Zoroastrian and Buddhist cultural Heritage of Uzbekistan

Destinations: Tashkent – Nukus – Khiva – Bukhara – Termez – Shahrisabz – Samarkand
Duration: 12 Days
Day 1:
Tashkent
Welcome meeting at airport of Tashkent.
Transfer to hotel.
Visit: History museum of Uzbekistan, artifacts from Zoroastrian and Buddhist times, exhibits relating to the conquest of the khanates of Central Asia and to the independent Uzbek Republic. Visit also old town, Chorsu bazaar, Kahsti Imam complex and modern city.
Day 2:
Tashkent – Nukus
Transfer to airport for flight to Nukus at 07:00. Arrival at 08:20. Visit Savitskiy art gallery with its unique collection of many thousands of works by dissenting artists from the Soviet Union during the period in which Stalinist socialist realism was the only permitted form of Soviet art. Many travelers believe this is the only compelling reason to visit Nukus. Nearby is the Museum of Applied Arts showing local fabrics, traditional clothing and jewelry. The Karakalpak State Museum exhibits examples of natural history dating back to ancient time of Khorezm kingdom.
PM drive to Ayazkala yurt camp via Chilpik , hill of silence or dakhma for fire-woshippers. The construction is unique for its shape, dates back to 1c BC and 1 c AD used till 7-8 C AD when the region was invaded by Arabs. It is located at the right bank of Amudarya river (Oxus) and along the way to Ayazkala and Topraqkala. Evening arrive in Ayazkala yurt, dinner and overnight.
Day 3:
Ayaz kala
Topraq kala
Koykirilgan kala
About 50 km east of Gaur Kala in a straight line, stand some of the larger fortress in Khorezm – the three Ayes kales, kale meaning fortress.
The three kales stood guard over an oasis and a fertile plain that existed in the first millennium BC, and provided refuge for the inhabitants when the countryside was under attack by invaders.
While the region around the Ayes Kala complex is today the semi-arid desert, over two thousand years ago, the Ache Darya river created a fertile basin and an oasis. The Ayes Kala lake to the north of the complex was at that time part of the river. On one of the hills stands the so-called Gaur Kala (or Qala) meaning infidel fortress, a name by the Arab conquerors of Persian empire lands. There are three Gaur Kalas in the region, one not too far away across the river and south beside the Sultan Uvays hills and the other in Turkmenistan’s Marv area in the old Avesto country of Mouru. The naming of these Kalas or fortresses as Gaur Kalas assures us that they belonged to Zoroastrian kingdoms as the Arabs were particularly hostile and derogatory towards Zoroastrians.
Looking southwest from the heights of Ayaz Kala, a person can see the Elik Kala (fifty fortresses) oasis and in its midst – the fortress of Toprak Kala. Toprak Kala (also spelt Topraq Qala or Turpak Kala), a local name meaning clay fortress, was where the rulers, Shakhs, and nobility of Khorezm had their residences. It was also an administrative and religious centre, if not the capital of Khorezm. The rise of Toprak Kala appears to coincide with the decline of Kazakl’i-yatkan, some fourteen kilometres to the southwest.
Koykrylgan Kala is an amazing and enigmatic site. Its circular shape is unique. Koykrylgan Kala is a 4th century BCE fortress, but what lay within the fortifications is a mystery. Today, the site lies in a remote part of the surrounding desert. In the 2nd century BCE, the complex was destroyed by fire, was rebuilt and remained in use until the 4th century CE.
Dinner and overnight in Yurt.
Day 4:
Ayazkala – Khiva
After breakfast drive to Khiva and check in hotel. Today you will visit historical city museum in open air. spend a day in UNESCO World Heritage site Ichan-Qala fortress. Which is surrounded by more than 2 km city wall, rebuilt in 19 century. It is still populated with local people and the population of Khiva is about 2000 people. It is so called museum in open air with its interesting history, stories and intrigues and local people who welcome you in their house at any time. In Ichan-Qala fortress visit Mukhammad Amin Khan madrasah with attached Kalta minor which means a short minaret or unfinished minaret. Mukhammad Rahimkhan Medresah or medrasa of Feruz, the poet , musician and khan of Khiva, Kunya-Ark the old citadel of Khiva khan with its watch tower , salamkhana and administrative offices of that time, Juma mosque- a unique mosque in central asia with its 218 wooden pillars dating back to 1st and 19 centruries . Toshkhovli palace-harem of Khiva khanate, decorated with beautiful blue tiles and inner yard for wives and concubines of Khan, Pakhlavan Makhmud mausoleum- a burial place of a great poet, writer, philosopher and wrestler of 12 C, minaret and madrasa Islom-khodja. Akmachit-white mosque located inside of ichan qala, close to Eastern gate which was used a punishment gate for slaves who tried to escape from Khan. The city has 4 gates, Western gate or Ata Darvaza, the main entrance to the city, Northern gate and southern gate. You can end your visit of Khiva with Karavansaray of 19 century and present day provincial bazaar of Khiva. Free time in the afternoon. Besides historical sites you can also visit handicrafts workshops of wooden stuff and silk carpets.
Free time in the afternoon.Extras to do in Khiva:

