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Jewels of Persia Tashkent to Shiraz Tour

25 March: Arrival Tashkent
Upon arrival at Tashkent international airport, on Air Astana flight KC127
ETA into Tashkent at 10:50 am. You will be met by our guide and transferred to your hotel, later in the afternoon city tour of Tashkent, visiting mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools) housing craft workshops and dating from the 14th century. We visit the Kukeldash Medressa, a grand 16th century academy undergoing restoration and the History Museum of Uzbekistan and the Museum of Fine Arts. Overnight in Lotte City Tashkent Palace Hotel (-)
26 March: Samarkand
In the morning transfer to Tashkent train station for Bullet train to Samarkand. For most people Samarkand is as mythical as Atlantis or as remote and legendary as Timbouctou. The sublime larger-than-life monuments of Timur, the technicolour bazaar and the city’s long, rich history work a special kind of magic. On arrival we’ll visit the old bazaars for which this exotic city is famous for.
Overnight in Hotel (B)
27 March: Samarkand Visit
Samarkand, sometimes called the ‘Rome of the Orient’ was already flourishing when Rome and Babylon were founded. During the course of our full day tour we visit the famous Registan Square, Bibi Khanum Mosque, Mausoleum of Tamerlane and the Observatory of Ulughbek; the site where Uleg Bek, grandson of Tamerlane, made some of the greatest achievements of the pre-telescope era of astronomy in the 15th century. We also visit the regal mausoleums of Shah-I Zinda, site of Central Asia’s most sacred Islamic shrine, the massive mosque of Bibi Khanym, and the adjacent colourful market. You can purchase Samarkand’s famous bread which Alexander the Great unsuccessfully tried to have duplicated back home in Greece, or try some of the region’s local produce, from grapes to the world’s tastiest melons of multiple varieties. Our afternoon tour covers the Afrosiab Museum, located on the site of ancient.
Overnight in Hotel (B)
28 March: Bukhara via Shakhrisabz
Travel to Bukhara via Shakrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane. We visit Tamerlane’s palace Ak Sarai, the Kok Gumbaz mosque, Mausoleum of Jehangir (Tamerlane’s grandson) and Tamerlane’s Mausoleum. Bukhara is one of the center of the Russian/British Intelligence Services in the 19th Century.
Overnight in Hotel (B)
29 March: Bukhara Visit
Today we explore the old quarter on foot. Bukhara is an ancient city with its bustling “trade domes,” active mosques, and the Kalyan Minaret (“tower of death”), one of Central Asia’s tallest. We’ll stroll around the streets and visit the old town center where old men with long white beards gossip for hours while drinking tea. Bukhara has been designated a World Heritage Site; the resulting restoration of some of the mosques, constructed in the 11th to 15th centuries, to make them appear as if they were built yesterday. There are even some structures still standing that date back to Zorastrian times 2,500 years ago.
We also visit The Ark, a large fortress with the Emir’s open-air throne room and the Mausoleum of Ismail Samani, an intricate and beautiful 10th century brick structure that is nicely preserved. We’ll also venture to the outskirts of Bukhara and visit the summer palace of the last emir, built by a Russian Czar with grand halls and a harem. We will also see Char Minar, a gate of an ancient madrassa long time gone. It was built in 1809 and has more in common with Indian art styles than local.
Overnight in Hotel (B)
30 March: Bukhara Free day
Full free day in Bukhara at leisure.
Overnight in hotel (B)
31 March: Mary (Turkmenistan)
In the morning, drive to the Uzbek Turkmen border and continue to ancient Merv. Today we visit a historically important site; one of the most significant in Turkmenistan. The site consists of a series of towns each succeeded by another throughout the course of history and contains, amongst other things, the remains of Erk Kala and it’s citadel and the Musoleum of Sultan Sanjar.
Overnight in Hotel (B)
01 April: Ashgabad Flight
In the morning transfer to the airport for flight to Ashgabad, later half day sightseeing of Ashgabad including visit of Tolkuchka Bazaar. We continue to Old Nisa, an ancient Parthian settlement and the spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashi.
Overnight in Hotel (B)
02 April: Ashgabad – Darwaza Gas Crater
Today we visit the National Museum of History & Ethnography of Turkmenistan.
