Experience a unique blend of sightseeing and hiking, discovering countless markets, mosques and monuments, trekking in the Zeravshan Mountain Range and exploring the famous Silk Road cities, teeming with UNESCO World Heritage Sites and exquisitely preserved ancient places.
We enjoy a unique blend of sightseeing and hiking in this country which is rich in history and culture. We undertake a supported trek in the Zerafshan Mountain Range, before exploring the famous Silk Road cities which lie at the heart of Central Asia….
Days 1 - 2 London / Taskhent
We fly to Taskhent, the largest and capital city of Uzbekestan. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our accommodation before we delve straight into our exciting itinerary. We visit a number of attractions including Independence Square, a favourite meeting place for Tashkent residents where performances are held on festive days or special events. We will also visit Bazar Tchorsu (Chorsu Bazaar), Tashkent’s most famous market, a delightful slice of city life and a number of other culturally significant sights before returning to our accommodation for dinner and a rest ahead of our trek.
Day 3 Taskkent to the Zeravshan Mountains
This morning we leave Tashkent behind as we drive south west into the Zeravshan mountain range of Uzbekistan. The Zervashan Mountains are famous for their unique mountain landscapes and beautiful lakes.
On arrival a short trek to a picturesque waterfall will help us to familiarise ourselves with our new surroundings before we settle down in our homestay for the evening.
Day 4- 8 Trek Zarafshan
Today we embark on our mountain trek through this wonderful region. Supported by our trek team we will only carry our day bags throughout.
After breakfast we climb a beautiful path between ‘sheep rock’ landscapes and small canyons, around us semi-wild horses graze on the fertile pastures. We will learn about some of the medicinal plants in the area and picnic in a shady orchard before continuing on to our campsite.
The first day of trekking will take approximately 4 hours.
The next morning we begin our days trek with a climb to the Ayregazal Pass. We will trek for about 4 hours through stunning mountain scenery before descending into a valley to the village of Tchunqaymish (Chunkaymysh) we will stay here tonight alongside friendly locals in a registered homestay.
After breakfast the following day we take a short transfer to the village of Langar and then trek for 4 hours to the village of Quruqsoy (Kuruksay). Here we will meet the local villagers and discover the remains of Zoroastrian temple, Siypantosh and also the Museum of Antiques.
We leave the village of Quruqsoy behind and continue our journey on foot to Taragai Village. The trek will take us about three hours and our destination is home to the prominent historical figure, Tamerlane’s, father. We spend the evening with a new family in their homestay.
Our final trek day takes us to the pass of Takhrir Karachay (Takhtakaracha), the highest point of our trek where we are rewarded with spectacular views towards Samarkand, the second largest city in Uzbekistan and right at the heart of the Silk Road. The total trekking time will be approximately 5 hours with a stop for lunch at Alwasti Lake before meeting our final homestay family.
Day 9 Shakhrisabz
Today we transfer to Shakhrizabz, an important stop on the path of the Great Silk Road. Shakhrisabz means ‘Green City’ and as we look down from the pass over the green, lush plains it is clear why. A maze of fertile fields, vineyards and orchards are laid out below us. Whilst in Shakhrisabz we visit Ak Saray Palace (meaning ‘White Palace’). This UNESCO site took 24 years to construct and consists of several ornate courtyards and living quarters. It is hard for other monuments to rival this architectural masterpiece. We also stop at Kok Gumbaz mosque and Doru Tivolat monuments to learn about their significance.
Days 10 & 11 Samarkand
The ancient city of Samarkand is known as the ‘crossroad of cultures’. We have a full day to explore this city which sits at the heart of the ancient Silk Road.
We visit Registan Square (meaning “Sandy place”). This arena stands as a testament to the coming together of craftsmen and builders from across the empire in the late 14th century. The patterned and glistening motifs are part of the legacy of the Turco-Mongol King Timur. One of the monuments in the monument states ‘If you want to know about us, examine our buildings”. The square was once a main public arena and in its long history has been ruled by Persians, Greeks, Turks, Chinese and Russians. It has also been used for royal proclamations, parades and even public executions in years gone by. It is now home to modern music festivals and national celebrations.