  • Folk and dance show of Khoresm musicians
  • Darboz (show of Rope walkers) in Muhammad rahimkhan madarsa
  • Visit of Ancient Fortress of Ayazkala and Topraqkala (80 km one way)
  • Climbing Islam Khodja minaret
  • Master class from a puppet master of Khiva
Day 5:
Khiva – Bukhara
After breakfast drive to Bukhara via Kyzylkum desert and en route a short stop at Amudarya river bank. Box lunch or late lunch in Bukhara.
PM free in Bukhara. Overnight.Extras to do in Bukhara:

  • Borzi Kord Taqi-Telpakfurushon, daily except Tuesday, men’s bathhouse.
  • Hammom Kunjak – The women’s bathhouse near Kalon Minaret.
  • Folklore and Fashion Show – Nadir Divan Begi Medrasa
  • Museum house of Fayzulla Khodjaev
Day 6:
Bukhara
Today Visit includes trade domes of Bukhara. Bukhara was cultural, Islamic and trade center of Central Asia. Taki Zargaron,special market place for golden jewelery in ancient times, but still at present you can find some modern and antique jewelry. Medrese Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan madrasa, which is famous as Kosh madrasa or double madrasahs facing to each other, but built in different periods 16 and 17 C. Tim Abdullakhan, was a covered market, nowadays it is antique shop of Carpets and silk fabrics. Taki Telpakfurushon, market of hats. Bukhara was also famous for its karakul sheep’s fur and this market was the special place for that. Magoki-Attori mosque, used to be temple of Bhuddist, bazaar of spices and mosque. At present it is museum of carpets of Central Asia and Uzbekistan. Taki Sarafon, money exchange center, during silk road trades it was used as an exchange market and even now you can find modern banks for exchange or cash withdrawal.
Lyabi Hauz Complex including Nadir Divan Begi medresah and Khanaqa, also known as Jewish community center, where you can visit Jewish school and Synagogue. Madrasah Chor-Minor.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7:
Bukhara – Samarkand
After breakfast drive to Samarkand, en route stop at the ruins of Rabbati Malik Caravan saray ruined in 11 C by Chengizkhan troops and Sardoba well.
PM arrival in Samarkand.
Check in and free time.
Overnight.
Day 8:
Samarkand
Full day sightseeing in Samarkand.
Samarkand, the capital of ancient Sogdiana, is one of the oldest cities in the world, of the same age as Rome, Athens and Babylon, estimated 25 centuries old. During those centuries the city has survived many great and dramatic events. Samarkand saw Saka and Massagets, Greeks and Macedonians, Karakitais, Arab commanders and hordes of Genghis Khan. Under Amir Timur’s rule, Samarkand became the capital of his huge empire. The Great Silk Road went through the city. Hsuan Tsang visited Samarkand on his way to India.
Visit Gur Emir mausoleum, family graveyard of Temur and his sons, teacher and grandchildren. Supposed to be the hanaka of his grandson Muhammad Sultan, but due to sudden death of Temur and due to other cistcumstances became the grave of Temur and his relatives.
Famous Registan Square-known from the 13th century AD as a bazaar square, was the centre of trade and cultural life in medieval Samarkand. It is surrounded by 3 madrasahs of different periods. Bibi Khanum Mosque, built by Temur and devoted to his favorite wife, however other legends say that it was built by his wife as present to him for his successful invasion of India in 1399.
Afrosiab Site & Museum: It is the area of 212 hectares mostly hilly surrounded by a moat. Here was situated ancient Afrosiab (old name of Samarkand). It had existed from 6th century BC till the 13th AD. Now archaeologists here continuously conduct excavations. The museum displays: the model of ancient city and fortress walls, pottery, weaponry, coinage, altars and most of all the mural painting of the 7th century.Extras to do in Bukhara:

