Uzbekistan Odyssey

Uzbekistan

Culture

Ancient cities, spell-binding architecture & traditional craftsmanship

14 days £1,995 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Dates & Prices

Intro

Discover Uzbekistan's ancient cities, spell-binding architecture and wonderful craftsmanship. Explore Tashkent's madrassas and blue-tiled mosques. Fly west to explore Karakalpakstan province, where you will see Russian avant garde art in the Savistsky Museum and make an optional trip to the Aral Sea. Encounter remote desert fortresses in the Kizil Kum desert and trace the path of the ancient Oxus River to the walled city of Khiva, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Bukhara's beautiful mausoleums and Samarkand's Registan Square and the unique Shah i Zinda complex. Visit Tamerlane's birthplace and get away from the tourist trail to discover real Uzbek culture.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tashkent's historic area, Harzat Imam Complex
  • Savitsky Museum's Russian avant garde art
  • UNESCO-listed Ichin Kala in Khiva
  • Ancient fortresses of Khorezm
  • The UNESCO heritage city of Bukhara
  • Ancient fortress town of Nurata
  • The sublime architecture of the UNESCO-listed city of Samarkand
  • Gur Emir, Timur (a.k.a. Tamerlane)'s beautiful tomb
  • Unique tilework of Shah i Zinda mausoleum

Places Visited

Tashkent - Gyaur-Kala - Mizdahkan - Savitsky Museum - Nukus - Karakalpakstan - Khiva - Kyrk-Kyz Kala - Ayaz Kala - Toprak Kala - Kizil Kala - Chalpik Kala - Bukhara - Kizil Kum Desert - Oxus River - Nurata - Samarkand - Aydarkul Lake - Afrosiab - Shaitan Djiga - Shakhrisabz - Tahtakaracha Mountain Pass - Kokand - Rishtan - Margilan - Kamchik Mountain Pass

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Arrive in Tashkent

Arrive in Tashkent Airport, where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city. Highlights will include visiting the Harzat Imam complex, Chorsu Bazaar and Kukeldash Madrasah. Overnight stay in Tashkent.

Meal plan: n/a

Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, has had a long and turbulent history. It fell under Sogdian, Turkic and Islamic rule before being destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1219. Tashkent rose again as it profited from its position on the Silk Road, but was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1966 after which it was largely rebuilt again by the Soviets.

The historic Kukeldash Madrasah in Tashkent was built in 1570 by rulers of the Shaybanid Dynasty. The historic madrasah was built in a traditional style around an inner courtyard and garden. Many earthquakes in the region left the building in ruins. It has since undergone significant restoration efforts and was converted into a caravanserai during the 18th century. It was used as a barracks in Soviet times and even once served as a venue for public executions of unfaithful women.

The traditional Chorsu bazaar can be found at the heart of Tashkent’s old town, near the famous Kukeldash Madrasah. Dating back over one hundred years, the bazaar sits beneath a large, blue-domed roof that is designed to keep out heat and dust. Here you can find fruits, nuts, meat, spices, fresh bread and various handicrafts.

The Harzat Imam Complex is the heart of old Tashkent. It includes several important buildings, including the lovely 16th-century Barak Khana seminary, the 19th-century Tila Shaikh mosque and Hazrat Imam mosque. The latter was built in 2007 with Indian sandalwood columns that were carved by masters from all 12 of Uzbekistan’s regions. The marble was brought in from Turkey and the blue-tiled domes decorated with real gold leaf. Finally, the Muyi Moborak library contains the oldest koran in the world, created only 19 years after Mohammed’s death.

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Day 2 : Tashkent - Nukus

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Nukus. Get an insight into Central Asia's cultural heritage in the Savistky Museum, travel to the Mizdahkan Complex and see the ruins of Gyaur-Kala. Overnight stay in Nukus.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The fortress of Gyaur-Kala dates back to the 4th century BC. The community resisted Muslim invaders in 712 - giving it the name "Gyaur-Kala", meaning "fortress of the unfaithful". In 1220, the army of Khan Juchi - Genghis Khan's son - invaded and destroyed Gyaur-Kala. Excavations have revealed the remains of fabrics, cowry shells from the Indian Ocean and coral beads, which all indicate the significance of this settlement as a trading centre of the Silk Road. 