In the afternoon drive to Darwaza Gas Crater, en-route we visit a Nomad village, Karakum desert and continue driving to Darwaza flaming gas crater or the ‘mouth of hell’. The crater is about 60 meters wide and 20 meters deep. Later return to Ashgabad Overnight in Hotel (B)
03 April: Ashgabad – Mashhad (Iran)
In the morning transfer to Iran Turkmen border at Gaudan, where you will be met by your Iranian guide and transferred to Mashhad. Depending on the schedule, possible half day city tour of Mashhad including the local Bazaar.
Overnight in hotel (B)
04 April: Mashhad City Tour
Mashhad lies on the site where Emam Reza, a direct descendant of the
Prophet Mohammed and the 8th Shiite Imam, died in 817AD. Heir to the
Abbasid caliphate, Emam Reza was poisoned by the then ruling caliph,
Ma’mun. His shrine survived the onslaughts of Mongols and Uzbeks; it was not until the 16th century, under the rule of the Safavids, that the city became a centre of pilgrimage for the Shia faithful. We will visit Goharshad mosque and Imam Reza Shrine. Overnight in hotel (B)
05 April: Mashhad – Nishapur excursion
In the morning we take an excursion to visit the ancient town of Nishapur, an important stop on the Silk Road. The town was destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th-century. Today it is famous for its ceramics and pottery. On the way visit the lovely Safavid shrine and gardens at Qadamgah, an important pilgrimage site, with beautiful decoration. We will learn about Omar Khayyám, mathematician, astronomer and poet whose 1000 quatrains came to be known as the Rubáiyát; Kamal-al-Molk, Iran’s greatest contemporary painter whose works include “The Fortune Teller of Baghdad”; and Farid al-Din Attar, the 12th century Sufi poet and mystic are also buried in Nishapur. Return to Mashhad.
Overnight at hotel (B)
06 April: Flight to Tehran
Depending on the flight schedule transfer to the airport for flight to Tehran.
On arrival you will be met by our guide and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight in hotel (B)
07 April: Tehran City tour
Tehran is the capital city of Iran, Tehran is a diverse and beautiful city combining the ancient civilisation of Iran with modern developments and living. It is positioned at the base of the Alborz mountain range in Northern Iran and is home to the usual tourist attractions such as museums, shopping centres. Tehran with its numerous museums houses the most important collection of recent and remote Persian art and culture.
Full day city tour of Tehran. A visit to the prehistoric National Museum of Iran. This museum houses a marvellous collection including ceramics, potteries, stone figures and carvings dating from around the 7th millennium BC. A visit to Ceramic & Glassware Museum (Abgineh Museum) followed by the Carpet Museum. Here you will have access to many of the masterpieces woven in the important carpet-weaving centres of Iran. The beautiful architecture and façade of the museum resembles a carpet-weaving loom.
***Please note: our schedule to visit museums may vary depending on museum hours/days and when they are open to the public.
Overnight at hotel (B)
08 April: Tehran – Mount Tochal
After breakfast we drive to Mount Tochal, afternoon hike around the Mountain. Later return to Tehran.
Overnight in hotel (B)
09 April: Tehran – Kashan
Free morning later in the afternoon drive to Kashan. Kashan is attractive oasis city which was once a favourite of Shah Abbas I. Kashan is also home to some of the best traditional houses including the Brujerdi House (a Samovar merchant), as well as beautiful gardens such as Fin Garden. Overnight in hotel (B)
10 April: Kashan – Abyaneh village – Isfahan
In the morning drive to Isfahan en-route you will be stopping at Abyaneh and Qamsar village. Abyaneh is a small picturesque reddish village dating back 1600 years. Later continue driving to Isfahan. Isfahan is Iran’s masterpiece, the jewels of Historical Persia and one of the finest cities in the Islamic world. The exquisite blue mosaic tiles of Isfahan’s Islamic buildings, it’s expansive bazaar and the city’s gorgeous bridges demand as much of your time as you can spare. The history of the city dates back to 2700 years ago. It was the capital of Iran in a number of the post-Islamic periods, but its golden age was during the Safavid dynasty in 17th century.
City tour of Isfahan’s magnificent buildings; some of the greatest examples of Islamic architecture including the Royal (Naqsh-e-Jahan) square, the Shah Abbas Jameh and Sheikh Lotfullah mosques, Ali-Qapu Palace plus free time for the Bazaar (spans 5 km). In the evening an optional visit to a Zoorkhaneh (House of Strength) to watch this traditional Iranian sport – a combination of physical and spiritual aerobics, with participants chanting to the powerful drums of their master .
