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Around the Ancient Cities of the Orient
Tour to Uzbekistan. Historical and architectural tourism in Uzbekistan with OrexCA.com

Around the Ancient Cities of the Orient Duration: 5 days, 4 nights
Kind of route: airway and motor coach tour
Season: year-round
Accommodation: Single/Double in hotels
Tour itinerary: Tashkent - Urgench - Khiva - Bukhara - Samarkand - Tashkent

This intensive tour around the greatest cities of the Orient - Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva, consists of a combination of historical and architectural components.

The roots of the architecture of Uzbekistan date back to the 2nd Millennium B.C., the Bronze Age. Classic antiquity and the medieval era are noted for a flourishing of town-planning that reached its most triumphant period at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th c. A.D. Architects straightened and improved main roads and thoroughfares and created picturesque and diverse ensembles of squares, streets and necropolises.

During the period of the Dynasty of the Timurids monumental architecture was concentrated mainly in Samarkand, Shakhrisabz and Bukhara. The architecture of this period is noted for its majestic scale, the audacity of the engineering, and the splendor of its ornamentation. The architecture is a mixture of the creative forces of craftsmen from Central Asia as well as from Iran, Azerbaijan and Syria. It was the basis of a unique style which, in turn, influenced the architecture and town-planning of those countries as well.

This synthesis of architectural styles was pre-determined by the crossing of caravan routes, trade paths, and human contacts in the region and, as a result of the existence of the Great Silk Road - an artery of international communication. Since that time Uzbekistan has been the centre and heart of Central Asia, a centuries-old bridge between East and West, between the rich heritage of its ancestors and its modern achievements.

We also recommend that you look through the variety of additions that you can add to the main tour program in your free time based upon your wishes and preferences.

Tour itinerary: Tashkent - Urgench - Khiva - Bukhara - Samarkand - Tashkent

Day 1: Tashkent

Evening arrival to Tashkent - the capital of Uzbekistan. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation. Rest after a long flight.

Day 2: Tashkent - Urgench - Khiva

Early breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to airport at 05:50. Departure to Urgench on flight HY-1051 at 07:00. 08:40 arrival in Urgench - the administrative centre of the Khorezm region. Transfer to Khiva - the only "Museum under the open sky" in Central Asia that has been completely preserved up to the present day (35 km, 30 min). Accommodation in a hotel, located inside or nearby Ichan-Qala - the historical center of Khiva which has been inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List. City tour around the architectural complex "Ichan-Qala" (12-19th cc.): Kunya-Ark khan's castle - the inner citadel of Ichan-Qala (16-17th cc.), Kalta Minor Tower (Short minaret) that would have become the biggest and tallest minaret in Central Asia (19th c.), Muhammad Amin-Khan - the biggest medieval medressa in Khiva (1845-1855 yy.), Djuma Mosque with 212 wooden columns and a minaret 32,5 m height (10th c.), Tash-Hauli (Stone courtyard) palace looking like a fortress with a high battlements, towers and fortified gates (19th c.), Ak-Mosque (White Mosque) - a small quarter mosque by the gates of Palvan-Darvaza (1838-1842), necropolis of Pahlavan Mahmud - the cultic center of Ichan-Qala (1810-1913 yy.), residence of Islam Khodja (1910 y.) - the vizier of the last khan. Ensemble consists of the smallest medressa in Khiva and a minaret whose top platform has a height of 45 m and is the highest observation point in town. Free time. Overnight in Khiva.

Day 3: Khiva - Bukhara

Breakfast. Starting 06:00 coach trip to Bukhara (480 km, 5-7 hrs). Arrival in Sacred Bukhara - one of the most esteemed cities of Islamic civilization. Hotel accommodation. Afternoon city tour: Ark - the center of Bukhara statehood (4th c. BC), silk carpet shops, complex Poi Kalon ("Beneath the Great"): Kalyan Minaret - the main symbol of sacred Bukhara that symbolized authority and power of spiritual governors. (12th c.), Kalyan Mosque - its area of 130 x 80 m surpasses Bibi-Khanym mosque in Samarkand, Miri Arab Madrassah - active madrassah is one of the most esteemed spiritual Islamic universities (16th c.), Taki Zargaron - the dome of jewelers (15-16th cc.), Ulugbeg Madrassah - one of the 3 madrassahs constructed by grandson of Tamerlan - Ulugbeg (15th c.), Abdulaziz-khan Madrassah - a traditional madrassah with 2 floors of hudjras and a mosque on the central axis ( mid. of 17th c.), Tim of Abdullah-Khan madrassah (1588-1590), atlas shops, Magoki-Attari Mosque - the most ancient mosque in Bukhara (12th c.) is considered a masterpiece of Bukhara architecture, Khanaka and madrassah of Nadir Divan-Beghi - a massive rectangular structure that was a place for the refuge and meditation of Sufis (17th c.), Kukeldash Madrassah (16th c.) - one of the biggest Bukhara madrassah, Lyabi-Hauz ensemble - the largest artificial reservoir of medieval Bukhara - is very popular among travelers (14-17thcc.). Overnight in a quiet and cozy Bukhara hotel.

Day 4: Bukhara - Samarkand - Tashkent

Breakfast. 06:00 transfer to the historical town of Samarkand - a crossroad of the world's cultures, one of the most ancient cities in the world (268 km, 4 hrs). Tour around the capital of Tamerlane's Empire: Gur Emir Mausoleum - Tamerlan's tomb (14-15th c.) that was built for Temur's grandson Muhammad-Sultan and the tombs of three other Temurids - sons of Temur - Miranshah and Shahruh and his grandson Ulugbek, Ruhabad Mausoleum ("House of Spirit") - the legend says that under the dome there is a box with seven hairs of Prophet Muhammad (14th c.), Registan Square ("A sandy place") - the major square of Samarkand: Ulugbeg Medressa - Sheikh Khodja Akhrar and poet Djami were among outstanding graduates of the medressa (15th c.), Sher-Dor Medressa ("Having tigers") (17th c.), Tillya-Kari Medressa ("Coated by gold") - the rich gilding on the dome, walls and mihrab surpassed all other famous buildings in Central Asia (17th c.). The mosque named after Hazret-Hyzr - an Islamic saint and eternal wanderer. He was esteemed as giving richness and good luck in far voyages and trade (19th c.), cathedral mosque Bibi-Khanym that was named after the oldest wife of Tamerlan (14th c.), the architectural complex Shahi-Zinda (Alive king) - necropolis on the slope of the Afrosiab hill is connected with Kusam ibn Abbas - the cousin of Prophet Muhammad (11-15thc.). Evening transfer to Tashkent (315 km, 5 hrs). Arrival and accommodation in the hotel. Overnight in Tashkent.

Day 5: Tashkent

Breakfast. Transfer to Tashkent Airport for morning flight to next destination, good bye to the wonderful land, back to monotony with the intention of returning.

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