  • Sound and Light Show in Registan square at night after 2100.
  • Folk Show in Sherdor madrasah
  • Silk carpet factory
  • Fashion shop of Valentina
Day 9:
Samarkand
Shahrisabz
Termiz
Am drive to Shahrisabz, visit the ruins of Ak Saray palace of Temur, Kok Gumbaz mosque, Jahangir’s mausoleum. Lunch in local restaurant. PM continue driving to Termez. The road lies through Hisor mountains and you may stop at one of the mountain villages for lunch in local chayhana.
Evening arrive in Termez,
Overnight.
Day 10:
Termez
You will spend your day in old and ancient city. Visit History and archeology museum of Termez Visit Fayaztepa, dating back to 1c AD, Buddhist temple and Kara tepa. In all probability in the middle of the 1st century A.D. in the northeast part of Kushan Termez many Buddha’s cult monuments were built in Karatepa and Fayaztepa. An aqueduct might have been erected then to provide these monuments water. Its remains have been preserved as a running to the northeast part of Old Termez.
The Buddha cult centre in Karatepa was situated on a sandstone rise, consisting of three small hills, and occupied the area of about 7 hectares. As the archaeological work showed, the centre was a complex of separate buildings, constructed at different times. These included a cave west and south summits of Karatepa and surface structures northern summit. Also visit Zurmala stupa and mausoleum of Hakim At Termiziy. a well-known theologian of the IX c., considered to be as a sacred protector of the city. He was the author a number of compositions of a mystic-philosophical character and was the founder of the dervishes order. “Hakimi” is considered one of the twelve sects of mysticism.” Preserved in this ancient town masterpieces of architecture the earliest group of mausoleums of the complex of Sultan Saodat, the building of Kirk- Kiz, the carved ganch decoration of the Palace of Termez Shahs and burial vault of Hakim at-Termizi wittiness about the high art of the architects and masters of medieval Termez.
Overnight.
Day 11:
Termez – Tashkent
AM flight to Tashkent. PM free and you can enjoy walking in the city, visiting local bazaars and souvenir shops, you can ride in subway of Tashkent, or visit Opera and ballet theatre.
Overnight.
Day 12:
Tashkent

Transfer to airport for flight to home

Accomodation:

Cities Accommodation, 4* or best available option Accommodation,
3* option
Accommodation,
Budget Option
Tashkent La Grand plaza Grand Nur hotel Rovshan hotel
Park Turon Expo Hotel Oasiz asaka
Grand Mir Asia Tashkent Akbar Shoh hotel
Dedeman Sayohat hotel Grand Tashkent
Tashkent Palace Grand Bek
Samarkand President Palace Malika Classic Zarina hotel
Afrosiyob Hotel Sherdor Shakhname hotel
Regal Palace hotel Kamilla Furkat hotel
Bukhara Grand Bukhara Lyabi house Old city hotel
Bukhara Palace Malika Bukhara Mekhtar ambar
Grand Nodirbek
Caravan hotel
Salom Inn hotel
Khiva Malika Kheivak Isak hoja
Arkanchi hotel Islambek
Malika Khiva Zafarbek
Asia khiva
Orint star

Prices include:

  • All transfers: 1-2 pax by sedan type car; 3-7 pax by van type car, 8-12 by 20 seat bus; from 13 pax and more by 45 seat tourist class bus;
  • Accommodation based on double room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour program in each city with local guides;
  • Entrance tickets to the sights, museums, mausoleums;
  • Airplane tickets for domestic flight Tashkent-Urgench;
  • Visa support for Uzbekistan tourist visa;
  • Starting from 6 pax full board;
  • Starting from 10 pax 1 person travels free of charge, accommodated in single room;

Prices DO NOT include:

  • Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour up to 6 pax;
  • Full board up to 6 pax;
  • Charges in hotels for additional services;
  • Consular fees for Uzbekistan tourist visa;
  • Personal insurance.
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