7 nights from
Visiting major sites and magical cities, this tour is designed to distil the Jules Verne experience into a compact seven-day discovery of Uzbekistan’s ethnic and cultural melting-pot. Concentrated on three destinations, the journey begins in the capital, Tashkent. A Soviet park-city, re-invented with a smart Downtown, and a revered religious complex; a combination of farmers’ market and modern commercial centre; with intriguing museums thrown in for good measure; it is Uzbekistan in microcosm. From here we take the high-speed train to beautiful Bukhara, where the whole medieval masterpiece at its heart is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Telling the tale of its two millennia of religion, academia, and art, the formidable Ark Fortress contrasts with the mulberry-tree-shaded Lyabi-Khauz plaza, labyrinthine lanes, caravanserai courtyards, and onion domes in azure hues.
An oasis at the crossroads of trade routes and cultures, Samarkand reflects adopted architectural styles and artistic crafts, and lives up to its legends of magic and romance with intricately paved alleys, exquisitely mosaicked façades, massive monuments hemming huge squares, and silks and spices spilling scent and colour through the city’s bazaar.
Fly overnight from London Heathrow to Tashkent.
Key: B - Breakfast L - Lunch D - DinnerRead More
Fly overnight from London Heathrow to Tashkent.
On arrival, transfer to the 4-star Hampton by Hilton Hotel for an overnight stay. An afternoon tour includes the ensemble of buildings forming the Khast-Imam Complex, the religious heart of the city, where two 50m-high minarets flank the Hazrat Imam mosque, and the Muyi Muborak Madrasah holds the 8th-century Uthman Koran, believed to be the oldest in the world. Continue to the Museum of Applied Arts, with priceless exhibits of embroidery, jewellery, and carpets; and to the fountains and monuments of impressive Mustaqillik (Independence) Square, showcasing modern Uzbekistan.
Travel by train (4 hrs) to Bukhara, and transfer to the 3-star hotel Devon Begi (or similar) for a two-night stay. A tour of the city this afternoon takes in the 8th-century Magoki-Attori Mosque, the oldest in central Asia; and the tea houses and 16th-century madrasahs of Lyabi-Khauz (‘By the Pool’) Square, described as the soul of the city, and offering a glimpse of local life and culture.
Today’s tour includes historic Poi Kalyan Square, its mosques, minarets and madrasahs built in the 12th to 16th centuries; the ornate artistry of the grand Abdulaziz Khan Madrasah, and the smaller, older, more subtly adorned Ulug Beg; and the enormous Ark Fortress, Bukhara’s Old Citadel and oldest structure, a town within the town.
Visit the 19th-century Emir’s Summer Palace, Sitorai Mohi-khosa (‘a star like the moon’), its original building in Oriental style, the newer in European. Continue to the small town of Gijduvon, renowned for its fine crafts since ancient times, and visit a ceramics centre for a demonstration and tea ceremony. Drive (3 hrs) to Samarkand, Tamerlane’s capital, for two nights at the 3-star Asia Samarkand Hotel (or similar).
A full day guided tour takes you to Gur Emir mausoleum (Tamerlane’s tomb); the Ulug Beg Observatory, the work of his grandson; and the Shah-i-Zinda (Living King) complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a place of pilgrimage, and an avenue of over twenty breathtakingly beautiful mausolea, adorned with tiles in brilliant blues.
Visit the most imposing of Samarkand’s magnificent monuments, the grandiose Bibi-Khanym Mosque, one of the largest in the Islamic world when it was built; and the three madrasahs which frame Registan Square, an amazing architectural ensemble of intricately tiled arches, domes, and pillars. Travel by road (5 hrs) to Tashkent for overnight at the 4-star Hampton by Hilton Hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight, arriving later the same day.
Shah-I-Zinda (Day 6) monument involves many steps.
On occasion, alternative hotels may be used.
Hotels in Uzbekistan are simple and unpretentious but well-located with a restaurant, bar and air-conditioned rooms with private facilities and satellite TV. From time to time, there may be water and electricity shortages and, on occasion, alternative hotels may be used. WiFi (free) is available at all hotels on the tour, although can be intermittent depending on local conditions. Food is based on fresh local produce and is nutritious but can be repetitive. Travel between the cities by road, whilst being a classic way to experience the country, involves some long journeys with only limited opportunities for comfort breaks. The order of sightseeing tours may vary in accordance with local conditions.
Extra nights are on request, please call to discuss your requirements
Hampton by Hilton
£70 (per night)
Single supplement £55
per person in a twin/double room
Uzbekistan Airways from Heathrow
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 6 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily and 6 dinners, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, visa procurement, optional excursions, overseas airport taxes, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.