Travel to Uzbekistan · The Great Silk Road


Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Kyrgyzstan

17   days


1 DAY    Friday                  Amsterdam   - Tashkent    

 Depart  from Amsterdam  to Tashkent via Istanbul 


2 DAY    Saturday            Tashkent  - Khiva   

Arrival in Tashkent
Transfert to the hotel and accomodation
Breakfast in the hotel
Morning rest
Visiting of modern part of the city with its big squares, green parks and administrative buildings including the Independence Square, the Square of Amir Temur and the Square of Alisher Navoi Ballet and Opera House. 

  • The continuation of the visits to to historical part of the city : Places of visits: Friday Mosque and Kaffol Shoshi Mausoleum, Kukeldash Madrasah
  • Lunch
  • The vivid place of the old city - Chorsu bazaar where craftsmen selling traditional dresses and an assortment of oriental souvenirs.
  • Transfer to Tashkent Domestic flights  Airport
  • 18:20 Flight to Urgench by HY 1057
  • 20:00 Arrival in Urgench , transfer to Khiva (30 km)
  • Dinner and overnight in the hotel   


3 DAY  Sunday                Khiva

Breakfast in the hotel

  • This day you will discover this unique medieval city Khiva on foot. Khiva is an open-air museum of history. The ancient city attracts millions of visitors its beautiful overview with legendary Kalta-Minor minaret which should have become the biggest and highest minaret in Central Asia, the Juma Mosque with 212 wooden carved columns (XVIII c),  “old fortress” Kunya Ark (XVII-XIX cc) and the beautiful mausoleums of the former rulers.   
  • Lunch at Tchayhana  during the visit.
  • After lunch you will visit a Mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud who is considered the saint protector of the city, Islam Hodja complex , Tash Khauli -  twelfth  summer residence of the Khiva khans (XIX c.), and Harem .
  • Dinner
  • Overnight in the hotel

4 DAY  Monday            Khiva - Shavat-Dashoguz - Ashgabat

 Breakfast in the hotel

  • Depart to border Uzbekistan –Turkmenistan
  • Pass the border
  • Visit to Kunya Urgench
  • Kone Urgench is located about 100 km northwest of Dashoguz. Today it occupies about 650 ha. The city of Biruni and Avicenna, al Farabi and al Khorezmi was located on the caravan routes which lead from Sogdiana (Samarkand, Bukhara) and Khorasan (Merw, Bactra) to the Caspian Sea and Russia. The importance of Kone Urgench was recognized by UNESCO, which awarded the site World heritage status in 2005.
  • Mausoleum of Soltan Tekesh (early XIII c.) The building is notable for its remarkable conical dome, decorated with blue glazed bricks and rather high portal, decorated with stalactite design.  The mausoleum has a square base, with walls 11,5 m in length. Soltan Tekesh (of the Anushtegin dynasty) was the shah of Khorezm from 1172 till 1200. Mausoleum of Il Arslan (late XII c.) The mausoleum is located next to the mausoleum of Khorezm shah Tekesh. The conical dome of this mausoleum is very Khorezmian.  On the main façade we can not see any strong indication of the portal.  Three separated niches above the main entrance are decorated with terra-cotta stucco decorations, representing floral designs. Il Arslan was the shah of Khorezm from 1156 till 1172.
  • Evening flight to Ashgabat .
  • Arrival in Ahgabat and transfer to the hotel
  • Overnight in the hotel


5 DAY  Tuesday               Ashgabat

  • Breakfast in the hotel 
  • City tour including visit of National Museum, 
  • Drive to Nissa (UNESCO). Located on a natural high platform at the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains, the urban site of Nissa thanks its importance to the early Parthian rulers who took over control of the area from the Seleucids in the middle of the III c BC. Under Parthian rule the fortified territory (Old Nissa) was protected by 43 defense towers, and was called Mitridatkert (literally: fortress of [Parthian] king Mithridat). Hellenistic influence is clearly visible in the building architecture, sculptures and other interior decorations found at the site. A circular temple-hall where remains of a stone altar were found indicates the location for Zoroastrian worshipping. The most magnificent artifacts found till date at what is believed to have been the treasury is a large collection of ivory rythons. These can be admired at the National Museum in Ashgabat. Contrary to fortresses at other Silk Road centers in the region life in Old Nissa ceased by the end of Parthian rule (III c AD), but its shahristan (New Nissa) continued to fulfill an important trade and crafts function until the mid-19th century. Old Nissa has been enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.
  •  The visit to Independence Park, Neutrality Arch, Ahalteke Horses and Earthquake monuments, and Turkmenbashi-Mosque-Mausoleum
  • Dinner at the local resturant
  • Overnight in the hotel