We will visit the Ulugh Beg Observatory, considered one of the finest in the world. The observatory was used as a centre of astronomical study to predict eclipses and calculate the hour of sunrise as long ago as the fifteenth century.
Finally we visit the mysterious Skakhi Zinda Complex, this ‘secret cemetery’ is an important pilgrimage site and the rows of sparking blue coloured ancient tombs are a fascinating sight to behold.
After a night in our guesthouse we visit the Bibi Khanum Complex, once one of the world’s biggest mosques. Legend says that Bibi, Timur’s wife ordered the mosque to be built as a surprise, but the architect fell madly in love with her and refused to finish the job unless he could kiss her. This led to his execution by Timur and a decree that women should wear veils so as not to tempt other men.
For our final stop in Samarkand we visit a center for traditional craftsmen ‘Meros’, this NGO supports local artisans and helps them to access the global markets. Whilst we are here we will have a master class in the production of silk paper.
Day 12 Nurata and Bukhara
Today we have a long drive to Bukhara. We stop en-route in Nurata, the final point on the map before the scenery changes to featureless desert. Here we discover the Sarmish Canyon (Sarmishay) and see the stone gallery of Bronze Age rock paintings known as Petroglyphs. There are over 4000 petroglyphs which offer an insight into the local fauna and flora of ancient times; many animals represented are now extinct.
Further on our journey we reach the ruins of the Alexander the Great’s Citadel and learn the history surrounding his rule over the region before we continue on to the UNESCO city of Bukhara. The capital of this region has been inhabited for over two and a half millennia as a centre for trade, scholarship and culture! We will try herbal teas in one of the cities many cafes and there may be time to walk through the medieval streets of Bukhara before retiring to our hotel accommodation.
Day 13 Bukhara
Bukhara is Central Asia’s holiest city; it is exquisitely preserved with buildings spanning a thousand years of history.
There is plenty to see in the city and we will spend the day exploring the monuments, mausoleums and museums. We visit a number of significant sites including the Mausoleum of the Samanids, the most ancient brick building in Central Asia, The dome of Jewelers, the most ancient mosque of Burkha “Kukeldash Madrassah” and many more!
Day 14 Back to Tashkent
Early this morning we take a train from Bukhara back to the sprawling city of Tashkent. We arrive in the afternoon and may have the opportunity to do some last minute souvenir shopping and take in some more of the stunning architecture and sights.
Day 15 Tashkent– London
Today we will be transferred to the airport for our international flight, arriving home with wonderful memories of our adventure of a lifetime.
Uzbekistan is a show-stopping culture hub at the heart of Central Asia, teeming with architecture that tells tales of the Silk Road and the country’s fascinating history. With plenty of opportunities to explore its ancient cities and admire the many mosques, mausoleums and medressas, Uzbekistan also boasts the spectacular Zerafshan Mountain Range, perfect for an adventurous trek to experience this beautiful region in all its glory.
Our expeditions in Uzbekistan combine the perfect blend of history, culture and adventure, enabling travellers to make the most of their time here. Journey through the fascinating Silk Road cities and ancient sites, to lush valleys and featureless deserts, and the towering mountain ranges in the South East. Uzbekistan is bursting with history and culture, with countless markets, mosques and monuments, and visitors have the chance to explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites and exquisitely preserved ancient places. Its riches are many and you’ll be simply spoilt for choice when choosing how best to explore this fascinating region. Our expeditions offer a unique blend of exploration and adventure, helping travellers to make the most of the country’s culture, history and geography.
Days 1-2 London to Taskhent
Days 3 Transfer to Mountains
Days 4-8 Trekking in Zervashan Mountains
Day 9 Shakhrisabz and Samarkand
Days 14 Tashkent
Days 15 Return to London
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