Treasures of the Silk Road

 

Countries: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China

Tour duration: 21 days

That tour offers an unforgettable emotional experience of life of the Great Silk Road. Tourists feel a charm of Uzbekistan with its palaces, mosques, minarets of Timur period, a primeval nature of Kyrgyzstan with wild landscapes of Tien-Shan and Pamir, countless herds of cattle: goats, yaks, sheep and horses, and the country of amazing history and culture - China. Guests get acquainted with monuments of Scythians (stone carvings) and Karakhanids, with cities-oasis Turfan and Kashgar with their very interesting historical spots and local people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1. Flight to Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Arrival in Tashkent with Turkish Airlines. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner (depending on arrival time). Overnight.

Accommodation: Hotel City Palace****

Day 2. Tashkent, sightseeing tour

This wonderful city is a real embodiment of the modern elegance. At the same time it remains an oriental city. After breakfast we take a full day sightseeing tour of Tashkent: visiting of the old city to see Barak Khan madrasah, mausoleum Kaffal Shashi, Chorsu market, Kukeldesh madrasah, Applied Arts Museum, Navoi Theatre, Independence square, Abdul Kassim  madrasah. Afternoon visit of the old town to see a Barak Khan Seminary, Tila Shaikh mosque and archives known for the exhibit of a rare copy of Koran written by the third Caliph Othman.

Accommodation: Hotel City Palace****

Day 3. Flight to Bukhara

After the breakfast transfer to the airport for flight to Bukhara. Bukhara was one of the great trading centers at the Silk Road. The history of Bukhara stretches back millennia. Humans have inhabited the region around Bukhara for at least five millennia ago and the city has existed for half that time. Located at the Silk Road, the city has long served as a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. City tour includes: architectural complex Poi Kalon with the Kalon minaret, Kalon mosque and Mir- Arab madrasah, Toki Zargaron trade-domes, Magoki  Attori mosque. Folk show in Nadir Divan Begi madrasah.

Accommodation: Hotel Salom Inn***

Day 4. Bukhara, sightseeing tour

After breakfast we take a full day of city tour: Ark fortress, Bolo-Khauz mosque, mausoleum of Samanides, Chashma Ayub mausoleum. After lunch visit to  Sitorai  Mokhi   Khossa palace (summer residence of Bukhara Emirs), Chor-Minor, architectural  complex Laybi Khauz  with the  madrasahs of  Nadir Divan Begi  and  Kukeldash  and  the doss-house for dervishes Khanako Nadir Divan Begi. In the evening we will participate in the joint cooking of the favorite national meal - plov in an Uzbek house. Our guests will see the process of preparation and will be able to participate. The cook tells about several kinds of plov. The guests can get a recipe. Then follows a joint eating of plov.

Accommodation: Hotel Salom Inn***

Day 5. Transfer to Samarkand, 440 km

Early morning departure to Samarkand. En route we visit Shakhrisabz. Shakhrisabz is a hometown of Tamerlane and everything in Shakhrisabz is linked with his name. We will visit ruins of Ak-Saray palace, Dorus Tilavat seminary, Kok Gumbas mosque, Dorus Siadat and the Friday mosque. Later proceed to Samarkand and on arrival transfer to the hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Registan Plaza****

Day 6. Samarkand, sightseeing tour

The historic town of Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world's cultures. Founded in the 7th century B.C. as ancient Afrosiab, Samarkand had its most significant development in the Timurid period from the 14th to the 15th centuries. Visiting of Registan Square which used to be a heart of Samarkand in ancient times. We will see three beautiful madrasahs: the Ulug-Bek Madrasah built in the fifteenth century; the Tillya-Kori Madrasah built in the seventeenth century; the Sher-Dor Madrasah, also built in the seventeenth century. Visiting of Gur Emir - mausoleum of the Great Tamerlane. Afternoon visiting of excavations and museum of the ancient city of Afrosiab and Ulugbek’s observatory located at the entrance of Samarkand. Among historical monuments of Samarkand, the observatory takes a particular place, constructed by Ulugbek (Grandson of the Great Amir Tamerlane) in 1428-1429.

Accommodation: Hotel Registan Plaza****

Day 7. Transfer to Tashkent, 360 km

En route short stops at village’s market and  after arrival in Tashkent excursion to the bright Museum of Applied Arts and tour along  the street of craftsmen  and  painters.