Mizdahkan is an ancient necropolis that was founded over 2,000 years ago. Medieval Mizdahkan was known as a prosperous craft and trading centre of the Silk Road. The city was destroyed and rebuilt several times through history, suffering from Mongol invasion during the 13th century. 

The Savitsky Museum is one of the key sights in Nukus. This art museum was opened in 1966 - and houses a collection of over 82,000 items. These include folk and fine art, along with the second largest collection of Russian avant garde in the world. The museum is named after its founder, Igor Savitsky, who was a Russian painter, archaeologist and collector.

The city of Nukus is surrounded by the Kara Kum, Kizil Kum and Ustyurt deserts. The former village of Nukus became the site of a large military fort during Soviet rule in the 19th century. The village began to expand in size around this fortress and later became the economic, administrative, political and cultural centre of the autonomous province of Karakalpakstan. 

Karakalpakstan is an autonomous region in remote Western Uzbekistan. The Karakalpaks are a traditional people who were often fishermen and nomads in the past. Their language is closest to Kazakh. When Karakalpakstan was a part of Russia it was also an independent area. The destruction of the Aral Sea has left Karakalpakstan as one of Uzbekistan's poorest and most desolate regions. The remote expanse of desert land was transformed following the Soviet irrigation of the Amu Darya River for cotton cultivation in the 1920s. 

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Day 3 : Nukus - Desert Fortresses - Khiva

Drive to Khiva, stopping en route to visit the ancient desert fortresses of Chalpik Kala, Kizil Kala, Toprak Kala, Ayaz Kala and Kyrk-Kyz Kala. Overnight stay in Khiva.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The fortress of Kyrk-Kyz was constructed in the 9th century and translates to mean "forty girls". The name originates from the legend of Queen Gulyaeem, where it is told the Queen bravely held this fortress against nomadic attacks, along with an army of 40 women. The structure later became an important stop for traders of the Silk Road.

Ayaz Kala is one of the largest castles of ancient Khorezm, consisting of a lower, middle and upper fortress. These clay frontiers are believed to have been constructed between the 4th century BC and 7th century AD to protect against nomadic raids. It is estimated to have remained in use until the Mongol invasions of the 13th century.

Toprak Kala was the capital of Khorezm in the 3rd century AD. The fortress was originally home to the governors of the country, although many wars led the rulers to flee. Today, these ruins provide an insight into ancient Khorezm culture. Excavations have led to the discovery of relics including coins, ceramics, silk fabrics and jewellery.

Kizil Kala stands in the territory of ancient Khorezm, where it was once a part of the Toprak Kala fortified system. The watchtowers at each corner of the fort are still clearly visible today, along with the slotted tiers of lancet loopholes.  Legend suggests that Kizil Kala and Tporak Kala were once connected with an underpass. 


Chalpik Kala, also known as "the tower of silence", is a fortress situated just south of Nukus. Standing at the top of a steep hill, the fortress has been used throughout history as a watch and signal tower. Excavations in recent years have led to the belief the fortress was also the site of ancient cult burial rituals.


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Day 4 : Khiva

Spend the day exploring Khiva, including the sights of Ichin Kala, the Friday Mosque and Tashauli Palace. Enjoy a demonstration at a UNESCO silk workshop, where you will also have the opportunity to weave your own silk pieces. Overnight stay in Khiva. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Khiva is a city located in the Khorezm region of Uzbekistan. Its history stretches back to at least the 6th century BC, though possibly much longer. Khiva is made up of an outer town (Dishan Kala) and inner town (Ichin Kala), which are surrounded by fortified brick walls that date back to the 10th century. Ichin Kala was the first site in Uzbekistan to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tashauili Palace was built within the walls of Ichin Kala during the 1830s to house the Khivan ruler, Allah Kuli Khan. Tashauili means 'stone house' and seems to accurately conjure up images of the labyrinth of stone passageways within and surrounding the palace complex. The outer walls of the palace are decorated with colourful murals, whilst inside there are ornate pendant ceilings, stone carvings and delicate inscriptions.

The Friday (or Juma) mosque of Khiva is typical of Arabian mosques built during the 18th century, consisting of moonlight holes in the ceiling and carved wooden columns. The mosque has over 200 such columns, many of which were carved from the trunks of trees. Some columns sport Arabian inscriptions, which are believed to date back to between the 10th and 12th centuries and reused when building this mosque.