6 DAY  Wednesday            Ashgabat - Mary

  • Breakfast in the hotel 
  • Morning flight to Mary.  
  • Excursion to Merw (UNESCO) . Visiting Ancient Merv we can explore the process of urbanization in Central Asia. The smallest and earliest city at Merv is Erk Kala (approximately VI c. BC), which comprises only 20 hectares. It was enclosed by massive walls and a moat. The only entrance-way had a ramp leading straight to the city. Georgina Hermann, who has contributed so much to Turkmenistan archeology, described it as One of the imposing sites in Merv.  The city's wall was continually reinforced until the early Islamic period when both Erk and Gyaur Kala were gradually abandoned.  The Seleucids, Alexander’s successors, founded the second city of Merv (IV c. BC), known today as Gyaur Kala, which many experts identify with Antiochia Margiana. The city was built on a Hellenistic grid pattern. It is approximately square and occupies some 360 ha.  Roughly in the middle of the site are the ruins of the 7th century mosque and partly ruined sordoba - water cistern. In the south east corner of Gyaur Kala one could see a distinguished mound- the remains of a Buddhist stupa and monastery. This complex was excavated by Masson M. in 1950s and the important finds included the famous ’Merv vase’ and the clay head of a massive statue of Buddha. Two outstanding monuments dating back to the Sasanid period are still visible on the territory of Ancient Merv - the Big Kyz Kala and small Kyz Kala (VI-VII cc). However, the Turkic name (in all Turkic languages Kyz means ‘girl’) doesn’t reflect the origin of the constructions. These rectangular clay castles - Koshks are of interesting architectural design, decorated from outside with corrugations. Different forms of vaults were used in these constructions.  The Seljuk capital, consisting of a shahristan (medieval citadel) and a rabat (outskirts of the medieval city), considerably exceeded Damascus and Jerusalem in size. Today the Seljuk citadel is called Sultan Kala. It has an oval shape and occupies about 630 hectares. Its layout is still visible in aerial pictures. Among all city sites of Merw, perhaps the most significant is the medieval  Seljuk city.  During Seljuk Sultan Sanjar’s reign the Shahriar Ark was constructed - a citadel within the citadel, protected by its own walls and moat. Visiting Shahriar Ark you can see the Kepter Khana - an interesting corrugated structure, which is the best-preserved in the citadel. It’s walls still survive to a height of some 4,5 m, however the original height of the walls is hard to determine.  The highlight of Ancient Merv is a visit to Sultan Sanjar’s mausoleum, which still dominates the landscape. This central-cupola building without portal is typical of the Khorasan architectural style. The mausoleum was created by Mohamed, the son of Atsyz of Serakhs. His name was not found in the historical chronicles, but we can find it on one of the medallions below the cupola of the mausoleum.  Another monument at Merw from the time of the Seljuk rule is the mausoleum of Mohamed ibn Zaid, dated by inscription to 1112-13. It is located outside the medieval Seljuk citadel. It is unclear as to whom the mausoleum is actually devoted to. The local legend speaks about Mohamed Said ibn Zeid ibn Ali Zeinal Abedon ibn al- Husein ibn Ali-Talib, who   was a prominent Shia teacher and direct descendant of the Prophet Ali in fifth generation. He died four centuries before the mausoleum was built and has been buried in Kufa in present-day Iraq. However, his name and the date of construction are mentioned in the inscription inside the mausoleum.  It is an important place of pilgrimage in Turkmenistan. Next to the mausoleum we can find a sordoba (water cistern), also constructed in the Seljuk period. It is a domed construction to store rain water. Access to the cistern was by a stairway. A few kilometers to the south of the ruins of the medieval Sultan Kala we find the post-medieval city, known today as Abdullakhan Kala, constructed in the time of Timurid rule in the region, and was enclosed by massive walls and a moat with massive ramparts. Although one of the strongest and best fortified cities in the area, Abdullakhan Kala never reached the importance of the previous city sites. The remains of the city walls are still impressive, however, the walls, the Timurid palace and other constructions in this citadel, as well as four gates were much better preserved in the 19th century. The mausoleum-complex of Hodja Yusuf Hamadani (Hamdani) includes a modern mosque and minaret, the grave and mausoleum of Hodja Yusuf Hamadani (died in 1140), a Timurid iwan (portal) and a prayer hall. It is located not far from the Seljuk citadel. This complex has been largely reconstructed and turned into an important pilgrimage site.  Hodja Yusuf Hamadani was a famous Sufi scholar of the 12th century, and the first of a group of Central Asian Sufi teachers who founded the Naqshbandi order. He was born in 1048-49 in a small settlement called Bezendjird, close to the famous Iranian city of Hamadan, when Merw was under Seljuk rule. Ice houses (approximately XV c., Timurid rule) are visible from the road between the medieval and ancient cities of Merv. An extraordinary conical clay construction, built directly on the ground to store tightly packed snow. The original height is hard to determine. Mausoleums of ashkhabs. Original set of graves from the time of the Arab invasion into Central Asia in the early years after the death of Mohamed. The graves of two askhabs (companions/campaigners of the Prophet) are of Al Khakam Gifari (died in 670) and Bureyda Al Aslami (died in 681). At the time of their death the graves were constructed; in the 15th c. (Timurid era) aiwans were added, and in the 19th c the mausoleums were constructed over the graves by Guljemal Khan. Today, Merv occupies a territory of more than 1200 ha and forms the biggest archeological site in Central Asia. The importance of the site was recognized in 1999 by UNESCO, which awarded Merv World Heritage status.
  • Return to Mary
  • Overnight in the hotel 


