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17 Days Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan

Destinations:Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
Duration: 17 Days
from: US$100
Tour Code: CITIC-SD-01

Day 1

Almaty
Panfilov’s Park

Arrival on the train from Urumqi to Almaty early in the morning. We start Almaty sightseeing tour. Visit Panfilov’s Park with Zenkov’s Orthodox Cathedral, Great Patriotic War Memorial and National Musical Instruments Museum.
Transfer to the hotel at 12:00. Check in. (Standard check-in time is 12:00)
Continue of sightseeing tour at Republican Square and State History Museum.
After city tour we drive to Medeo World Famous Skating Ring, situated in a mountain gorge near the city.
We may go on a hiking tour upstairs to the top of the dam to enjoy the view of Northern Tien Shan Mountains.

Day 2

Almaty  Bishkek  Issyk-Kul Lake
Issyk Kul Lake

Transfer from Almaty to Bishkek and then to Cholpon Ata. Crossing Kazakh-Kyrgyz border takes about one hour on the way to Bishkek. Today while being transferred from Almaty to Bishkek we cross south-eastern part of the fabulous Kazakh Steppe. The steppe extends more than 2,200 km from the area east of the Caspian Depression and north of the Aral Sea, all the way to the Altai Mountains. It is the largest dry steppe region on earth, covering approximately 804,500 square kilometers. The Kazakh Steppe lies at the southern end of the Ural Mountains, the traditional dividing line between Europe and Asia. Much of the steppe is considered to be either semi-desert or desert.
We pass through "Boom Gorge", which lies at the eastern end of the Kyrgyz Range and provides the only corridor between two Chui and Issyk Kul regions. Converging together through this narrow canyon are a highway, a railway (rising high above the road apparently it was built by German prisoners of war, the first train to travel along the 189km track to Balykchy was in 1948)., and the Chu River (so bellowed by white-water rafters). The name "Boom" means "evil spirit" – and the gorge acquired this name in recognition of the trials and tribulations it presented to anyone who tried to pass through. The first "outsider" to do so was the 19th century Russian explorer Pyotr Semyenov (Tienshansky) in 1850. Nowadays there are walls at various places along the gorge designed to prevent landslides cascading down onto the road below.
Upon arrival in Cholpon Ata accommodation in the hotel. Rest on the shore of the lake Issyk Kul, the second largest alpine lake in the world after Lake Titicaca in South America. Measuring 182 km long by 58 km wide, the lake appeared as a result of volcanic activity. It is heated from below by thermal activity and never freezes even in the depths of winter. In the summer the water temperature reaches 25-28 degrees centigrade (warmer than the air) and you can swim in the lake enclosed on all sides by the snowy peaks of the Tien Shan Mountains. Extremely deep and nicely warm over the centuries the lake has been something of an oasis in this inhospitable mountain environment. With diverse flora and fauna Issyk-Kul Lake and the surrounding environments are rightly considered to be one of Central Asia most remarkable locations.

Day 3

Issyk-Kul Lake
Petroglyphs Site

In Cholpon ata you will visit Petroglyphs Site, the temple in the open air of Scythians and Hungsuns civilizations dated back 9-8 centuries BC till 3-4 centuries AD. The area of those stone drawing lies at the foot of Kungey Alatoo Ridge with a beautiful view of the whole lake. Local History & Ethnography Museum is also highly recommended for visiting! On the way visit the museum of N. M. Przhevalski, the outstanding Russian explorer of Asian continent.
After excursion we continue driving to Karakol town situated in the east of the lake area, at the foot of the most picturesque mountains of Tien Shan. This sleepy but very interesting old Russian town was first erected by Cossacks in the middle of 19th century and became an important garrison settlement. 
Upon arrival to Karakol check in the hotel/guesthouse. After a short rest you visit Dungan mosque, a unique construction in Chinese style, but serving as a mosque. Also you will see an old Russian Orthodox Cathedral made of wood without any nails.  you will see an old Russian Orthodox Cathedral made of wood without any nails. 

