Uzbekistan is a land of turquoise tiles, towering minarets, breathtaking monuments and an astonishing history that stretches back through the centuries. Here you will find some of the most magnificent buildings anywhere in the Islamic world, many commissioned by long-dead rulers determined to write their reigns large enough to survive millennia. As you wander the sun-beaten streets of Samarkand, Tashkent and Bukhara, hear history whispering to you through the timeworn stone. Uzbekistan is still in its infancy as a tourist destination, but for the adventurous and well-travelled it is the perfect travel spot. Explore mosques, mausoleums and madrassahs, coming back to life after decades of disuse; and wonder at blue-and-gold tile work as it shimmers in the heat.
Arrive in Tashkent where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the morning at leisure before embarking upon an afternoon sightseeing tour of Tashkent, the most cosmopolitan city in Uzbekistan. Enjoy sights including the Old City, Brak-Khan Madrassah, Yunus-Khan Mausoleum, Kaffal-al Shashi Mazar, Kukeldash Madrassah, the Museum of Applied Art, Independence Square, Friendship People's Square and the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet.
Depart Tashkent and head southwest to Samarkand by high speed train. Samarkand was one of the most prominent cities on the Silk Road - indeed, the route itself was sometimes called the 'Road to Samarkand'. Today the city is a UNESCO world heritage site and full of sights which you will drink in on an afternoon tour of the city, including the famous Registan complex with its three stunning madrassahs, the heart of ancient Samarkand. (B)
Spend the day delving deeper into Samarkand. Visit the Shah I Zinda Necropolis, with its elaborately-decorated tombs, and head out of the city to the observatory of Ulug Begh. This scholar-emperor was fascinated by mathematics and astronomy, and many of the discoveries made here have been proven astonishingly accurate by modern science. Later explore the most ancient part of Sarmarkand, Afrosiab. (B)
Travel by train from Samarkand to Bukhara, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the afternoon visiting some of Bukhara's most famous sites, including the Summer Palace of the Bukharan Emirs and the Bolo Khauz Mosque. (B)
Spend the day exploring Bukhara with your guide. The city was once an important trading post, and to this day is the most complete example of a mediaeval city in Central Asia. Some of its most famous sights include the citadel with its mud brick walls and the stunning 10th century tomb of Ismail Samani. (B)
Enjoy a morning at leisure before boarding the afternoon train to Tashkent. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (B)