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CENTRAL ASIA – CAUCASUS

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Great Silk Road is one of the most magnificent achievements of ancient civilization. Thousands of merchants and travellers passed along this famous route through dangerous deserts and vast steppes to reach China and buy silk - the main but not the only item of trade. The road also served as a means of exchanging cultures, religions and traditions between countries and contributed to the cultural and economic development of both East and West.
Thanks to their geographic location, Central Asia and the Caucasus were part of this famous trade route. Travelling in this part of the world will give you the opportunity to visit many well-preserved historical places along the Silk Road and experience the same feeling people did centuries ago.

-  Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia – the three countries along the Great Silk Road
-  Uzbekistan – modern Tashkent, beautiful Samarkand, historical Bukhara
-  Azerbaijan – Old and New city of Baku, ancient Sheki
-  Georgia – impressive Tbilisi, antique Kutaisi, inspiring Mtskheta

  • Day 1: Departure for Tashkent

  • Day 2: Tashkent

Tbilisi, Georgia

At about 11:00 – Start of SS tour in Tashkent incl. Kukeldash madrassah - Built in the mid-16th century by the ruler’s vizier Kukaldash, the madrassah was the biggest among 17 madrassahs in Tashkent. Visit of Khast Imam Square – the holy heart of Tashkent and the least Russified or Sovietized part of the city – consisting of Barak Khan Madrassah, Tillya Sheykh Mosque and Kafal Shashi Mausoleum. A visit to Chorsu bazaar – the biggest, spice-smelling farmers’ bazaar in Tashkent and Museum of Applied Arts (where items of traditional Arts & Craft both antique and contemporary are displayed).

  • Day 3: Tashkent – Bukhara

In the morning transfer to airport for flight HY-1321 (Tashkent/Bukhara). Arrival in Bukhara and transfer to hotel for accommodation. Whole day SS tour in Bukhara: The Lyabi-Khaus ensemble (16th-17th cc.) including the Kukeldush madrassah and Nodir-Divan-Begi as well as the Khanakas located near the pool, Mausoleum of the Samanids (the burial place of the Samanids (9th –10th cc.) is a masterpiece of Central Asian architecture, Chashmai-Ayub (12th c) were witnesses to this particular period), Mosque Bolo-Khauz, citadel Ark (the basic layout of the city is a citadel – the Ark which houses the Historical-Ethnographical museum today, is located on the highest point. From high walls of citadel the interesting skyline of the city is made up of a mixture of modern buildings and monuments of the past), Zindan. Countryside excursions incl. visit of Sitora-i-Mokhi-Khosa summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara.

  • Day 4: Bukhara – Samarkand

A.M.: Continue SS tour in Bukhara incl. visit to Ensemble Poi Kalian - Big Minaret from the 12th century is the symbol of the city, Madrassah Miri-Arab (1535-36 was one of the largest educational institutions of that time), Mosque Djuma, Madrassah of Ulugbek (1417, was built during the time of Ulugbek, in spite of its modest facade it differs from the rest because of its exquisite decoration), Chor Minor Mausoleum - is a colorful madrassah with four peculiar looking towers – the Chor-Minor (1807) - was used as a library for students), Mosque Magoki-Attari.
P.M.: Drive to Samarkand (300 km). Arrival and accommodation in hotel.

  • Day 5: Samarkand

Whole day SS tour in Samarkand: Mausoleum Gur-Emir (graves of Tamerlane and his descendants, 15c.), Observatory of Ulugbek (Ulugbek, Timur the Great’s grandson, created scientific school, which united outstanding astronomers and mathematicians. Ulugbek was the founder of the unique constructions of the observatory (1428-1429). There was a gigantic marble sextant, the radius of which was 40.212 meters and the length of the ark 63 meters. It was used to determine the coordinates of the Sun, the Moon and other planets. Ulugbek created the astronomic catalogue “Stars Tables”), Mosque Bibi-Khanum (15 c., The gigantic structure of Medieval Muslim architecture, Bibi-Khanum mosque named after Timur’s favorite wife, stands next to market place), Siab bazaar - colorful main farmers’ market, Registan square which since Tamerlane the Great’s Time became an official centre of Samarkand (14–15 cc), the word “Registan” means the “sandy place”. The Square is surrounded by the Ulugbek’s madrassah (1417-1420), the Sher-Dor madrassah (1619-1636), and Tilla-Kori madrassah (1647-1660).

  • Day 6: Samarkand – Tashkent

A.M.: Visit of Necropolis Shakhi-Zinda and ensemble of mausoleums of the 11th-19th centuries. The name refers to its original, innermost and holiest place – the grave of Qusam Ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, who is said to have brought Islam to this area. P.M.: Drive to Tashkent (330 km). Arrival and accommodation in hotel.

Friday Mosque, Azerbaijan

  • Day 7: Tashkent – Baku

In the morning transfer to airport for flight Tashkent Baku (HY-755). Arrive in Baku and SS program

  • Day 8: Baku

Baku sightseeing tour, visit Martyr’s Lane, Shirvanshah Palace, Maiden's Tower, Ateshgah Fire-Worshippers' Temple and the State Carpet Museum.

  • Day 9: Baku – Shemakha – Sheki

We drive to Gobustan mud-volcanoes plateau and then travel to Sheki en route visiting the town of Shemakha.

  • Day 10: Sheki – Telavi

The sightseeing tour of Sheki includes a visit to Caravanserai, Khan’s Palace and local market. Then we continue to the Azerbaijani-Georgian border. After crossing the border we visit Gremi Complex before arriving in Telavi.

  • Day 11: Telavi – Tbilisi

We travel to Kakheti - the famous wine-growing region. In the morning we visit the farmer’s market and then head to Nekresi Monastery. For lunch we will take you to a farmer’s house to enjoy the hospitality of the local people and sample some delicious home-made food and wine. In the evening we arrive in Tbilisi.

  • Sheki-Khan's Palace, Azerbaijan

    Day 12: Tbilisi

Tbilisi sightseeing tour, visit the Old Town and the State Museum Treasury.

  • Day 13: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Gori – Kutaisi

We drive to the ancient capital of Georgia – Mtskheta and visit its Jvari Monastery and Svetistkhoveli Cathedral. Then we drive to Gori and visit the Stalin Museum and Uplistsikhe Cave Town – an important point along the Great Silk Road. In the evening we arrive in Kutaisi.

  • Day 14: Kutaisi – Vani – Black Sea Coast – Kutaisi

We visit the ancient town of Vani – the site of the on-going archaeological excavations. From Vani we travel to the Black Sea before returning to Kutaisi.

  • Day 15: Kutaisi – Tbilisi

Today we visit Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery and Academy – both UNESCO World Heritage sites and then head to Tbilisi.

  • Day 16: Departure

 
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