Tour from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan
Tashkent – Khiva – Bukhara – Gijduvan – Samarkand – Fergana – Osh
9 days and 8 nights
The program of tour day after day:
Day 1. Tashkent.
Arrive in Tashkent international airport and transfer to hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2. Tashkent – Khiva.
After breakfast at the hotel drive to Old part of Tashkent and Kukeldash Madrassah will be the first to see. Built in the mid-16 th century by the ruler's vizier Kukaldash, after secular use as a Soviet warehouse and museum, the madrassah is reasserting religious role. Also visit Khast Imam Square – the holy heart of Tashkent and the least Russified or Sovietized part of the city – consisting of Barak Khan Madrassah, Tillya Sheykh Mosque and Kafal Shashi Mausoleum . Barak Khan founded in the 16 th century by a descendent of Tamerlane who ruled Tashkent for the Shaybanid dynasty. This is the administrative center of the Mufti of Uzbekistan, the head of official Islam in the Republic. Tillya Sheykh mosque built in the same time as Barak Khan Madrassah, now employed as the city's chief Friday Mosque. The highlight is the immense Osman Koran, claimed to be the world's oldest; in 655 it was stained with the blood of the murdered Caliph Osman. Kafal Shashi mausoleum – the grave of a local doctor, philosopher and poet of Islam who lived from 904 to 979. The portal, inner dome and arcade date from the 16 th century, when his holy reputation attracted a cemetery. Visit Applied Art Museum – the museum is as popular for its setting as for its many beautiful exhibits. Tsarist diplomat Polovtsev expressed his appreciation of Uzbek architecture by having his residence built by masters from Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva Fergana and Tashkent. Also visit to Chorsu bazaar – the biggest, spice-smelling farmers' bazaar in Tashkent. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch transfer to domestic airport for flight to Urgench. Arrive in Urgench, meeting in airport visit to Sultan Wais mausoleum. Drive to Khiva (25 km) and visit Ichan Kala (Inner town). Khiva is the most intact and most remote of Central Asia's Silk Road cities, the final destination from modern Tashkent to medieval slave town. Visit Mohammed Amin Khan Madrassah (1852-1855) – the largest of its kind in the city with a capacity of 250 Islamic students, or rather 130 romantic tourists, as the madrassah today houses hotel “Madrassah”; Kelte Minor (“Short minaret”) commissioned by the khan in 1852 to stand (at over 70 m.) as the biggest in the Islamic world, but abandoned in the wake of his death at a frustrated 26 meters. Also visit Kunya Ark (Old Fortress) – the Khiva rulers' residence, first built in XII century, then expanded by the khans in the XVII century. The khans' harem, mint, stables, arsenal, barracks, mosque and jail were all there. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 3. Khiva – Bukhara.
After breakfast at the hotel visit Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum – Pakhlavan Mahmud the Hercules of the East, Palvan Pir the "kurash" wrestler-saint, Pirar Vali the antireligious Persian poet, Mahmud the district furrier, all died here, one and the same, in 1325 to enter local folklore as a hero of both brain and brawn and to become the adopted patron of Khiva. With its lovely courtyard and stately tilework it is one of the town's most beautiful spots . Islam Khoja Madrassah (1908) and Minaret (1910) – Khiva's newest Islamic monuments. Islom Khodja, who commissioned the Madrassah and Minaret was and early 20 th century grand vizier and, by Khivan standard, a liberal. The minaret is 45 meters tall and it's Khiva's highest. Juma Mosque (1788) (Friday Mosque) – is interesting for the 213 wooden pillars, each 3,15 m., supporting its roof – a structural concept though to be derived from ancient Arabian mosques. Also visit Tosh Howli (Stone House) – residence, built by Allah Kuli Khan between 1832 and 1841 as a more splendid alternative to the Kunya Ark; Allah Kuli Khan Madrassah (1835), bazaar and caravanserai . Lunch at private house. After lunch drive through Kyzyl Kum desert (480 km, M-37) to Bukhara. Villages in Khorezm oasis change to desert with sand dunes. One fifth of the road goes along Amudarya River, but there are only few places, from where the river can be seen. Stop at one of them to take pictures of the scroll of Amudarya. Arrive in Bukhara and accommodate at hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 4. Bukhara.
