airport of Tashkent for flight and end of tour.