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Zoroastrian & Buddhist Heritage of Uzbekistan

Created with Sketch. Uzbekistan
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Duration

13 days 12 nights

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

20 people

Languages

English, Espanol, Francais, German, Japanese, Russian

Overview

The Thirteen-Day Cultural Uzbekistan Tour will introduce you to the Zoroastrian and Buddhist heritage of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has long been a diverse region, with many religions coexisting side by side. Some historians even think that Zoroastrianism originated in the oases of Khorezm, but no matter its origins, this religion has long been a spiritual center. Buddhism also played a vital role in the development no the Termez region, not far away.  This tour will take you to all of the major sights in Uzbekistan, including Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand, plus some less-popular destinations, such as Nukus and Termez. The Zoroastrianism and Buddhism Tour is a great introduction to the spiritual history of Uzbekistan.

 ITIES TO BE VISITED: Tashkent, Termez, Nukus, Khoresm region, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand
ACCOMMODATION:
*Tashkent – 4 nights (Hotel Ramada 4* or similar 4/3*)
*Termez – 1 night (Hotel Le Meridian 4* or similar 4/3*)
*Ayazkala – 1 night (Yurt Camp shared)
*Khiva – 2 nights (Hotel Asia Khiva 4* or similar 4/3*)
*Bukhara – 2 nights (Hotel Asia Bukhara 4* or similar 4/3*)
*Samarkand – 2 nights (Hotel “Diyora” 4* or similar 4/3*)
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL: March – June, August – November

Book a tour to Uzbekistan if you love ancient history, mesmerizing medieval architecture, applied arts, hospitality, rich pilav with crispy bread, and natural fruits and vegetables grown under the bright sun. By the time, you leave your Uzbekistan tour, you will have an extra piece of baggage and a lot of unforgettable memories!

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Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrival in Tashkent
Day 1: Arrival in Tashkent

Arrive in Tashkent. You will be met by your driver and guide. Early hotel check-in with breakfast. Free time for rest after flight. Dinner at city restaurant.

Day 2: Tashkent
Day 2: Tashkent

Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning start sightseeing in the capital of Uzbekistan, the biggest city in Central Asia. Visit:
State Museum of History of Uzbekistan (1879) - to explore vast collection of artifacts related to Zoroastrian and Buddhist period in Uzbekistan.The museum fund lists over 250,000 exhibits, including over 60,000 archeological, over 80,000 numismatic and 16,000 ethnographical items reflecting Uzbek history from the primitive times up to the present. Special place of the exposition is taken by the artifacts related to Buddhist period the Uzbek history. The “Triad” – an ancient statue of Buddha with two monks (1-4th centuries BC) and other findings discovered in 1969 in Fayaz-Tepa Buddhist temple complex stand in.
Archeological site of Ming Urik - It has united plan structure. Its area was about 35 hectares. Struggle of the State of Ephtalites against the Turkic Khanate caused to remove of the capital to the north to the town on the site of Ming Urik approximately in the first half of 7th century AD. Ming Urik is considered to be the inhabitation of the legendary ruler of Turan – Afrasiab.
Old Citypart of Tashkent
Chor-Su Bazaar, the age of which is more than hundred years
Amir Temur Square - surrounded with the buildings of the “Uzbekistan” Hotel, University of Law (former Women’s Gymnasium), the Amir Timur Museum, well-known Tashkent Chimes and the Forums Palace - one of the most grandiose architectural structures in Tashkent
Independence Square- located in the center of Tashkent It is a favorite resting place for the Tashkent residents. The fact that the most beautiful fountains of the city are located in the square contributed considerably to it
Dinner at city restaurant.
Overnight at the hotel
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours

Day 3: Tashkent - Termez (Flight (661 km))
Day 3: Tashkent - Termez (Flight (661 km))