After breakfast at hotel visit Poi Kalon Ensemble (Pedestal of the Great). The square separates the Mir-I-Arab Madrassah and the Kalon Jummi mosque. The Kalon Minaret (in Tajik means Great) is one of the defining symbols of Bukhara. When it was built by the Karakhanid Arslan Khan in 1127, the Kalon Minaret was probably the tallest building in Central Asia. It's incredible piece of work, 47 meters tall, which in 875 years has never needed any but cosmetics repairs. Also visit 3 remaining domed bazaars – Taqi Zargaron (1570), or Jeweler's Bazaar, Taqi Telpak Furushon or Cap Makers' Bazaar and Taqi Sarrafon , or Moneychangers' Bazaar, which were among dozens of specialized bazaars in the town, Magok-I-Atori Mosque – the remains of a Buddhist monastery, a Zoroastrian temple and the mosque of the Arab invaders, all sharing the same space and Lyabi Hauz Ensemble . Lyabi Hauz , a plaza built around a pool in 1620 (the name is Tajik for “around the pool”). To the east, the Nadir Divanbegi Madrassah , built in 1630, on the west side of the square, and built at the same time, is the Nadir Divanbegi Khanaka . North across the street, the Kukeldash Madrassah , once was the biggest Islamic school in Central Asia. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch visit the Ark fortress – royal town-within-town, as old as Bukhara itself, home to the rulers of Bukhara for over a millennium, Bolo Hauz Mosque (“Mosque Near the Pool”) (1712) – the royal court mosque , Ismoil Samani Mausoleum – the town's oldest building (completed around 905) and one of the most elegant structures in Central Asia, and Chashma Ayub (“Spring of Job”) – built in XII century over a spring. Legend says prophet Job, a millennium before Islam came to the Zerafshan Valley and witnessed a great and terrible drought. Job struck the dusty earth with his staff and a cool source of spring water brought liquid salvation. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 5. Bukhara– Samarkand.
After breakfast at the hotel visit Sitora-I-Mohi Khosa – the Emir's summer palace, built by the Russians in 1911 for the last Emir Alim Khan. Drive to Samarkand by M-37 (270 km). En route visit Gijduvan. Gijduvan is a town 40 km northeast from Bukhara, famous for its ceramic school. Visit family ceramic workshop of Abdullo Narzullaev, which is 50 m from the road. Abdullo and his brother Alisher are fifth generation potters who continue to make bowls and dishes in traditional design and using traditional technique. Enjoy Gijduvan cuisine at Abdullo's house. Arrive in Samarkand and transfer to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6. Samarkand.
After breakfast at the hotel proceed for city tour. Visit to Gur Emir (in Tajik - Tomb of the emir) – mausoleum of Timur and the Timurids (XV c.), Reghistan square (Sandy place) – ensemble of majestic madrassahs (XV - XVII cc.), ranks first in Central Asia and among the greatest of all the grandiose and magnificent works of the Islamic world. National lunch at private house. After lunch visit to Shakhi Zinda (The Living King) – necropolis of Samarkand rulers and nobles. The name refers to its original, innermost and holiest shrine – the grave of Qusam ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, who is said brought Islam to this area. Also visit to Ulugbek Observatory (1420) – the remains of an immense (30 m. tall) astrolabe for observing star position , part of three-storey observatory and Afrasiab ruins and museum with fragments of VII century frescoes. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7. Samarkand – Tashkent.
After breakfast at the hotel visit the charming shrine complex Khodja Abdi Darun and Ishrat Khana mausoleum (House of Joy) – the impressive portal over 20 tombstones of Timurid women and children. Visit Bibi Khanym Mosque (XV c.) – the gigantic congregational mosque, once one of the Islamic world's biggest mosque and Siab market – colorful main farmers' market. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch drive to Tashkent by M-37 (265 km). Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8. Tashkent – Fergana.
After breakfast at the hotel transfer to airport for flight to Fergana. Arrive in Fergana and drive to Kokand by A-373 (115 km) via Rishtan famed for its bright blue and green ceramic. Legend claims the art is over 800 years old, passed down from father to son, using local red clay and natural pigments made from minerals and mountain grasses. Visit one of the workshops. Continue drive to Kokand. Defined as “the town of the boar”, Kokand lent its name to the powerful XIX century khanate stretching from the Fergana Valley to Tashkent and the southern Kazakh steppes. Though young compared to other Fergana towns, Kokand quickly blossomed into a prosperous trading and religious center, contesting the spoils of Central Asia with the khanates of Bukhara and Khiva. Visit Khudoyar Khan's palace. From 1863 to 1872, through upheaval and invasion, Khudoyar, Khan of Kokand, erected his palace citadel. American diplomat Schulyer judged it on completion, “much larger and more magnificent than any other in Central Asia… glittering in all the brightness of its fresh tiles, blue, yellow and green.” Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch drive to Margilan. Margilan was a major Silk Road stop by the ninth century and now is one of the main silk industry center in Uzbekistan. Visit Yodgorlik Factory , where a group of Margilan silk workers preserved traditional methods of silk production. Return to Fergana for dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 9. Fergana – Osh.
After breakfast drive to Uzbek-Kyrghyz border check point “Dustlik”.