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Day 1: Arrival in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Upon arrival a transfer will be waiting for you at the airport. Day is free to rest and explore on your own. In the evening meet your Tour Leader, National Guide and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner in your hotel. Overnight Ashgabat.
Day 2: Ashgabat/Nissa fly to Mary
Visit the National Museum of History and Ethnography with its 5000 exhibits. The archeological site of Nissa contains the remains of Old and New Nissa. The original city was an important center of the Parthian State, which existed from 3 BC - 3 AD and was a royal residence of Parthian Kings with a palace and temple and treasury. Recent archeological excavations have uncovered 2700 texts inscribed with black paint on clay vessel fragments. Later we will continue on to Kipchak Village to visit the largest mosque in Central Asia. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Mary.Overnight Mary.
Day 3: Margush, Bronze Age Civilizations
Drive to the site of the ancient country of Margush, believed by many to be the birthplace of Zoroastrianism. It is also the site of Bronze Age ruins. Returning to Mary we will also visit a museum of local history. Overnight Mary.
Day 4: Merv, Erk Kala, Sultan Sonjar Mausoleum - Turkmenabad
Today we will visit Merv, the oldest of the oasis cities along the Silk Route in Central Asia. The remains of this oasis span four thousand years of human history and a number of monuments are still in evidence. Classical writers often mention Merv as Margiana, as part of the Achaemenian Empire in the 6th century BC until its invasion by Alexander the Great. The 'Queen of Cities' as it was known in the Islamic world, Merv was considered as the second city after Baghdad between the 8th and 13th centuries and was an important town on the Silk Road. We then continue on to Turkmenabad. Overnight Turkmenabad.
Day 5: Turkmenabad to Koytendag
Today drive to Koytendag Nature Reserve. En route visit the Astana Baba Mausoleum (12th century) before checking into our tourist lodge. Overnight Koytendag.
Day 6: Koytendag: Kryrk-Gyz Gorge and Cave, Dinosaur site
Today see the panorama of Aribaba peak, the highest mountain in Turkmenistan at 3137 m (10, 300 f). Later visit Kyrk Gyz Gorge and caves a popular site for pilgrims. The Plateau of Dinosaurs is a sloping plateau 500 meters (1640 feet) long and 200 meters (655 feet) wide containing the footprints of more than 400 dinosaurs. Afterwards, return to the nature reserve. Overnight Koytendag.
Day 7: Koytendag - Turkmenabad. Fly to Ashgabat
After an early breakfast we will drive back to Turkmenabad for our return flight to Ashgabat. Overnight Ashgabat.
Day 8: Fly to Dashoguz: Konye Urgench to Khiva Uzbekistan
This morning we fly to Dashoguz. This day will be dedicated to exploring the Unesco World Heritage site of Konye-Urgench. Although destroyed over 800 years ago by Genghis Khan there are still many ruins to see. We will then enter Uzbekistan through the border crossing at Dashoguz and continue to Khiva.
Day 9: Khiva sight seeing - overnight train to Bukhara
After breakfast city tour of Khiva. Visit Madrassah Allakuli Khan, Madrassah Muhammad Amin Khan, Kunya Ark, Kelte Minar, Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, Islam Khoja Minaret and Madrassah, Madrassah Muhammad Rahimkhan, Juma Mosque, Tash Hovli Palace, Caravanserai. After dinner drive to Urgench & take overnight train to Bukhara.
Day 10: The ancient city of Bukhara
Upon arrival we start our city tour of Bukhara. Visit Chor Minor, Ark fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Chashmai Ayub, Poi Kalyan complex with Kalyan Mosque, Kalyan minaret and Miri Arab Madrassah, Ulugbeg and Abdul Aziz Khan Madrassahs, Trade Domes, ancient Silk Market, Magokki Attori Mosque and Labi Hauz complex. Enjoy folk show at Nodir Devonbegi Madrassah (if available).
Day 11: Bukhara to Samarkand
After breakfast visit Summer residence of last Emir - Sitorai Mokhi Khosa. Drive to Samarkand. En route stop at Gijduvan ceramist workshop for lunch. Learn more about local ceramic tiles making process. Continue driving to Samarkand.
Day 12: Samarkand
Full day city tour of Samarkand. Visit Registan Square, the heart of ancient city, Temur's burial place- Mausoleum Gur Emir, famous Bibi Khanum Mosque, which intended to out-rival everything Tamerlane had ever seen.? Also visit Shakhi Zinda necropolis and Ulugbek observatory. Visit Silk paper centre. In the evening participate in plov preparation at Uzbek local family restaurant.
Day 13: Samarkand to Sentyab
Today drive to Naratau Mountains to experience the culture and natural environment of Uzbekistan not found in the established tourist cities. You will diversify and broaden your classic ancient city holiday experience in Uzbekistan. Upon arrival have a guided excursion through the village. This excursion provides a unique opportunity to experience everyday life and the hospitality of the rural Tajik and Uzbek population. In the evening enjoy the national traditional dinner with national music mini-concert. Overnight Sentyab (basic accommodation).