Early breakfast at the hotel
Transfer to local airport for morning flight to Termez (661 km, 2 h.). Upon arrival you we start sightseeing in ancient Buddhist center and one of the oldest cities in Central Asia – Termez. Visit:
Kokildor-Ota Khanaka (XV-XVI) – is distinguished by its architecture and unusual planning. This is the portal-domed construction, with many chambers and brick wall on the front.
Kyrk-Kyz Fortress – has attracted the attention of researchers for a long time, has been variously considered as a palace, an abbey, a caravansarai, hanaqoh, or just simply a civil construction.Local tradition connects it with the well-known national legend in which the princess Gulaim and her forty girls bravely struggled against raiding nomads.
Sultan Saodat Ensemble (XI-XVII) – a summer residence of Samani rulers. It had a number of cult structures added at different times: mausoleums, mosques and hanagoh, built on the perimeter of an elongated courtyard with a combination of integral and short compositions. The magnificent ensemble was distinguished for its ancient group of mausoleums, homogenous in composition and decor though built in different style.
Zurmala Tower (I-II centuries BC) – Buddha's stupa, religious Structure of Kushan Era. Zurmala is a 12-m high Buddhist stupa, found in the north-east of the ruins of Ancient Termez, it symbolized Buddha's death and burial (“stupa” is translated as “a heap of stones, a top” from Sanskrit).
Fayaz-Tepe (I century BC) – Buddhist archaeological site. Fayaz-Tepa complex was discovered in 1963 by the archaeologist L. Albaum during excavations near the Buddhist temple on the Kara-Tepa hill in the heart of the old Termez. This temple complex is characterized by rich paintings and well-preserved sculptures.
Mausoleum of Al-Hakim at-Termezi (XI-XIV) - This architectural monument was built to the north-west of the old Termez castle. Abu Abdulloh Mohammed Ibn Hasan ibn Bashir al-Hakim at-Termizi was the author of a number of religious philosophical works, a religious leader, an outstanding theorist of Islamic misticism and a prominent scholar and was the founder of the dervishes order.
Free time in the evening. Dinner at city restaurant.
Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

Day 4: Termez - Tashkent (Flight (661 km))
Day 4: Termez - Tashkent (Flight (661 km))

Early breakfast at the hotel
Check-out from the hotel till noon. Continue guided tour in Termez. Drive north-east to see:
Kampyr-Tepe (IV century B.C)– Greco-Bactrian Kingdom fortress (35 km, 1 h.). Is one of the oldest archaeological sites in the territory of Uzbekistan. It is ruins of the port city located on the Amu Darya River (Oxus in ancient times), founded at the end of the IV century BC and existed until the beginning of the first century BC.There, the archaeologists found well-preserved cultural layers of early Hellenistic, Greco-Bactrian and Kushan-Uezhian eras. Zoroastrians, Buddhists, idolaters of the ancient Greek gods, and followers of local cults lived together in peace there.
Jarkurgan Minaret (1109)– located 30 km away (50 min.). Unique in its original fluted form was the Jarkurgan in the medieval village of Charmangan, erected in 1109 by the architect Ali ibn Muhammad Serakhsi. Minaret in Jarkurgan was similar to minarets of Northern India and Khorasan.
Drive back to Termez, on the way enjoy views of Surkhan oasis and Friendship Bridge, which connects Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Visit:
Archaeology Museum (2002) - exhibits discovered on the territory of Termez and its surroundings. Most of the artifacts are either archaeological remains or items in some way related to archeology. This museum is unique in the whole Central Asia. Termez Archaeological Museum fund lists over 27,000 exhibits.
In the evening transfer to the airport for flight to Tashkent. Upon arrival in Tashkent transfer to hotel. Dinner at city restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

Day 5: Tashkent - Nukus - Ayazkala (Flight (1255 km) + 150 km)
Day 5: Tashkent - Nukus - Ayazkala (Flight (1255 km) + 150 km)

Breakfast at the hotel
Morning flight to Nukus (1255 km, 2 h. 45 min. flight). Arrive in Nukus and visit:
Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum (1966) - hosts the world's second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art and exposition of Karakalpak applied arts items. The Savitsky Museum's collection possesses over 90,000 exhibits, including a collection of Russian avant-garde artists, the art of ancient Khorezm, complemented by excellent copies of some exhibits of Louvre in Paris. British newspaper The Guardian called the museum "one of the outstanding museums in the world." Al Gore and President Jacques Chirac called this museum: "One of the best museums in the world".
Have a short drive around center of Nukus: see statue of Karakalpak poet Berdakh, Nukus City Hall, and Drama Theatre.
In the afternoon drive to Ayaz-Kala Yurt Camp via Chilpyk – hill of silence or Zoroastrian dakhma. Visit:
Chilpyk (II century BC) – a Zoroastrian dakhma. The age of this Zoroastrian ancient monument - dakhma Chilpyk (Shylpyk, Chilpak Kala) is more than 2200 years. The Zoroastrians used it for burial of the dead.
Arrive in Ayaz-Kala Yurt Camp
Dinner in the Ayazkala Yurt
Overnight in the yurt camp
***Savitsky Museum is closed on Mondays; Nukus tours are not held on Mondays in this regard.