Day 4

Issyk-Kul Lake  Djety Oguz Gorge
Djety Oguz Gorge

In the morning we drive to Djety Oguz Gorge.Djety Oguz in Kyrgyz means “Seven Bulls”. This picturesque gorge is named so because of the red rocky sand formations covered with forests of Tien Shan spruces. We hike up the main gorge along the winding Djety Oguz mountain river. On the way you visit some yurts of the local nomadic families. Overnight in yurt camp.

Day 5

Djety Oguz Gorge  Bishkek
Burana Tower

Transfer to Bishkek. On the way visit of Burana Tower (old minaret) near Tokmok city. That minaret was constructed in Balasagun town; one of the capitals of Karakhanid State existed in 11-12 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.
Arrival to Bishkek. Accommodation in the hotel. The capital and industrial centre of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek is a city of wide avenues, handsome buildings and Soviet heritage. The gesturing statue of Lenin can still be seen in the city’s vast central square, yet it is the permanently snow capped Kyrgyz Alatau mountain range which towers over Bishkek providing a quite stunning backdrop.
Visit of Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people. Then walking tour around main Ala Too Square, Independence Monument, Main Governmental Buildings, and finish at the Old Square with Parliament House. Transfer to the Victory Square to finish the city tour by short excursion there.

Day 6

Bishkek  Tashkent

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Tashkent. Arrival and transfer to the hotel. Rest.

Day 7

Tashkent  Urgench  Khiva
Khiva

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Urgench. Meeting at the airport of Urgench. Transfer to Khiva (30 km). Accommodation at the hotel.Khiva - one of the most ancient cities in the world, was attestor of the rise and fall of Khorezm. The final appearance of old Khiva was formed at the end of 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. Today the old part of Ichan-Kala is called an open-air museum and is guarded by UNESCO. The rather small territory of Ichan-Kala holds - 2 palaces, more than 60 madrassah and small-sized mosques, mausoleums, a cathedral mosque, a covered market, caravans - sheds and bath-houses, and apartment houses. Igam-Kala is surrounded by a strong fortress-like brick wall. Walking around the maze of narrow alleyways protected at both sides by facades of high houses with thick brick walls, crowned by merlons, and domes on corners, one is amazed by the architecture and skill of the local craftsmen. Not only the administrative and cult buildings, but also the apartment houses are decorated with dazzling bright tiles with incredible designs. Special to Khiva is the art of woodcarving. In the city all the columns, doors, gin and shutters are decorated with unique ornament.Khiva is famous for its carpets and jewellery, too.
Sightseeing in Khiva FD. Visiting of Ichan-Kala – inner cite of ancient settlement, Mohammed-Amin Khan Madrassah and Minaret (XIX c.), Kunya Ark – Old Fortress (XVII c.), Pakhlavan Mahmud Complex (XIV-XIX cc.) with its tiled courtyard, Islam Khodja madrassah & Minaret (1908), Jumma Mosque  (X–XVIII cc.), Tash Hauli Allakuli-Khan Palace (XVIII-XIX cc.). Many wedding parties and pilgrims come to visit the tomb and drink the water from the well in the courtyard. The beautiful Kalta Minar minaret and the extraordinary Tash Khauli or “stone palace”built in the 1830’s and home of the ruling khans. Bazaar.

Day 8

Khiva  Uzbek -Turkmen border  Keneurgench  Dashoguz  Ashgabat
Uzbek–Turkmen border

Transfer to the Uzbek – Turkmen border. Meeting and transfer to Keneurgench.Visiting the Mausoleum of Khoresm Shakh Tekesh,
Il Arslan, Kyrk Molla, Palace of Turabek Khanym, Minaret of Kutluk Timur and Ruins of Djuma Mosque Minaret
. Visit the Museum of History and Mausoleum of Nadjimmidin Kubra. Transfer to Dashoguz for the flight to Ashgabat. Meeting and transfer to the hotel.