Accommodation: Hotel City Palace****

 

 

Day 8. Transfer to Fergana, 320 km

After breakfast departure to Fergana. En route city tour in Kokand:  visiting of the ceramics workshop and the museum of ceramics in Rishtan. Rishtan is known today as one of the largest centers in Central Asia of manufacture of unique glazed ceramic. Tea drinking in a house of local craftsman. Later proceed to Fergana. Farewell dinner.

 Accommodation: Hotel Club 777***

Day 9. Transfer to Osh, Kyrgyzstan, 100km

Transfer to the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border “Dostuck”. Border crossing. Transfer to Osh.  Osh is the oldest city in Kyrgyzstan (estimated to be over 3000 years old) and the second largest in the country. The town is situated at a crossroad along the ancient trading routes that became known as the Silk Road.  The age of the city can be judged by the rock drawings and inscriptions found on the northern slope of the four-­‐headed Suleiman Mountain. This mountain is located in the center of Osh and is a unique historical and architectural monument. The mountain is also known as Salomon’s throne. The site is still a popular place for local Muslims, with stairs leading up to the highest peak with a small mosque originally built in 1510. The mountain is included in the World Heritage list of UNESCO. Excursion to the bright Osh bazaar, Suleiman Mountain and Historical Museum.

  Accommodation: Hotel Osh***

Day 10. Transfer to Chichkan, 400 km

Transfer to Chichkan gorge along spectacular Bishkek – Osh highway via Toktogul water reservoir with cascade of hydroelectric power stations between Tien-Shan mountain ranges. In Uzgen excursion to an old minaret and mausoleums nearby. Visiting of a famous rice bazaar. Uzgen has a history of over 2000 years — it is claimed to have been the site of a number of citadels built at various times since the 1st century BC.  It was an important center on the trade routes between the Fergana and Northern territories of Central Asia. Uzgen became a highly developed town in the Karakhanid’s epoch and developed into a large trading and handicrafts center.

Accommodation: Mountain Hotel Oson **

Day 11. Transfer to Bishkek, 250 km

The road to Bishkek goes over sky-high Ala-Bel (3120 m) and Tuya-Ashuu (3050 m) passes and along picturesque Suusamyr valley, in summer dotted with hundreds yurts. The valley is a mountain summer pasture for countless herds of cattle. Here local people produce Kyrgyz national drink – Kymus (fermented mare’s milk), sour cheese and butter which they sell along the road.

Accommodation: Hotel Silk Road Lodge ****

Day 12. Bishkek, sightseeing tour

Bishkek is the capital and the largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located at the foothill of magnificent Kyrgyz Ala-Tau mountain range. Bishkek is a city of many green parks and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks and thousands of smaller privately built houses. It is laid out on a grid pattern, with most streets flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels that water innumerable trees which provide shade during hot summers. The city is believed to be the greenest in Central Asia with more trees per head of population than any other. Our sightseeing tour includes: blooming Osh Bazaar, Historical Museum, Museum of Applied Arts and Ala-Too square, the main square of the country. The square serves as a place for state events and celebrations and includes many monuments, open-air picture gallery, famous Oak Park, marble government buildings and theaters.

Accommodation: Hotel Silk Road Lodge ****

Day 13. Transfer to Issyk-Kul Lake, 250 km

On the way to the second largest mountainous lake in world we make a stop at Karakhanid’s minaret of the 12 century - Burana. Nowadays it is a museum complex which includes the tower itself, reconstructions of mausoleums found on the site, remains of the citadel, a collection of balbals (grave stones used by nomadic Turkic peoples), petroglyphs (stone carvings) and a small Museum. Further transfer through Boom gorge and along northern shore of the Issyk-Kul Lake to Cholpon-Ata town. The lake sits in a tectonic hollow surrounded by snowcapped peaks of Terskei and Kungei Ala-Tau Mountain ranges at the altitude of 1600 m. Issyk-Kul Lake is 180 km long, 60 km wide and 700 m deep. 134 streams and rivers flow into the lake but none flows out what is explained by underwater tectonic activity. In Cholpon-Ata we visit a small but very bright Museum of Issyk-Kul.

