Sacred Places of the Great Silk Road (18 days/17 nights)Tashkent – Samarkand – Bukhara – Tashkent – Fergana – Osh – Sary Tash – Kashgar – Tash Rabat - Son Kul Lake - Bishkek
Day 1 Airport – Tashkent (flight): Arrival in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Accommodation at the hotel. Dinner. Overnight in Tashkent.
Day 2 Tashkent: After breakfast sightseeing tour in Tashkent the capital of Uzbekistan and also of the Tashkent Province. In medieval times the town and the province were known as "Chach". Later, the town came to be known as Chachkand/ Chashkand, meaning "Chach City." (Tash in Turkic language means stone). After the 16th century, the name was steadily changed slightly from Chachkand/Chashkand to Tashkand, which, as "stone city", was more meaningful to the new inhabitants than the old name.
Visit of the museum of decorative art, located in the magnificent residence of Prince Polottsev. Also we visit the old part of town, colorful Chorsu bazaar and Metro, which is unique in Central Asia. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 3 Tashkent-Samarkand: Breakfast at the hotel. Leave for Samarkand. Samarkand is situated in the valley of the Zarafshan River. It is the second largest city of Uzbekistan and is of the same age as the city of Babylon or Rome. Majestic and beautiful city Samarkand has a marvelous and attractive power. Poets and historians of the past called it "Rome of the East, The beauty of sublunary countries, the pearl of the Eastern Moslem World". Its advantageous geographical position in Zarafshan valley put Samarkand to the first place among cities of the Central Asia.
Day 4 Samarkand: Breakfast. Full day city tour in Samarkand. Visiting Registan, Bibi-Hanim, Shakhi-Zinda, Gur Emir, Ulugbek's observatory, Afrasiab museum. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 5 Samarkand - Bukhara: Breakfast at the hotel. Leave for Bukhara. Bukhara located in the valley of Zerafshan, always keeps its authentic charm. It was one of the significant cities of the Road of Silk, where all the tradesmen precipitated to sell their goods, in particular the carpets and the jewels. Although Islam was born elsewhere, it is Bukhara which was the heart of development of this religion. The city shelters hundreds of Islamic schools, the madrasas, and as many mosques and tombs of saints. The historic buildings bring back us to the medieval and quite front period: Ark (the citadel) 1-4th century, the whole of Poi-Kalian 15 – 16th century, Kosh Madrasa of Ulugbek and Abdoulaziz Khan 15 – 17th century, the whole of Liabi-Khaouz 16 – 18th century.
Day 6 Bukhara: Breakfast. Full day city tour in Bukhara. Visiting: The Ark (Citadel)-4th century, the, ensemble -Poi Kaliana 15-16th century, Kosh Madrasah in Ulugbek and Abdulaziz Khan 17th century , shopping malls: Toki Telpakfurushon, Zargaron Toki, Toki Sarafon.Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 7 Bukhara – Tashkent (flight): In the morning after breakfast transfer to the airport and flight to Tashkent. Lunch at a local restaurant in Tashkent. Walk around the city. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 8 Tashken – Fergana: Arrival in Fergana. Transfer to the hotel. Lunch. Sightseeing tour of Fergana, a city (population: 214,000), the capital of Fergana Province in eastern Uzbekistan, at the southern edge of the Fergana Valley in southern Central Asia, cutting across the borders of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Fergana is about 420 km east of Tashkent, and about 75 km west of Andijan Fergana’s wide, orderly tree-shaded avenues and attractive blue-washed 19th century tsarist colonial-style houses are said to mimic the appearance of pre-modern and pre-earthquake Tashkent. There is a high proportion of Russian, Korean and Tatar inhabitants compared to other Fergana Valley cities. With Russian as the dominant language, the city has a distinctly different feel from most Uzbek cities. We begin our trip to the town of Margilan, 18 km from the Ferghana. Visiting «Edgorlik», where silk «ikate» a cloth in the traditional style. You can see all the stages of the process of preparing silk fabrics from silkworm cocoon, which stretches to several buildings. Visiting one of the most famous masters of Margilan and one of the finest masters of the Fergana Valley. He sewing of silk «ikate» traditional dresses. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 9 Fergana – Osh: In the morning drive to the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border, going through the passport and customs control. Transfer to Osh city, an important trading point on the ancient Great Silk Road not far from the Kyrgyz – Chinese border. Sightseeing tour of Osh. Visit of Sulaiman Too (Solomon’s Mountain), a pilgrimage place for local Muslims, because, according to the legend, biblical prophet Solomon (Suleiman in the Koran) was buried at the foot of it, a mosque built by Babur, the founder of the Mogul Dynasty in India (15th c) and the Suleiman Mountain Museum, where we can see different things that were found in the immediate vicinity of the mountain, photos of the mountain’s petroglyphs, that date back to different centuries. In the evening visit of a traditional chaihana (tea-house), where you can try traditional Kyrgyz and Asian dishes, including plov, lagman, samsy- baked meat dumplings that are very popular in Central Asia. Overnight in guesthouse.
Day 10 Osh – Sary-Tash: After breakfast checking out of the hotel. Walk around the city, opportunity to see ordinary people’s life. Visit the famous Osh Bazaar, a classical example of an eastern market, situated on the bank of the Ak-Bura River and a three-storey yurt. Lunch in Osh city. In the afternoon transfer to Sary-Tash village, a small village, situated in the heart of the Pamir mountains. Dinner and overnight in guesthouse.