Day 9

Ashgabat
The National History and Ethnographic Museum

Excursion along the city.The National History and Ethnographic Museum of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Khadja Mosque, “Turkmenbashi Rukhi” (“The Soul of Turkmenbashi”) mosque – one of the most biggest mosque in Central Asia, the mausoleum of the first president of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Turkmenbashi, the Independence Park, Neutrality Monument, the 1948th earthquake memorial, Ertogrul Gazi, Carpets museum which has in its collection the biggest carpet in the world.

Day 10

Ashgabat  Mary

Visit Ancient Nisa (III c. B.C.) – the residence of parfian kings. Transfer to Mary. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11

Mary
Gyaur Gala Fortress

Full day excursion in Mary (big complex of ancient fortresses and mausoleums beginning from the third century B.C. protected by UNESCO), Gyaur Gala Fortress (Alexandria – Antiokhiya); Sultan Sanjar and Mukhammed ibn Zade Mausoleums, Guifary and Bureida Tombs, the Ruins of the Medieval Keshk Fortress and Margush (the big town Gonur Depe V c. B.C.) – the Centre of Ancient Zoroastric Margiana – the powerful government.

Day 12

Mary  Turkmen-Uzbek border  Bukhara
Bukhara

After breakfast drive to Turkmen-Uzbek border. Continue to Bukhara. Accommodation at the hotel.
Bukhara one of the most ancient cities of the East is situated in one of oases of the Kizilkum desert. Bukhara celebrated her 2500 year anniversary in 1998. The city has had several names at different times: Numiskat Madaniat - uc Sufia, Fakhirs, Vikhara (translated from Sanskrit - monastery). First written references relate to the 3rd century AD.In the 9th century Bukhara became the centre of the powerful Samanid state. At that time the trades and professions developed, the irrigation canals were constructed. The famous doctor and philosopher Avicenna spent his childhood here, and poet Rudaki composed his verses here and historian and poet Firdousi lived here, too. The Bukhara library was glorified. In the Middle Ages Bukhara became one of religious centers of Asia: numerous mosques and madrassah (spiritual schools) were constructed. In XVI century Bukhara became the centre of the powerful Bukhara Khanstva, which existed till the beginning of the 20th century. Modern Bukhara is the centre of a large district in Uzbekistan. The city has a population of 200 000 peoples. Bukhara’s people carefully preserve the history of their native city and strive to promote tourism throughout the world.

Day 13

Bukhara
Kalyan Minaret

Sightseeing in Bukhara - FD. Bukhara has some of the most impressive monuments Central Asia has to offer.
Visiting: Kalyan Minaret , 47 metres high is one of the most outstanding monuments. It was known as the “tower of death”, because during emir’s time criminals were tied up in sacks and thrown from the top. It was one of the few building to survive the rule of Genghis Khan, himself so impressed that he chose not to destroy it.Chashma Ayub Mazar (graveyard) (XIV-XIX), Poi-Kalan complex (XII-XVI c.), Ulugbek madrassah (it that was built by grandson of Tamerlan – Ulugbek – distinguished mathematician and astronomer). Afternoon sightseeing in Bukhara Lyabi-Hauz complex (XVI-XVII c.); Visiting of Samanid’s Mausoleum,a beautiful example of Zoroastrian architecture dating back to the 10th century; Nadir Divanbegi Madrassah, built in 1630. Ark - ancient fortress (VI-VII c.), home to the rules until the last emir left in 1920. Sitorai Mokhi Khosa – “Palace of Moon and Stars” – summer residence of the last Bukhara Emir (XIX c), Bolo Khauz mosque.