Overnight in hotel (B)
11 April: Isfahan Visit
City tour of Isfahan – A visit to the Armenian quarter to tour the Vank Cathedral, built between 1606 and 1655 and the Zayandehrud River. Chehel Sotun Palace with its beautiful frescos located in a pretty garden is our next stop. Shah Abbas II originally built it as a pleasure pavilion and reception hall. On to Jame Mosque, a veritable museum of Islamic architecture, displaying styles from the 11th to the 18th centuries. Evening tour of Isfahan including Si-o-Se & Khaju bridges Overnight in hotel (B)
12 April: Isfahan – Yazd
Drive to Yazd, en-route visit Na’in. Na’in is located in the geographic centre of Iran and is a famous carpet making centre. Na’in is also noted for its very old Masjid-e-Jame, which dates from the early Islamic period and contains some features from the 10th century. Later we will visit the old town of Maybod, established in the Medes Era. Continue driving to Yazd. Overnight in hotel (B)
13 April: Yazd visit
Yazd is still home to Iran’s largest community of Zoroastrians, and the best place to visit an Ateshkadeh (House of Eternal Fire) and the Towers of Silence, the Zoroastrian burial grounds. Although the temple is modern (built in the 1940s), the sacred fire has been burning since 470 AD. Yazd is also an ancient city with its unique desert architecture and its “Badgirs”, the wind towers designed to catch and circulate the merest breath of wind. The mosques of Yazd are like no others and the magnificent Jame Mosque dominates the old city. Its remarkably high, tiled entrance, flanked with two magnificent minarets and adorned with an inscription from the 15th century, is simply superb. This city has always been a great weaving center, known for its silks and other fabrics even before Marco Polo passed through along one of the Silk Routes in the late 13th century. Dolat Abad Garden, Water Museum and a traditional house are among the other visits. The stunning three-storey façade of the Tekiyeh in the Amir Chakhmaq Complex at sunset is one of the most spectacular features of Yazd.
Optional visit to a Zoorkhaneh (House of Strength) to watch this traditional Iranian sport – a combination of physical and spiritual aerobics, with participants chanting to the powerful drums of their master during our visit of Amir Chakhmaq complex. Overnight in hotel (B)
14 April: Yazd – Shiraz
Drive to Shiraz en-route we will stop at Pasargadae, Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, in the 6th century BC. It’s palaces, gardens and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the early royal Achaemenid art and are exceptional testimonies of Persian civilization. Later drive to Shiraz. Overnight at hotel (B)
15 April: Shiraz City tour
Shiraz, the city of nightingales, poetry and roses;. City tour of Shiraz including a visit to Narenjestan or Orange Garden built in 1879-1886 as a reception hall for visitors and was also used as the governor’s residence during the late Qajar period. Also included is Khan theological school and Bazaar, then enjoy tea and ice cream while listening to recitals in traditional teahouse of the mausoleum of the famous Iranian poet Hafez.
Overnight at hotel (B)
16 April: Day trip to Persepolis – Necropolis
Fars province is greatly indebted to the settlement of the Achaemenid and Sassanian dynasties for its glorious cultural heritage. Scattered all over the territory of Fars are monuments materializing the rapid progress of the province in both pre-Islamic and Islamic era.
Morning excursion to Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid), Necropolis
(Naghsh-e-Rostam) and Naqsh-e Rajab (about 70 km per way).
A visit to the ruins of the ancient city of Persepolis is one of the highlights of any trip to Iran. Persepolis is the best preserved of Persia’s ruined cities and the finest legacy of the great Achaemenid Empire which ruled Persia between 559 and 330 BC. The most impressive features of the ruins are the splendid bas-reliefs, which adorn many of the staircases and palaces on the site and provide a rich treasure house of ancient history.
At Necropolis you will find the tomb of the four powerful Achaemenian
Kings carved into huge rocks. Later return to Shiraz. Overnight in Hotel (BD)
17 April: Departure
Transfer to Shiraz airport for Air Arabia flight G9214
Depart Shiraz 14:45 (B)

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About Silk Road Tours, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Central Asia

We are a small, highly experienced “boutique” travel company operating unique tours thoughout Central Asia, Far East, Caucasus and Indian Subcontinent.