Day 11 Irkeshtam Pass – Kashgar: In the morning drive to the Kyrgyz-Chinese border. Passing border procedures and transfer to Kashgar. Kash",short for Kashgar,which means "a place like jade" is considered to be one of the brilliant pearls on the ancient Silk Road. Kashgar has a long history which is more than 2,000 years.There are many different nationalities and unique nature landscape-desert,oasis,plateau,glacial and all kinds of national habits and folkways. Accommodation at the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Kashgar.
Day 12 Kashgar: City tour in Kashgar. Pay a visit to Id Kah Mosque, a grand Islamic structure located in the center of the city of Kashgar. Also visit of the Apak Hoja Tomb, a tomb of the descendants of an Islamic sage. The legend goes that among the Hoja descendants buried here, there was a lady, Yiparhan by name, who was one of the concubines of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong. She was called Xiangfei (Fragrant Imperial Concubine) because of the rich delicate fragrance of flower sent forth by her body. After she died, her remains were escorted back to Kashgar by her sister-in-law Sudexiang and were buried in the Apak Hoja Tomb. So, some people call the tomb "the Tomb of Xiangfei”. Then, roam through the local colorful Bazaar (the Sunday Bazaar is said to be the largest bazaar in Central Asia).
Day 13 Kashgar: Today’s highlight is the sightseeing of Karakuri Lake, lied 191km from Kashgar. Karakuri Lake is known as "the father of glaciers". The snow-covered mountain, green grass and livestock form reflections in the mirror-like water, creating a fair and charming picture of Karakuri Lake. Then, drive back to Kashgar for overnight.
Day 14 Kashgar – Torugart Pass: After breakfast, drive to Turgart Pass, Kyrgyz – Chinese border. Arrival in Tash-Rabat. Tash-Rabat was constructed in the 15th century, on the ancient trade route from Central Asia to China, and was a resting place for merchants, ambassadors, travelers and other wanderers. It is the largest structure built of stone from Central Asian architecture of that epoch. It is notable not only for its size and building materials, but also for its special layout, based on perfect symmetry. Lost among the primeval wilderness, far from inhabited locations, the caravanserai looks unbleached, monumental and unassailable. Overnight in a yurt, a traditional Kyrgyz dwelling made of felt.
Day 15 Tash-Rabat – Son-Kul: In the morning drive to the Son-Kul Lake. It is the second biggest lake in Kyrgyzstan, after Issyk-Kul, according to the size and the one of the largest natural freshwater reservoirs of the country. The surrounding mountain ridges are not high and not very expressive, so your attention is not diverted from the water mirror, where a fishing boat is graphically distinguished from time to time. The primitive force is spread from the landscape, something ancient and mysterious. That place is covered with numerous legends and sagas, as any extraordinary and strong landscape. On the shore of the lake watching Kyrgyz and Central Asian national horse riding games (Ulak-Tartysh – Kyrgyz polo, Kyz-Kumai - catch a girl, Tyin-Enmei – while galloping trying to get a coin from the ground , Odarysh – wrestling on horses). Participating in the process of assembling a yurt– a traditional home for nomadic people made of felts. Overnight in yurts.
Day 16 Son-Kul – Bishkek: Transfer to the Issyk-Kul Lake. Lake Issyk-Kul is a drain less lake in the northern Tien Shan (mountains) of Kyrgyzstan, and the second largest mountain lakes in the world, following the Titicaca Lake in South America. The lake is famous for its magnificent scenery and unique scientific interest. It has length of 113 miles (182 kilometers), a width of up to 38 miles, and a surface area of 2,445 square miles (6,332 square kilometers). Issyk-Kul doesn’t freeze over in winter that is why the name of the lake means “hot lake”. On the way lunch in Kochkor village. Visit of a small museum of handicrafts. Departure to Bishkek. On the way visit of the Burana museum, a site of a medieval city of Balasagun, the capital of the Karahanid Kaganate, a Turkic dynasty of the 11 century. Dinner and overnight in Bishkek at the hotel.
Day 17 Bishkek: Sight-seeing tour of Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic. From 1926 to 1991 the city was known as Frunze named after the Bolshevik military leader Mihail Frunze. After the independence it was renamed Bishkek. Visiting Ala-Too Square, the main square of Kyrgyzstan, The State Historical Museum, providing different founds and exhibits relating to the Kyrgyz history, Old Square, Manas Square called after Kyrgyz legendary hero Manas, “ZUM” shopping center where you can buy different souvenirs. Lunch at a local restaurant. Visiting colorful Osh Bazaar, the main open-air market in Bishkek. Dinner.
Day 18 Bishkek – Airport: In the morning transfer to the airport. Flight home.
FOLLOWING SERVICES ARE INCLUDED:
- Meeting at airport
- Guide service
- Admission to museums
- Admission to national parks
- Travel insurance
- Air tickets and taxes
- Visa support
- Alcohol and water
- Additional services
Quote for the tour will be provide upon request and will depend on number of people in the group, hotel preferences (2,3,4,5 *), room types (single, twin…) and other factors.
For detailed itinerary you can refer to this large Map of Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyz visa can be obtained in the permanent representation of Kyrgyzstan in Europe or at Manas International Airport in Bishkek (2 passport’s photos and 35$ per pax, passport with a validity of minimum 6 months.)
This is a draft program. It can be revised in line with your request and your personal circumstances such as changes in flights, bad weather conditions and other unforeseen events.