Day 14

Bukhara-Samarkand
Samarkand

Transfer to the railway station for the morning train to Samarkand. Arrival to Samarkand. Meeting and transfer to the hotel.
At the end of the “Golden Road to Samarkand”, we will be rewarded with one of Central Asia’s most magnificent cities. The merchants of the silk route brought their wares to trade in the bazaars off the city. Their tales created a legendary status for Samarkand for centuries to come. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane each added further mystique to this oasis town.
Enjoy a city walking tour taking in some of the highlights of this centre of the Silk Road. An oasis set on the edge of the Kyzyl Kum desert within the sight of two mountain ranges, Samarkand is watered by the Zeravshan river that runs between them. When the Chinese opened their borders to foreign trade in 184 BC they found that silk, which they alone knew how to make, was worth more than its weight in gold in the empires of the West. With the arrival of the first Chinese, Samarkand and the Silk Route entered an era of invasion-proof prosperity and semi-mythical international status that was to last more than 1000 years. Today Samarkand is full of interesting sites that reflect the prosperity of those times and the influence of the great rulers who resided here.

Day 15

Samarkand
Registan

Sightseeing in Samarkand - FD.
The Registan is the most spectacular architectural ensemble in Central Asia and the centre of Samarkand since the Mongol invasion.
The complex is made up of three main buildings, the Ulug Beg madrasah, the Shir Dor madrasah directly opposite and the Tilla Kori Mosque and Madrasah built between 1646-59. The inside of this mosque has been recently restored and is magnificent. Other highlights include the Shah-I-Zinda Complex of Mausoleums and the Gur Emir or “rulers tomb”, where Tamerlane was buried in 1405. Nearby is the Bibi Khanym Mosque, built between 1399 and 1404 by 500 labourers and 95 elephants brought from India, together with 200 architects, artists, and master craftsmen from the rest of Tamerlane’s empire. A 17th century earthquake destroyed more than half of it , but what remains today is still breathtakingly impressive. Visit of Observatory of Ulug Bek, grandson of Tamerlane. The best in the world at the time, the lower half of the 63 metre sextant was only uncovered in 1908.

Day 16

Samarkand  Tashkent

Transfer to the railway station for the morning train to Tashkent.Arrival to Tashkent. Meeting and transfer to the hotel.Accommodation at the hotel for 1 night.Tashkent was largely destroyed by earthquakes in the 60’s and was rebuilt in true Soviet style with pleasant leafy boulevards and lots of fountains to keep the heat down in summer. There are a couple of very interesting Museums here and Colorful Central Asian Markets.

Day 17

Samarkand-Tashkent

After breakfast transfer to the airport. Flight home.

Travel in party of Superior Class
★★★★★
Deluxe Class
★★★★
Tourist Class
★★★
2-5 persons N $ 3398 $ 2997
6-9 persons N $ 2676 $ 2355
10 persons & above N $ 2377 $ 2317
Single room Supplement N $ 717 $ 597

Service included:

1 Entrance fees/
2 Meals as listed in the itinerary, B=breakfast; L=lunch ;
3 Personal Guide & Driver + Private car / van for Private Transfers & sightseeing
4 Hotels with breakfast(twin share bases) as listed in the itinerary .
5 Domestic flights or trains as listed in the itinerar
6 Airport Taxes: US$30for domestic,
7 Service Charge & Government Taxes .
8 Luggage Transfers between airports and hotels
9 Goverment letter for visa support

Service excluded:

1 All lunches and dinners, and breakfast on the train
2 Personal expenses, tips to the guide and driver.
Note, the price for 6-10 pax included Lunches and Dinners1 Entrance fees/
2 Meals as listed in the itinerary, B=breakfast; L=lunch ;
3 Personal Guide & Driver + Private car / van for Private Transfers & sightseeing
4 Hotels with breakfast(twin share bases) as listed in the itinerary .
5 Domestic flights or trains as listed in the itinerar
6 Airport Taxes: US$30for domestic,
7 Service Charge & Government Taxes .
8 Luggage Transfers between airports and hotels
9 Goverment letter for visa support
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