Kalta Minar, meaning "short minaret", has become a symbol for the city of Khiva. Construction started  in 1853 by the Khiva ruler, Muhammad Amin Khan. It was intended to be over 70 metres tall, but in 1855  he was killed and the construction halted at a mere 26 metres. The wide foundation of the minaret indicates the intention to build an imposing tower, supposedly so he could see all the way to Bukhara. It is covered with original glazed tiles and majolica.

Islam Khodja Minaret is the tallest building in Khiva’s Ichin Kala. Built in 1908, it is almost 60 metres tall and was designed to be seen from a great distance so travellers could find their way to the city. There is an observation level within the minaret at a height of 45 metres, where visitors can enjoy a view out across the many monuments of Khiva.

Khiva’s workshops are amongst the best in the country and there are two in particular that are worth a look. The first is  the wood carving workshop in Khojash Mahram Madrasa and the second is the Khiva Silk Workshop. The latter was set up by Christopher Alexander and is written about in his book, “Carpet Ride to Khiva”.

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Day 5 : Khiva - Bukhara

Depart Khiva, driving through the Kizil Kum desert to Bukhara. Stop en route at the scenic banks of the Oxus river. Overnight stay in Bukhara.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Kizil Kum Desert is located in Central Asia, between the Amu Darya (Oxus) and Syr Darya rivers. “Kizil Kum” means “Red Sands” in Uzbek and the desert has many sand dunes and clay takirs, which are also known as salt flats. Animals found in the desert include the Russian tortoise and the large Transcaspian lizard.

The historic Oxus River (now called “Amu Darya”) is one of the longest rivers in Central Asia. It flows a total length of 2,400 kilometres from its source in Afghanistan through to Uzbekistan, and it once flowed into the Aral Sea. Intensive irrigation of the river began under Soviet Rule to enable extensive cotton farming in the lower basin of the river, which has had a devastating effect on those that relied on the river and the Aral Sea.

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Day 6 : Bukhara

Visit key sights in Bukhara, including the Lab-i-Khauz Ensemble, Mogaki Attari Mosque and Poi Kalon minaret and mosque. Sample authentic local delicacies in the home of Rakhmon Toshey, a skilled tapestry craftsman. Continue your tour of the city, visiting the Ark Fortress & Zindan, Balakhauz mosque, the Mausoleum of Ismail Samani and Chashma Ayub. Visit the Hunarmand UNDP-assisted workshops. Overnight in Bukhara.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

UNESCO-listed Bukhara was a key staging point on the Silk Road. According to myth the city was founded by a Persian prince who crossed the Oxus river in search of new fortunes and to escape an evil stepmother. The city today is home to over 140 largely intact architectural monuments.

The Ark Fortress is Bukhara’s oldest building, constructed on an artificial hill in the 5th century BC. The former military structure became the winter residence of Bukhara’s emirs, before it fell under rule of Russia in 1920. Today, the Ark is home to a museum that depicts its history and you can visit the former Russian Embassy, the former home of a progressive vizier named Kush Begi, and the throne room, where emirs were coronated and coins were minted.

Chashma Ayub, means “Job's well”. To combat drought in the region, Job (of Biblical fame) struck the ground with his staff and made a well. The water of this miraculous well is still believed to possess healing powers. A mausoleum was later constructed to protect the sacred site, and there is a small water museum here too.

The Mausoleum of Ismail Samani was built at the end of the 9th century, making it one of Bukhara’s oldest buildings. It was constructed by Ismail Samani as a family crypt following the death of his father. Ismail was the founder of the Samanid dynasty, and his reign was seen as Bukhara’s first golden age during which education and the arts flourished. The mausoleum’s simple architectural design is decorated with geometrically intricate patterns made from fired mud brick and shows influences of Buddhism as well as Islam, making the mausoleum unique.

Balakhauz mosque is the only preserved monument on the Registan square in Bukhara. The building was constructed in 1712 under the rule of Emir Shakhmurad. It was primarily built for public prayers, but was also a dormitory for Dervishes. Its beautiful wooden pillars are made from elm, walnut and poplar.