Day 14: Sentyab to Tashkent
After breakfast we take the time to explore the Kardvan valley perhaps to see one of the traditional water carriers. See spectacular views of the Naratau Mountains and the Sentyab village. After lunch we continue onto Tashkent the capital of Uzbekistan. Overnight Tashkent.
Day 15: Tashkent to Khojand
After an early breakfast drive to Uzbek-Tajik border "Oybek". After border formalities change guide and transport and continue drive to Khodjand. City tour of Khojand. Visit Citadel, Masoleum of Sheikh Massal ad-Din, Madrassah, Mosque of Sheikh Massal ad-Din, Panchshanba Bazaar. Overnight at Khojand.
Day 16: Khojand to Tashkent
After breakfast drive to the "Oybek" border. After border formalities change guide and transport. Continue drive to Tashkent. Upon arrival city tour of Tashkent. Visit Old city: Khast Imam complex, Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, Kukaldash Madrassah, bazaar, Amir Temur Square, Independence Square and Alisher Navoi Square. Overnight Tashkent.
Day 17: Tashkent, Uzbekistan to Turkestan, Kazakhstan
After an early breakfast drive to Chernyaevka to cross into Kazakhstan and continue to Turkestan. En-route we will visit the excavations of the ancient City of Otrar, destroyed in the XV Century. The first settlement in the Otrar area is dated around the 1st Century BC. Founded By Saki descendants - Kangyuntsy. In the VI-VII centuries the city was called Kangu-Taraban. We will visit Arystanbab Mausoleum, which, as with the Khadzha Akhmed Yassaui Mausoleum, is still an active shrine and attracts pilgrims. On both sides of the road you can see many hills - remains of ancient settlements, which are abundant in the 0Syr-Darya Valley. In Shaulder there is a small history museum with numerous ancient exhibits. Overnight Turkestan.
Day 18: Turkestan to Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve
After breakfast we visit the most famous historic site in Southern Kazakhstan, the city of Turkestan founded in the 5th century AD and once called Yasy. Visit the Khadzha Akhmed Yassaui Mausoleum. Built at the end of the XIV century in memory of the "Great Thinker Of the XII century", Khadzha Akhmet Ibn Ibragim Al-Yasavi, A Dervish, Sufism preacher and poet who it is said was a descendant of the daughter of Muhammed. We continue driving from Turkestan to the Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve.
Day 19: Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve to Taraz
Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve the oldest in Central Asia now encompassing over 132,000 hectares, located on the Ugam and Maidantal ridges of Talasskiy Alatau in the western part of Tien Shan. The name of this nature reserve is formed from the names of its two biggest rivers - Aksu and Zhabagly. We have an opportunity to explore just a small part of this reserve in the hopes of seeing some of its rich wildlife. In the late afternoon we drive to Taraz en-route visiting Aisha-Bubu Mausoleum.dating from the 12th century. It is a unique memorial, entirely faced with carved terracotta with the richest ornamentation in the form of tiles with 60 kinds of patterns, cornices and styled inscriptions. Capitals and columns cut from terracotta blocks are covered with the thinnest paintings, which represent the richest composition of motives of folk ornament.
Day 20: Taraz Kazakhstan to Chong Kemin Valley- Kyrgyzstan
Drive to the Chong- Kemin Valley in Kyrgyzstan where we will have the opportunity to visit an old soviet farm (kolkhoz) village and enjoy a short hike in the Valley. This evening experience true Kyrgyz hospitality with a traditional dinner in the Kalmak - Ashuu Guest House.
Day 21: Chong Kemin Valley - Kyrgyzstan
Relax and enjoy the country life in the Chong Kemin Valley in Kyrgyzstan. This evening experience true Kyrgyz hospitality with a traditional Brandy/Vodka Party.
Day 22: Cholpon Ata Lake Issyk-Kul Boat Cruise
Today we drive to the Pearl of Tian-Shan, Lake Issyk-Kul. Enroute stop in the village of Tamchy for a demonstration of felt production. Later continue driving to Cholpon-Ata.
Day 23: Lake Issyk-Kul, Karakol
Today we will drive to the town of Karakol to visit to the Preshevalsky Museum, which is dedicated to the memory of Nikolai Michailovich Preshevalsky, an enthusiastic explorer accredited for his excellent works on flora and fauna of the Issyk-Kul region. He was also known for breeding a tiny horse on the steppes of Tibet, which later came to be known as the Preshevalsky Horse. Also visit the local Orthodox Church and mosque before returning to Cholpon-Ata.
Day 24: Lake Issyk-kul to Bishkek
Today we continue to Bishkek stopping enroute at the Burana Tower Archaeological Museum, which is situated on the site of a caravan town dating from the 10th Century. Surrounding the area are mysterious stone heads perhaps representing ancient Kyrgyz Gods. Enjoy a local lunch in a traditional Kyrgyz Yurt and view a Kyrgyz Horse Show. Overnight Bishkek.
Day 25: Day trip to Al Archa Park
Enjoy either an easy or strenuous hike at Al Archa Park, with snow-capped peaks reaching 9200 feet (2,800 meters). Return to Bishkek for our farewell dinner.
Day 26: Departure from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Transfer to the airport for your departure.
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