Accommodation: Hotel Three Crowns***

Day 14. Transfer to Son-Kul Lake, 230 km

Transfer to the alpine lake Son-Kul over “33 parrots” pass (3300 m). It is the second largest lake after Issyk Kul and the largest fresh water lake in Kyrgyzstan. It is surrounded by a broad summer pastures dotted with yurts, grazing cattle and mountains. These lands are used by shepherds of the neighboring regions as summer pastures for their flocks. Shepherds drive the livestock up in the mountains; set a yurt camp where they will live during summer months. Here you will get acquainted with traditional lifestyle of Kyrgyz nomads. You can enjoy horseback riding, easy hike to the mountains to see an amazing panorama of Son-Kul Lake and mountains, play with children or participate in cooking of national meals.

Accommodation: Yurt camp

Day 15. Transfer to Tash-Rabat, 275 km

The road goes over picturesque Moldo Ashuu (3439 m) pass. On the way you will see colorful landscapes of Naryn river basin. The river is the largest in Kyrgyzstan, flowing further in Uzbekistan as Syr Darya and feeds Aral Sea.

Tash-Rabat (“Stone Wall”) is a carefully restored stone caravanserai originally built in 12 century that once served as an inn at the Great Silk Road.  There is evidence that it was a place of both rest and worship and have served to protect caravans going to and from China from both the ravages of the weather and bandits. A central hall of the construction is surrounded by 30 rooms, dungeon for prisoners and khan’s central seat.

Accommodation: Yurt camp

Day 16. Transfer to Kashgar, China, 280km

Transfer to the Kyrgyz/Chinese border at Torugart Pass (3754 m). Border and customs procedures. Meeting with Chinese partners and further transfer to Kashgar.

Accommodation: Hotel International ****

 

 

Day 17. Kashgar, sightseeing tour

Kashgar has been an important trading center since the days of the Silk Road and still is today. The road from Eastern and Central China branches out to both the north and south of the Taklamakan Desert, and Kashgar is where the two branches meet again in the western part of the desert. The local population is a mixture of Uyghurs, Han Chinese, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks, boasting a colorful ethnic variety. The city is said to have the largest bazaar in Asia.

Kashgar city tour includes: Apak Hoja, Id Kah Mosque, Old City, Minority Lane Handicrafts.

Accommodation: Hotel International ****

Day 18. Flight to Urumqi, transfer to Turpan

This morning we take a flight from Kashgar to Urumqi and further transfer to Turpan.

Turpan is an oasis city. Turpan is synonymous with grapes and wine, the area’s most famous product. Despite the stifling heat and dry climate, delicious and succulent grapes are cultivated here due to the ingenuous irrigation system installed over 2000 years ago that transfers water from the glaciers. The town is surrounded by high mountains, while inside of it; there are many hills and mountains with small basins alternate with one another. Turpan used to be an important strategic point on the Silk Road. Turpan used to be a Buddhist center at the Silk Road owing to its geographic location. Among the Buddhist caves found in Turpan, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves are considered the most valuable.

On arrival visit of famous ruined Jiaohe City - capital of the State of South Cheshi. It was one of the 36 kingdoms of the Western region during the Han Dinasty. First settlements appeared there in the second century BC. City is comparatively well preserved.

At the end of the day we visit a famous Grape valley (12 km).

Accommodation: Hotel Huozhou ****

Day 19. Turpan, sightseeing tour

Full day sightseeing tour around Turpan.

Visit of picturesque Tuyoq ancient village (70 km) to see the oldest in Turpan area Buddhist caves dated back to the 4th c.  Later get inside of Astana Tombs to see well preserved mummies and unique wall of paintings.

Then we visit the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves (56 km) on the flanks of the Flaming Mountains. There are 67 caves dating from 317 to 1368, Bezeklik was an important center for Buddhist worship. Visiting the notable Emin Minaret (44 meters high, completed in 1778) and Mosque.

Accommodation: Hotel Huozhou ****

Day 20. Transfer to Urumqi, 160 km

Drive from Turpan to Urumqi.

Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang. Urumqi is quite famous for its claim that it is the most inland major city in the world, that being the farthest from any ocean. Urumqi is a continental traffic hub for China which connects Central Asia with Europe, and has become an important window of China to foreign economies and cultural exchanges. Urumqi was a major hub at the Silk Road with a reputation of leading cultural and commercial center.

Our city tour includes: Silk Road Museum, Red Hill, Bazaar & Night Markets.

Accommodation: Hotel Mirage ****

Day 21. Departure

Transfer to the airport and departure. End of services

 

Tour price and list of services - on request

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