7 DAY  Thursday            Mary – Margush


  • Breakfast in the hotel 
  • Drive to Margush (100 km)
  • Located at approximately 100 kilometers (three hours by four-wheel drive) from Mary City is the area we call Margush, and its center at Gonur Depe (or Brown Hill). In 1972 a famous Russian-Greek archeologist, Professor Viktor Sarianidi, made a marvelous discovery: he found the long lost capital of the Bronze Age center of Margush country whose people inhabited dozens of settlements around the old delta oasis of the Murghab River. Arguably, what he found was the center of a fifth great ancient civilization, next to China, India, Mesopotamia and Egypt. Archeological discoveries confirmed that people in Margush country worshipped water and fire, as did the people in neighboring Bactria (northern Afghanistan). According to professor Sarianidi, Gonur was the birthplace of the first monotheistic religion - Zoroastrianism, and its founder Zoroaster (Zarathustra) was said to have housed here. At its ritual center at Gonur Depe we can observe the remains of various ritual complexes, and a huge necropolis. The remains, when found in 1972, had been kept in extremely good shape, as the dry desert climatic conditions and four millennia of sand cover had given it proper protection from decay. The History Museum in Mary and the National Museum in Ashgabat have an impressive display of items found in the area.
  • Return to Mary
  • Dinner and overnight in the hotel   


8 DAY  Friday            Mary - Bukhara  

  • Breakfast in the hotel 
  • Drive to Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan border Farab
  • Pass the border
  • Tranfert to Bukhara (190 km)
  • Upon arrival tranfer to the hotel
  • Lunch in the hotel
  • The first discover of Saint Bukhara
  • Dinner and overnigh tin the hotel 