Day 6: Ayazkala - Gyaur-Kala - Koykirilgan-Kala - Toprak-Kala - Khiva (200 km)
Day 6: Ayazkala - Gyaur-Kala - Koykirilgan-Kala - Toprak-Kala - Khiva (200 km)

Breakfast at the hotel
From Ayaz-Kala Yurt Camp visit a few of the larger fortresses:
Ayaz-Kala (II century) – Folk legends associate the name of the fortress of with the name of the legendary warrior-slave Ayaz. Ayaz is a Central Asian Turkic folklore hero. The semi-mythical hero, according to a legend, threw himself at an Amazon princess who lived in the Kirk-Kiz fortress.The Ayaz-Kala ruins have been hidden with the sands for millennia, but today thanks to numerous archaeological excavations, we can touch its ancient history.
Gyaur-Kala (IV century B.C) – "The Fortress of Infidels" – this is how the name of this ancient settlement is translated. It is not surprising, as this district is considered the native land of the most ancient texts of Avesta - Gathas, written by Zarathustra. The numerous ruins of the centres are the evidence that inhabitants Gjaur-Kaly were Zoroastrians who worshipped the fire.
Koykirilgan-Kala (IV-III centuries B.C) – the fortress of lost Rams. According to researches of archeologists, the Fortress of Lost Rams is one of the most ancient monuments ancient Khorezm statehood, the temple complex that partially functioned as a burial of the unknown ancient king or queen. The fortress population consisted of Zoroastrians, worshipping Anakhita, the goddess of water and rivers, and Siyavus, the god of sun.
Toprak-Kala (III century) – the capital of Khorezm dating back to the 3rd century A.D. the fortress was used as the residence of khorezmshakhs - governors of the country- up to 305 A.D. It is the unique completely dug out monument of architecture of Khoresm. The sizes and genius of an architectural design make Toprak-Kala one of the most unique monuments of Khoresm.
Lunch in the Ayazkala Yurt
Late in the afternoon drive to Khiva. Arrive in Khiva, check in to the hotel.
Dinner at city restaurant. Overnight at the hotel

Day 7: Khiva
Day 7: Khiva

Breakfast at the hotel
Spend a day in UNESCO World Heritage Site Itchan kala:
Itchan-Kala Fortress - is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today Itchan-Kala (Ichan Kala) is open-air museum. It is the old part of the city, surrounded with wall and turned into the State Historical Archaeological Museum. Here on the vast territory of 26 hectares the exotic image of the eastern city has been preserved.In Itchan-Kala there are about 60 historic buildings.
Mukhammad Aminkhan Madrasah (1851-1854) – is the largest madrasah not only in Khiva but in the Central Asia. The two-storied building occupies the area of 72 to 60 meters and has 125 khudjras (cells), intended for 260 students.
Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah (1876) – is a bright sample of culture of architecture of that epoch and takes a special niche in the history of Khoresm. Named after Muhammad Rahim-khan, who was one of the most educated representatives of Kungrat dynasty ever to rule in Khiva since 1770.
Kalta-Minor (1855) – it has become the real symbol of the city. Foundation of the minaret is 15 meters, diameter at the foundation is 14,5 meters and the height is 29 meters. But this massive tower has only third part of the project height. Its unique decoration strikes an imagination: the minaret is completely covered with the glazed tile and majolica.
Juma Mosque (XVIII century end) - is an original building without portals and cupolas, without galleries and yards. It is 55x46 m. The interior space is a single hall, the flat ceiling of which is supported by 215 wooden pillars.
Tash-Khovli Palace (XIX century) – summer residence of Khiva khans. The original synthesis of architecture and monumental decorative art in the creative work of the Khorezm masters are vividly represented by this palace.
Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum (1701) - If blue domes as the symbol of the eastern architecture can be often found in Samarkand and Bukhara, there is only one blue dome in Khiva. It decorates the tomb of Makhmud Pahlavan, a famous poet and warrior of the XIV century. In the mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud people pray and drink the holy water.
Islam-Khoja minaret (XX century) – is the highest minaret in Uzbekistan. The height of the minaret 6 meters, diameter of the fundament is 9.5 at the base.
Free time in the afternoon. Dinner at city restaurant.
Overnight at the hotel
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours

Day 8: Khiva - Bukhara (480 km)
Day 8: Khiva - Bukhara (480 km)

Breakfast at the hotel
In the morning depart Khiva and drive to Bukhara (480 km, 7-8 h.*).
The Great Silk Road once routed through Bukhara and Khiva ran through the Kyzyl Kum Desert, as the present road does nowadays*. Stop en-route to enjoy views of the desert and Amu Darya River.
Arrive in Bukhara late in the afternoon, check in to the hotel. Dinner at city restaurant.
Time for rest and overnight at the hotel
*some parts of the road are presently being renovated.

Day 9: Bukhara
Day 9: Bukhara

Breakfast at the hotel
Enjoy a walking sightseeing tour with a guide in Old City. Visit:
Lyabi Hauz Ensemble (XVI-XVII centuries) – historical source of water supply in Bukhara. It is formed with three large monumental buildings: Kukeldash Madrasah (1568-1569) in the north, khanaka (1619-1620) and Nodir Divan-begi in the west and in the east
Magoki-Attori Mosque (XII century) – Islamic mosque dating back to Zorastrianism. It is an example of an urban mosque in a residential quarter
Chor-Minor Madrasah (1807) – “Four Minarets” - The towers’ décor elements are believed to reflect the religious-philosophical understanding of the world’s four religions
Trading domes – Toki-Sarrafon Trading Dome (was currency exchange center of Central Asia), Telpak Furushon Trading Dome (first was book selling place, later selling caps), Timi Abdullakhan Trading Dome (carpets and fabrics were sold), Toki-Zargaron Trading Dome (were selling jewelries)
Ulugbek madrasah (1417) – the most ancient of three madrasahs, built by Ulugbek
Abdulazizkhan madrasahs (1651-1652) – luxurious decoration. The building is typical by composition, with four-ayvans yard, but with unordinary divergent fan of hudj groups after side ayvans and cupola buildings on the central axis
Kalyan Minaret (1127) – City symbol of Bukhara. The minaret was designated to summon Muslims to prayer five times a day. It still dominates the skyline of Bukhara, astonishing all who see it with its magnificent and flawless shape
Kalyan Mosque (XV century) - The layout of the Djuma Mosque (named the Kalyan Mosque) is traditional: a rectangular courtyard with a tall and large maksura room on the west side.
Miri-Arab Madrasah (XVI century) – is one of the best Bukhara architectural school monuments. Architecture and décor of Miri-Arab distinguish by highest culture and taste.
Legendary Ark Fortress (IV century BC) – The symbol of the state power. It was a residence of Bukhara khans
Bolo-Khauz Mosque (1712) – it is the only preserved monument on the Registan Square. The complex consists of the reservoir, Friday mosque and minaret. The most ancient part of the complex is the pond (Khauz), which is called as Bolo-Khauz ("Children's reservoir").
Ismail Samani mausoleum (IX century) - It was erected as a family crypt immediately after the death of Ismail Samani's father. Mausoleum is full of magnificence and feeling of moving from this world to the world that lasts forever.
Chashma-Ayub mausoleum (XII-XVI centuries) – “Saint Job’s Source”. A legend has it that the Bible prophet Job, having visited this land, decided to help the people who suffered from water shortage in the desert. He struck the ground with his stick, making a source of crystal clear water sprang at that place.
Enjoy free time in Old City. Dinner at city restaurant.
Overnight at the hotel
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

Day 10: Bukhara - Samarkand (290 km)
Day 10: Bukhara - Samarkand (290 km)

Breakfast at the hotel
Continue sightseeing tour with a guide. Drive out of the city outskirts visiting:
Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (XIX century mid) – summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir. The Bukhara architects having trained in Russia managed to combine oriental and western styles in their creation.
Mausoleum of Bakhoutdin Naqshbandi (1544) – is one of the most important Muslim shrines. The Mausoleum of Saint Bakhouddin Naqshbandi is considered as the Central Asian Mekka. Believers from different muslim countries come here to ask for the fulfilment of wishes and healing.
In the afternoon depart Bukhara and drive to Samarkand (290 km, 4h.). Stop on the way at:
Caravanserai Rabat Malik (XI century) – summer residence of Karakhanids. There is no analogous monuments which can give us an example of every-day life of the Karakhanid rulers in the territory of Central Asia.
Arrive in Samarkand late in the afternoon, check in to hotel. Dinner at city restaurant.
Overnight at the hotel
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours

Day 11: Samarkand
Day 11: Samarkand

Breakfast at the hotel
Meet your guide and driver at hotel lobby and start sightseeing. Visit:
Gur Emir Mausoleum (XV century)– authentic shrine of Tamerlane. This majestic complex consisted of a khanaka, the madrasah of Muhammad Sultan - grandson of Amir Timur, and, later, tombs of Amir Timur himself and his descendants. Gur Emir was a prototype for famous samples of architecture of the Great Mughal: Humayun Mausoleum in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra, built by Timur descendants, who ruled northern India.
Registan Square (XV-XVII centuries) - during centuries it was the center of Samarkand. The word Registan means “sand place”. The ensemble consists of three Madrassah: Ulugbek Madrassah (15th century), Sher – Dor Madrassah (17th century) and Tilla-Kari Madrassah (gold covered) (17th century).
Bibi Khanum Mosque (1399-1404) - The majestic blue domes of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque are the unusual sight. It takes one’s breath even from understanding the scale of construction of this monument, impressing with its size and beauty. In antiquity the dome of this mosque was compared with the dome of heaven and the arch of portal – with the Milky Way.
Siyob Bazaar (on Mondays it’s closed) - is a largest trading center of Samarkand. Mostly here you can find national bread, fruits, vegetables, sweets and a lot more
Afrasiab Museum (1970) – the most valuable artifacts of the history of ancient Samarkand. It is a museum in Samarkand dedicated to the history of the city. The museum's exhibits illustrate the history of Samarkand’s development from the time of Alexander the Great conquest.
Afrasiab Archeological Site (VII-II centuries B.C) – In the course of excavations it was determined that the city of Afrasiab consisted of fortress, inner city and outskirts. A hilly area of 212 hectares surrounded by a moat. Archaeologists presently conduct excavations on the site. The Afrasiab 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.
Dinner at city restaurant. Overnight at the hotel
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours

Day 12: Samarkand - Tashkent (Train (345 km))
Day 12: Samarkand - Tashkent (Train (345 km))

Breakfast at the hotel
Breakfast at the hotel. Continue sightseeing visiting:
Ulugbek Observatory (1428-1429) – The astronomical miracle of medieval Uzbekistan. Observatory was unique construction for its time.The basis of observatory was giant goniometer vertical circle), radius of circle was equal 40,212 meters, and the length of arc was 63 meters
Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis (XIV-XV centuries) - consists of rows of refine sparkling blue colors tombs. Shakhi Zinda consists of eleven mausoleums, which were built one after another in XIV - XV centuries. Shakhi Zinda is the burial place of royal persons and nobles. But the main mausoleum from which the necropolis starts seems to be the imaginary grave of Prophet Muhammad's cousin, Kusama Ibn Abbas. The complex was called "Shakhi Zinda" that means in Persian "The Living King".
Then drive to Konigil village to explore traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry. Enjoy free time with car and driver at your disposal after sightseeing tour.
At 16:00 transfer to railway station to take the fast-speed Afrosiyob train departing to Tashkent at 17:00 (345 km). Scheduled arrival time is 19:10. Pick-up and transfer to hotel.
Dinner at city restaurant. Overnight at the hotel
Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours

Day 13: Tashkent - Departure
Day 13: Tashkent - Departure

Breakfast at the hotel (if time of flight permits)
Check-out from the hotel till noon. Free time until transfer to Tashkent International Airport. Departure. End of the tour.

Included/Excluded

  • Ground A/C transport
  • Accommodations (double shared)
  • Meals: Breakfasts & Dinners
  • Sightseeing tour
  • Professional guide
  • Flight Tashkent-Termez
  • Flight Termez-Tashkent
  • Flight Tashkent-Nukus
  • Train ticket Samarkand-Tashkent
  • International air tickets
  • Visa charges
  • Cost for lunches (except Day 6)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuity/Tips for guide/drivers
  • Hotel extra services

Durations

Full day (7+ hours)

Languages

English
Espanol
Francais
German
Japanese
Russian

Tour's Location

Created with Sketch. Uzbekistan
Created with Sketch.
from 3,995

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