Poi Kalan is a religious site that encompasses Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque and the Mir-i-Arab Madrassah. Kalan Minaret, which stands at around 46.5m high, was built in 1127 and is often called the "Tower of Death", as many of those sentenced to death were thrown from the top, especially during the time of Emir Nasrullah, the “Butcher of Bukhara”. Kalan Mosque was built during the 1500s, on the site of a former mosque that had been destroyed by Genghis Khan. Modelled on Naqsh-e-Jahan square in Isfahan in Iran and built by Persian craftsmen, it served as a warehouse during Soviet rule. The ornate Mir-i Arab Madrassa was built by Ubaidullah-khan in honour of his spiritual mentor, Sheikh Abdullah Yamani of Yemen. A great blue dome stands above the intricate murals that adorn the great entrance.

The 11th-century Magoki Attori Mosque is the oldest mosque in Uzbekistan, but it probably used to be a  Buddhist temple first. Beneath the structure there is an even older Zoroastrian temple that has been partially excavated.

The Ulug Beg Madrasah is part of Kosh Madrasah, which also includes the Aziz Khan Madrasah. Each of these structures represent different ruling dynasties in the history of Bukhara. The influence of the Timurid and Ashtarkanid dynasties is reflected in the madrasah's differing architectural design and decor - where the Ulug beg Madrasah is more modest, Aziz Khan is more luxurious.

The Lab-i-Khauz Ensemble means "by the pond" in Persian. It is the name given to the architectural monuments that surround one of the few remaining ponds in the city of Bukhara. Many others were filled during the Soviet era due to fears of spreading disease. This one remains and is the centerpiece of a remarkable architectural ensemble including the Kujeldash Madrassa (built in 1568-1569), the Nadikhon Devanbegi Madrassa (1620) and Khana (1622). There has been a tea house beside the pond since the 16th century and Bukhara’s Jewish quarter abuts this area.

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Day 7 : Bukhara

Spend a free day exploring and relaxing in Bukhara. Overnight stay in Bukhara. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 8 : Bukhara - Nurata - Kazakh Camp

Drive into the Kizil Kum Desert to visit the Rabat-i-Malik caravanserai. Continue to Nurata and the Chashma complex. Enjoy a traditional dinner and overnight in a Kazakh yurt camp.

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

The ruins of Rabat-i-Malik caravanserai are located along the Silk Road, between Samarkand and Bukhara. This caravanserai has an important place in Iranian architectural history, due to its grand arched gateway. The terracotta structure has been decorated with ornate carvings and Arabic inscriptions that date back to between 1068 and 1080. 

The small town of Nurata can be found in the foothills of the Nuratau Mountains. The origins of the town are unknown - some associate this with the construction of fortress Nur by Alexander the Great in 327 BC, whilst archeological excavations suggest that humans have inhabited the region for forty thousand years. Today, Nurata is the administrative and cultural centre of the mountainous Navoi region. 

One of the most important Islamic sites in Nurata, the Chashma Complex is visited by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. At the centre lies a holy spring (or "chashma"), believed to heal all diseases and mental ailments. It has a constant temperature of 19.5 degrees celsius and a variety of minerals, including gold and silver. Within the complex also lies the Juma Mosque, located directly above the spring, and Nurata cemetery

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Day 9 : Kazakh Camp - Aydarkul - Samarkand

Depart the Kazakh Camp and drive to Aydarkul Lake, where you will enjoy a picnic lunch. Continue your journey to Samarkand. Overnight stay in Samarkand. 

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Aydarkul Lake can be found in the Kizil Kum Desert. The lake is a byproduct of Soviet irrigation (1960s and 1970s), whereby irrigation and damming led water from the Chardarya Reservoir to flow into the Arnasay lowlands. Aydarkul Lake was subsequently formed, and has since become the second largest lake in the region after the Aral Sea.

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Day 10 : Samarkand

Today you will explore Samarkand including Afrosiab, Gur Emir and the Bibi Khanom mosque. Wander through Siyob bazaar and visit Shah i Zinda necropolis. Later, enjoy dinner at a local Uzbek home. Overnight in Samarkand.

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Samarkand is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia, with evidence of human activity stretching back over 40,000 years to the late Paleolithic era. The city itself is 2,700 years old. Falling variously under Greek, Persian, Arab, Turkic and Mongol rule throughout its history, it prospered greatly as a key junction on the Silk Road and reached its golden age under the rule of Timur. The city's backdrop of madrassas, mosques and mausoleums highlights its rich medieval history. Today it is Uzbekistan's second largest city and was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001.