 9 DAY  Saturday            Bukhara

  • Breakfast in the hotel
  • Enjoy full day sightseeing tour which includes Ark Citadel (Fortress of the Bukharan Khans), the great  Kalyan Minaret, and the Bukhara crafts centre-  3 Trading  Doms  . Ismail Samani Mausoleum (ninth - tenth cc); Chor Minor ("Four minarets"), four towers that decorated the entrance to the Madrasah Niyaz Kul (nineteenth century A.D.).
  • Lunch
  • In the afternoon visit Lyabi-Khauz ensemble, including Nadir Divan-Beghi Madrasah (1622 A.D.), the Kukeldash Madrasah, Khanaka Nadir Divan-Beghi (1620 A.D.).
  • In the evening enjoy the folk show and dinner in the Nadir Divan Begi madrassah


10  DAY  Sunday          Bukhara -  Shahrisabz - Samarkand


  • Breakfast in the hotel
  • After breakfast  visiting of Sitora-i-Mohi-Hosa the Summer Palace of the last Emir of Bukhara, where you will find an exotic mix of European and Oriental Design
  • Depart to Samarkand via Shakhrisabz
  • Upon arrival in Shakhrisabz lunch .
  • Sightseeing in Shakhrisabz : Ak Saray – residence of Amir Temur , Kuk gumbaz mosque, Hazrat Imam mosque and depart to Samarkand
  • Upon arrival transfer to the hotel.
  • Overnight in the hotel.


11  DAY  Monday              Samarkand


  • Breakfast in the hotel
  • The visit to Registan square- the heart of the city, including Ulugbek, Sher Dor and Tillya Kari madrassahs, Gur-Emir mausoleum.
  • The visit s of Afrosiab  and observatory of Ulugbek ( XV c ), Mausoleum of Saint Daniil . Visit the Bibi Khanum Mosque, one the biggest in Central Asia, which was erected by Tamerlane after his victorious Indian campaign in 1399. Oriental bazaar, placed not far from the Bibi Khanum Mosque.
  • Lunch in the local restaurant.
  • Continuation of the visits: Carpet workshop and   Silk paper producing workshop.
  • Samarkand was a big and only paper manufacturing center at the whole   Middle East during the VIII and first half part of IX century
  • Dinner in traditional Uzbek House
  • Overnight in the hotel 


12  DAY    Tuesday        Samarkand – Tashkent – Bishkek

 Breakfast in the hotel

  • Short drive to the Imam Al Bukhari Ensemble (30 km) – one of the greatest figures in the Islamic world, the place of pilgrimage of Muslims.
  • Lunch
  • 17:00 Depart to Tashkent by high speed train Afrosiyob
  • 19:10 Arrival in Tashkent
  • Dinner in the local restaurant
  • Transfer to Tashkent International Airport
  • 23:35 Depart to Bishkek by flight HY 777
  • 01: 50 Arrival in Bishkek
  • Transfer to the hotel
  • Overnight in the hotel
  • Shakhi-Zinda necropole (the living king), the pearl of Samarkand, ensemble of mausoleums dated from XIth- XVth centuries, the authentic museum of the medieval architecture.


13  DAY   Wednesday            Bishkek  

 Breakfast in the hotel 

  • In  the morning drive to Ala-Archa National Natural Park located in a picturesque gorge of Ala Archa 40 km off from Bishkek.
  • In the National Park you can easily hike along the main gorge of Ala Archa and back to enjoy views of magnificent peaks of Kyrgyz Alatau Ridge (Tien Shan Mountains.
  • After lunch sightseeing tour in Bishkek. Visit central square Ala Too to watch a ceremony of changing of the Guard of Honor, and Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people.
  • In the end of the tour visit Osh Bazaar, the largest and busiest market in the city
  • Dinner and overnight in the hotel


14  DAY   Thursday                                  Bishkek – Issyk-Kul via Burana tower


  • Breakfast in the hotel 
  • In the morning one hour drive to Burana Tower  (old minaret) near Tokmok city. That minaret was constructed in Balasagun town; one of the capitals of Karakhanid State existed in 10-12 centuries AD. Explore ruins of that important trading point at the Great Silk Road and visit a little local museum telling about that civilization. Also watch a collection of Balbals, Turkic ancient tombs.
  • After excursion lunch in the family house in Tokmok, where tourist can closer learn about life of local people.
  • In the afternoon three hour drive to the Issyk-Kul Lake, the second largest alpine lake in the world.
  • Upon arrival in the lake area accommodation and dinner in a local hotel.


