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Archaeological treasures of Uzbekistan
- 14 days
- Culture / Heritage
Few countries offer travellers the opportunity to visit such pristine ancient sites. After multiple excavation campaigns in Soviet times, many fortresses, citadels or necropolises were left as they were and now constitute as many opportunities to get lost in the desert, in the shoes of a budding archaeologist. You can even, if you pass through a specialized local agency, give a few shovels or brush strokes with the teams of archaeologists at work
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Details of the stay: Archaeological treasures of Uzbekistan - 14 days
Day 1 : Contact with Central Asian civilization
Arrival in Tashkent. Start by familiarizing yourself with the local history and archaeological finds of the country by visiting the Museum of the History of Peoples of Uzbekistan and the Amur Timur Museum in the afternoon. Walk in the evening and show at the Navoi Opera House.
Day 2 : Heading south
Morning flight to Termez. Visit in the afternoon the Archaeological Museum of Surkhan Daria, certainly one of the most beautiful in Uzbekistan, which presents all the wonders found in the many excavation sites in the region.
Day 3 : The sands of Surkhan Daria
Visit of the main archaeological sites around Termez: Fayaz tepe, Kara tepe, Zurmala tower. All these sites are dated to the same period and bear witness to the passage of Buddhism from India to China via Central Asia. Be careful, some of them are on the Iranian border and require special authorization
Day 4 : Remains on the Silk Road
Visit of a new excavation site located a little further from Termez: Kampyr Tepe, where the ruins of an old port on the river Amou Daria were discovered. It was an important milestone on the Silk Road.
Day 5 : Shakhrisabz and the Imperial Palace
Morning drive to Shakhrisabz, Tamerlan's hometown. You can visit the ruins of the White Palace as well as some very beautiful mosaics restored by a French team. Do not miss the main monuments erected by the emperor, especially the crypt where he had planned to be buried before finally resting in Samarkand
Day 6 : The treasures of Samarkand
Drive to Samarkand in the early morning. Daytime visit to Registan (Oulough Beg Madrasa, Tillia-Kari Madrasa, Chir Dor Madrasa), Bibi Khanum Mosque and Shah i Zinda Necropolis at the end of the day. Enjoy the beautiful fading lights on the domes of the "necropolis of the living king".
Day 7 : Afrosyab website
Morning visit to the Oulough Begh Observatory. In the afternoon, you will walk along the gigantic Afrosyab site, the hill where Samarkand's original location was located, just next to Shah i Zinda. Excavations are still going well on this gigantic site, and a guided tour is highly recommended if you want to be able to decipher the organization of the ancient city.
Day 8 : On the road to Bukhara
Road to Bukhara with a stop on the way to the caravanserai of Rabât-i Malik. Visit also the cistern of Gijduvan and the minaret of Vabkent. Other steps can be programmed along the way depending on the type of transport you choose. A car with driver will allow you to stop where and when you want.
Day 9 : The Pearl of Islam
Visit of the old town of Bukhara. From the central basin (liab i khaouz), follow the maze of market domes to reach the Poy Kalon complex and its sumptuous minaret. In the afternoon, get off the beaten track by exploring the Tchor Minor district, then come back to cool off around the pool to finish the day.
Day 10 : Ancient monuments
Morning visit to the Samanid mausoleum, a unique architectural treasure of its kind, and one of the oldest monuments in the entire Muslim world still standing. After a detour through the Mazar Chachma Ayoub and the Bolo Khaouz Mosque, reach the citadel and visit the site of the former Bukhara fortress. At the end of the day, enjoy being in a large craft centre to do some shopping in the shopping domes, then visit the nearby Magok i Attari mosque, one of the oldest in the country.
Day 11 : The former Kingdom of Du
Journey to Uzs. The road is long and devastating in summer, but there are flights several times a week between the two cities, probably preferable if you do not support the heat. At the end of the day, first contact with Uzs, former capital of Khorezm.
Day 12 : The fortresses of the desert
Departure for the fortresses of Karakalpakistan. Visit of Toprak kala, the former capital of the Kingdom of Khorezm. With a good taxi, you can then link two or three other fortresses (there are more than fifty in the desert) including Kyzyl Kala. We recommend spending the night under the yurt, in Ayaz kala or Djambaz Kala, in the heart of the desert.
Day 13 : The fortresses of the desert (continued)
Drive towards the citadels even deeper into the desert like Kirkiz Kala, then take the road to Nukus. About 30 km before arriving in the capital of Karakalpakstan, visit the 2,000-year-old necropolis of Mizdakhan.
Day 14 : Meeting Karakalpak Art
Visit the Savitsky Museum, where hundreds of works of the Soviet avant-garde have been saved from censorship. The museum department dedicated to Karakalpakstan is just as interesting and will familiarize you with the habits and customs of this little-known people.
Evening flight to Tashkent
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