Registan Square lies at the heart of the city of Samarkand. Three of the square’s four sides are framed by grand madrassa buildings that were built between the 14th and 16th centuries, each with a unique design that displays traditional oriental architecture. All were active until the 1920s, when the Soviets shut them down. Registan translates to “sandy place”, as the central square was covered by sand and functioned largely as a trading market before the three madrassas were built.

Gur Emir is the mausoleum of Timur (a.k.a. Tamarlane) and his male ancestors. The tomb was built in 1403 for Timur’s favorite grandson, Mohammad Sultan, but also became his own, after he died suddenly of pneumonia on his way to conquer China at the age of 69. The grand entrance to the mausoleum features ornately carved bricks and mosaics, whilst the interior displays a high-domed chamber decorated with hand-painted niches and archways. Stalin dug up Timur’s bones in 1941 to prove it was indeed him, despite Timur’s warnings to those who would disturb him. The next day Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union!

Built in 1399 by Timur to commemorate his conquest of India and named after his favourite wife, the Bibi Khanum mosque was the largest mosque in the world until the Blue Mosque in Constantinople eclipsed it in the early 15th century. Earthquakes and weathering caused it to fall to ruins, but it has undergone extensive reconstruction efforts, which are still ongoing. The restored main chamber and minarets feature beautifully ornate details and decorative mosaics, whilst just outside visitors can see the symbolic statue of a Koran stand.

The Siyob Bazaar is located next to the Bibi Khanom mosque and has been a market for over 800 years. It is still a popular place to buy fruit, nuts, spices, and sweet treats.  

Amir Timur, better known as "Tamerlane" in the West, was born in Shakhrisabz in the 14th century. He was the founder of the Timurid dynasty and. under his leadership, Samarkand became the capital of a vast empire. He longed to rebuild the empire of Genghis Khan and his armies are thought to have killed about 5% of the world's population. He referred to himself as the "Sword of Islam", though some scholars suggest his piety may have been political posturing.

The Shah i Zinda mausoleum contains some of the most spectacular tilework in the world. Here you can find the tombs of several female relatives of Timur. It is also believed that Qusam ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed who  brought Islam to the area, was also buried here. For this reason the site draws many pilgrims. The site has been heavily, and controversially, restored. The Shodi Mulk Oko Mausoleum, a niece of Timur, is a sublime exception.

The ancient settlement of Afrosiab lies in northern Samarkand on the spurs of the Cupan-Ata hills. According to legend, the Turanian king Adrosiab founded the town here and it later became the capital of Sogdiana.

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Day 11 : Samarkand - Shakhrisabz - Tashkent

Transfer by cars to travel to Shakhrisabz via the Tahtakaracha mountain pass. Visit Ak Saray Palace and Dorut Tilavat Ensemble before stopping at Kok Gumbaz Mosque. Return to Samarkand, visiting Shaitan Djiga en route if time permits. Take a train to Tashkent. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay in Tashkent.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Shaitan Djiga, also known as "the plateau of demons", is an extensive plateau of granite rocks that stretch from the creeks of Mirankul. It is believed that the rocks look like sculptures of demons or, as legends suggest, like ancient monsters turned into stone. 

Shakhrisabz translates to "Green City". Founded over 2,700 years ago when it was known as "Kesh" or "Kish", it is one of Central Asia's most ancient cities. Throughout history, the city has fallen under the rule of various dynasties, including Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Today, Shakhrisabz is renowned for its handicrafts including carpet weaving, embroidery and tubeteikas (a traditional Uzbek hat). 

Ak Saray Palace was built under the rule of Amir Timur. Its construction began in 1380 and took over 25 years to complete. The palace towers once reached a striking 80 metres tall. The luxurious palace was left in ruins following the siege of Abdullah Khan, where, according to legend, Abdullah had the city destroyed after his horse died from exhaustion on the steep approach to Shakhrisabz.

The Dorut Tilovat Ensemble was constructed after the death of Shamisiddin Kulal, the famous religious leader and founder of Sufism, in 1370. This memorial complex holds the tomb of Shamisiddin, along with a burial vault (makbarat) of the Timurid family and their descendants. It has become an important pilgrimage stop for the many disciples of Shamisiddin. 

