Welcome to Uzbekistan. The largest city in Central Asia with a population of over 2 million, Tashkent is a mix of Russian and Uzbek style, an indication of the fact that for many years it was a key city of the USSR. Extravagant mosques, both ancient and new, sit alongside modern highways and Soviet monuments. On arrival at Tashkent Airport, meet your Peregrine representative and transfer to your hotel. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6pm today. If you have time beforehand, take a walk to see some of the contemporary architecture that sets this city apart from many other Silk Road destinations. Dinner at Indian Restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. Spend a full day exploring Tashkent on a city tour. A highlight is the Chorsu Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest markets in Central Asia. Wandering through this giant marketplace is a fantastic way to see locals going about their daily lives. Uzbeks are some of the friendliest people in the world and you will find yourself chatting to many locals who are keen to get to know you. Be sure to try some of the fresh produce on offer. After wandering through the bazaar, explore some of the rich cultural history of Uzbekistan, including the 16th-century Kulkedash Medressa – an Islamic school that sits beside the 15th-century Juma (Friday) Mosque. The History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan provides an introduction to the country and the region in general, from the Silk Road era to Soviet times. A brief tour of Tashkent’s metro system will reveal some beautiful stations (note that photography is not allowed in the subway). Also visited will be Amir Temur Square (the central park with the statue of Amir Temur on the horseback just outside the imposing Hotel Uzbekistan), the Khast Imom Complex including the Barak Khan Madrasa (a college for Islamic instruction), Kaffal Shashi mausoleum, Quran Library and Mosque, and the Roman Catholic Church of Tashkent. After a full day of sightseeing, perhaps go to the ballet or opera at the stunning National Theatre in the evening if there is a performance tonight. Your leader can assist you with what's on and buying tickets. Dinner at Indian Restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. Take a domestic flight and fly to Khiva in the morning. This isolated city lying in the middle of the desert is one of the most atmospheric in Uzbekistan and should not be missed even though it’s out of the way. The city is divided between the Itchan Kala or the Walled City and the area outside of the wall. The bulk of the historic sights are located within the walls so it may be better to choose a hotel located inside. Dinner at Indian Restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. The Kalta Minor minaret with its beautiful baby blue hues is one of the most striking attractions in Khiva. It was constructed in the 19th century but the architect escaped before its completion as he feared persecution by the Khan at the time. The Juma Mosque is particularly notable for its wooden beams which have plenty of intricate carvings. The 45 meter high Khoja Minarest is the tallest structure within the walled city. Visitors can climb to the top for a fee but claustrophopic people may find the narrow path uncomfortable. On good days, you can even see Turkmenistan in the distance.
Make sure to climb up to the viewpoint in the Kuhna Ark for a wonderful vista of the old town. The Tash Chauli which used to be the khan’s palace has 160 rooms and a maze of corridors. The complex offers a peek at royal life in the old city. Head out to the East Gate with the statue of Al Khwarezmi, the founder of algebra and where the word “algorithm” originates. Dinner at Indian Restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. From Khiva, you can either drive to Bukhara or take a domestic flight. Do note that there aren’t daily flights between these two cities so if you plan to head out on a day where there are no flights, your only choice would be to drive. The road between Khiva and Bukhara is bumpy at certain points so do allow around a 7 hour journey time.
The name Bukhara conjures vivid images of the ancient silk road and for good reason. The city has exchanged hands between several empires including Persian, Mongol and Russian. The rich cultural heritage is evident today in. Dinner at Indian Restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. Later explore city tour of Bukhara.
Dinner at Indian Restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Samarkand. Another city that conjures up images of the ancient silk road, Samarkand today is bigger and more modern than Bukhara or Khiva. The city’s centerpiece is undoubtedly the beguiling Registan. The monuments here are noticeably grander but these are also more spread out. egistan – Probably the finest cultural ensemble in all of Uzbekistan, the Registan is a collection of three buildings with two facing each other. Of note is the Tilya Kori Madrassa which has a fake gilded dome (meant to be an optical illusion). Do note that the Registan is also floodlit at night and the only way to access it in the evenings is to go for the nightly concerts which cost only $5 and gives you access to the square. Dinner at Indian Restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. A highlight of this trip is standing on the iconic Registan Square with the three medressas (Ulugbek, Sher Dor and Tilla-Kari) towering over you. The Registan is probably the most recognisable of all Central Asia's monuments. The facades of the two medressas facing the central square are decorated in elaborate mosaic, tiles and intricate geometric brickwork, flanked by towering minarets and topped by azure-hued domes. The interiors of some of the buildings are just as impressive and there's so much to explore, including the many handicraft and souvenir stalls in the courtyards and rooms. While here you will visit the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, built by Timur. It is often compared to the Taj Mahal as it was built as a grand and timeless symbol of a man's love for his wife. This mosque overlooks the busy and colourful Siob Bazaar, where photographers will delight in taking photos of the many bustling stalls and the huge array of produce, as well as encountering friendly greetings from the local traders. Dinner at Indian Restaurant.
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to the station this morning and take the 8 am high speed “Afrosiab” train to Tashkent (approximately 2 hours). Head back to Tashkent before catching your flight back to your city of origin. You can choose to kill some time at the main shopping street which for some reason, is called Broadway or hang around Amur Timur Square for a glimpse of local urban life.
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