In this ambitious tour you will see two biggest countries of Central Asia - Kazakhstan, known for its nomadic culture and spectacular natural landscapes, and Uzbekistan - the cradle of ancient civilizations, with its world-known cities Samarkand and Bukhara.
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Archaeology, History, Islamic Heritage, Culture and Traditions, Gastronomic, Folklore and Ethnic, Handcrafts and Folk Art, Shopping, Night Life, Outdoor Activities, Ecotourism, Camping and Trekking, Classic
October, April, May, June, July, August, September
Arrival in Almaty, excursion
City tour: Zenkova cathedral and St. Voznesensky cathedral, Memorial of Independence, Green bazaar. In the afternoon by cable car to Kok-Tobe, dinner there. Overnight in Almaty.
Visit to Charyn Canyon, return to Almaty, night train to Taraz
Charyn Canyon whole day tour. On this day, you drive south-east to explore the gigantic canyon with spectacular walls and plateaus. Return to Almaty to take the night train to Taraz. Overnight in train.
Drive to Otrar, excursions, drive to Turkestan, excursions, o/n Turkestan
Otrar - sightseeing at Arystan-Bab Mausoleum (teacher and spiritual mentor of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi), archaeological site of the ancient settlement of Otrar.
In Turkestan - sightseeing at "Azret-Sultan" historical and architectural complex, Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (Necropolis, a fragment of the fortress wall, citadel with gates, Hammam, Hilvet underground mosque).
Enjoy viewing Khoja Ahmed Yasawi tomb early in the morning. Visiting Sauran archaeological site with remnants of ancient fortress, wells and fireplaces. Drive to border with Uzbekistan, transfer to Tashkent. Free time and rest.
City tour of Tashkent, evening flight to Urgench/Khiva
Day tour in Tashkent, a city with two thousand years of history. You visit the old part of Tashkent and its medieval Kafal Shashi Mausoleum and Barak-khan Madrassa. You take a quick overlook of the modern city's most spectacular buildings, the complex of Oliy Majlis, People's Friendship Palace etc. Then you attend the Museum of Applied Arts.
In the evening, flight to Urgench, transfer to Khiva.
All day for tour in Khiva. Visit Ichan Kala, the inner fortress, Muhammad Aminkhan Madrassah and its minaret, Kunya Ark and Juma mosque with 218 wooden pillars, the Harem of Khiva Khans, mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud, a famous ancient wrestler and poet who patronized Khiva. Also, you will see Islam Khodja complex with a chance to climb up the 45m minaret and enjoy a breathtaking view of the evening Khiva at sunset from the top.
You are taken to see ancient Khorezmian clay fortresses Tuprak-kala and Ayaz-kala dating back to the 2nd century AD. If lucky, you may still find in the dust archaic debris, such as pieces of ceramics, coins and arrow heads in the gloomy dark of half-buried rooms. You may have a lunch in a Yurt (nomadic tent) on the top of a hill right next to the huge clay fortress with a smaller fortification on the slopes of the hill.
You take a long drive (480 km, 6-8 hours) through the desert along the course of the Amudarya River to the pearl of ancient Central Asia, Bukhara. During the drive you will make stops to enjoy breath-taking views of the ancient Amudarya (Oxus) river.
After arrival, the rest of the day is devoted to checking in the hotel and leisure.
Visit the old city, Ark fortress, Bolo Hauz mosque, Ismail Samani mausoleum, Chashma Ayub, Kalyan minaret, Trading Domes with all kinds of handicrafts, where carpets and jewelry are sold. You take pleasure of a lunch arranged in the comfortable setting of a private house in the old part of Bukhara. After lunch, you visit Maggoki Attori mosque, Lyabi Hauz square, Kukeldash Madrassah, Nadir Divan Begi Madrassah, and the Indian style Chor Minor of 19th century.
Also you see Chor-Bakr Complex, Summer Residence of Bukhara Emirs (Sittorai Mokhi Khasa), Baha Ad-Din Naqshband Necropolis, Art gallery and Sale Exhibition of the Bukhara Gold Embroidery Factory (optional).
In Shakhrisabz which is half way between Samarkand and Bukhara, you explore the remnants of the great White Palace built by Tamerlane, as well as Kok Gumbaz and Doru Saodat, where relatives and close friends of the Emperor were buried.
Sightseeing Samarkand. Madrassah at Registan Square. Workshops in the Madrassah offer a variety of locally made handicrafts, of which musical instruments and carpets are made with exquisite taste. The artisans will tell you about Uzbek musical instruments and play charming old melodies.
Half day tour of Samarkand, evening train to Tashkent, end of service.
Visit Guri Amir, the mausoleum of Tamerlane and some of his contemporaries. Then, explore the Observatory of Ulugbek who created an unprecedented catalogue of stars, Afrosiab Museum, city bazaar and Bibi Khanum mosque, and Shahi Zindah complex of mausoleums.
In the evening, you take a train to Tashkent. Upon arrival in Tashkent, your tour is over.