The Kok Gumbaz Mosque was constructed in 1435 on the site of the Dorut Tilovat Ensemble. Also known as the Friday Mosque of Shahrisabz, the structure can be found opposite the tomb of Shamsiddin Kulal. "Kok Gumbaz" translates to "blue dome", after its crowning dome which is covered with blue ceramic tiles. 

The Tahtakaracha Mountain Pass runs between Samarkand and Shakhrisabz. The winding pass provides picturesque views across lush valleys and rolling mountains.

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Day 12 : Tashkent - Kokand - Rishton - Fergana

Transfer to the station for your train to Kokand. Visit some of the key sights, including Khudayar Khan Palace, the Jami Mosque and the Narbutabey and Dasturkhanchi Madrasah. Stop at the Dakhma-i-shakhan Royal Cemetery and learn about Kokand woodcraft at the Khaidarov Workshop. Continue your journey on to Fergana, stopping en route at Rishtan, where you will visit the workshop of Rustam Usmanov. Overnight in Fergana. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The city of Kokand, also known as "the city of winds", lies in Fergana Valley on the crossroads of Silk Road trading routes. It became an important landmark for merchant traders. The Khanate of Kokhand broke away from the Khanate of Bukhara in the early 18th century and became an important centre in its own right, vying for influence with Bukhara, Samarkand and Kashgar for around 160 years before finally being subsumed into a Russian vassal state in 1868.

The town of Rishtan is famed as one of the oldest centres for ceramics in Uzbekistan. The clay here is of very fine quality and  is so pure that it doesn't require any additives before it is used. The town has become well known for its traditional cobalt and green ceramic pieces that are sold across the whole of the country

Rustam Usmanov is a skilled craftsman who has a ceramic workshop in Rishtan. His artwork displays a traditional Uzbekistan style, focused on blue patterned pieces. Visitors to the workshop can watch Rustam at work and learn how to create their own ceramic art.

Kokand's Jami Mosque is situated in Chorsu square. This mosque was built in the 19th century, replacing one destroyed by the Mongols. The grand structure incorporates a madrasah,  manicured courtyard and a striking 23-metre-high minaret.


The Khudayar Khan Palace was constructed in 1871 for Khudayar Khan, the last ruler of the Kokand Khanate. The grand palace complex has since become known as 'the Pearl of Kokand' due to its ornate structure and elaborate designs that depict ancient tales of the Orient.


The Khaidarov family workshop serves as a living museum of Kokand woodcraft. The Khaidarov family teach the traditional art of carving and the workshop also displays an array of hand crafted items, including Koran stands and chairs.

The Narbutabey and Dasturkhanchi Madrasah were both constructed between 1796 and 1799. Narbutabey Madrasah managed to continue functioning during the Soviet era, which was rare for religious institutions of the era. Both madrasah buildings were built for the exclusive use of the male students, however Dasturkhanchi Madrasah has since opened its doors to girls.

Dakhma-i-shakhan Royal Cemetery is the mausoleum of Umarkhan (a Kokand khan or ruler, who died in 1822). A grand entry archway displays an ornate mosaic pattern, made from blue glazed tiles. The gravestones of Umarkhan and his decedents have been decorated with Arabic inscriptions and intricate carvings from the Koran.

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Day 13 : Fergana - Margilan - Tashkent

Travel to Margilan, where you will visit a silk workshop and the Yodigarlik Silk processing factory where you will learn about the process of silk production. Continue to Tashkent via the Kamchik Mountain Pass. Overnight stay in Tashkent. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The city of Margilan was an important stop on the Silk Road between the Alay Mountains and Kashgar. As far back as the 10th century, Margilan was known for its silk and skilled craftsmen. To this day it is considered the silk capital of Uzbekistan.

The Kamchik Mountain Pass lies in the Qurama Mountains of eastern Uzbekistan. The pass is at an elevation of almost 2,500 metres above sea level, providing picturesque views across the surrounding mountain peaks.

The Yodigarlik Silk Processing Factory is one of the largest producers of handmade silk products in Uzbekistan. Built in 1972, the factory continues to use traditional processes to produce silk.

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Day 14 : Tashkent - Departure

Spend the morning at your leisure, before transferring to Tashkent airport for your onward journey. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Ancient cities, spell-binding architecture & traditional craftsmanship