15  DAY   Friday          Issyk Kul – Karakol


  • Breakfast in the hotel  
  • In the morning you visit Cholpon-Ata Petroglyphs site , the temple in the open air of Scythians and Hungsuns civilizations in 9-8 centuries BC till 3-4 centuries AD.
  • After excursion drive to Karakol town situated in the east of the lake area, at the foot of the most picturesque mountains of Tian Shan.
  • On the way visit the museum of N. M. Przhevalski, the outstanding Russian explorer of Asian continent.
  • Lunch in a café in Karakol.
  • Then sightseeing tour in the town. Visit Dungan mosque, a unique construction in Chinese style, but serving as a mosque. Also you will see an old orthodox cathedral made of wood without any nails.  See more…
  • Dinner in a restaurant with Dungan cuisine.
  • Overnight in hotel in Karakol.


16  DAY   Saturday       Karakol  – Kochkor - Bishkek

 Breakfast in the hotel  

  • After breakfast transfer to Kochkor village along the southern shore of the Issyk Kul Lake.
  • On the way short hiking in Skazka (Fairy Tale) Canyons.
  • Picnic lunch at one of the beaches of the Lake Issyk Kul.
  • In the afternoon you will arrive in Kochkor village where you will watch how local people make felt, various carpets and other handicraft stuff. See more … 
  • After visiting handicraft center you continue your way to Bishkek.
  • Overnight in hotel in Bishkek. 


17  DAY   Sunday          Bishkek – Amsterdam

Transfert to Manas  International Airport  
Depart by Turkish Airlines

Rates for Uzbekistan part :

Hotels 4*

2 pax – 1700 USD p/p 

Tashkent – Tashkent Palace
Khiva – Asia Khiva   / Malika Kheivak
Bukhara- Amelia Boutique/ Minzifa / K.Komil Boutique
Samarkand – Grand Samarkand / Grand Samarkand Superior.


The given tour includes:

  • Double / TWIN   occupancy accommodations;
  • All tours, transfers, excursions, entry fees;
  • All transportations and transfers (2 pax – car, 3-7 – minibus, 8-14 midibus)
  • Train ticket Samarkand –Tashkent (econ class)
  • Full board
  • Luggage porters 
  • Folk Show in NDB
  • Accompanying guide

The given tour does not include:

  • Uzbek visa fee
  • Visa Support – 25 USD
  • Air ticket Tashkent – Urgench – 105 USD (subject to change)
  • Single Supplement 
  • Camera fees.

Rates for Turkmenistan part :

Hotels 4*

 2 pax – 1365 USD p/p



Not included :

  • Visa support (Letter of Invitation, State Registration, Travel Pass)
  • Road transport as per program
    per AC vehicle, regular vehicle on road conditions, 4WD where terrain requires
  • Domestic airline tickets Dashoguz-Ashgabat and Ashgabat-Mary
  • Accommodation in shared double/twin hotel room, including breakfast
  • English-speaking local guide for full duration of the program
  • Entrance fees to sites mentioned in the program
  • Bottled drinking water en route (long transfers) 1,5l pppd
  • Porter services en route

  • Turkmenistan visa 55USD per person
    plus 2 USD per group admin costs,
    when obtained at Shavat border
    (subject to change)
  • Turkmenistan migration tax  10 USD 
    per person
    plus 2 USD per group admin costs,
    to be paid at Shavat border(subject to change)
  • Photo/video fees
  • Tips for local guide and driver
  • Souvenirs and other personal items
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under “Included


Rates for Kyrgyzstan part :

Hotels 4*

 2 pax – 1160 USD p/p

Service includes:
- Transport
- Full board
- Early check-in
- Accommodation:

Bishkek – “Grand” Hotel 3* / “Ak Keme” Hotel 4*
Issyk Kul – “Kapriz” Hotel 4*
Karakol – “Green Yard” Guesthouse

- English speaking guide
- Entrances to all museums
- Mineral water during the tour

Service does not include:
- Single rooms
- Travel insurance
- Visa and visa support