“Historical and cultural heritage of Uzbekistan”

Surkhandarya region is located in the extreme south of the Republic of Uzbekistan. This is a basin surrounded by spurs of the Tien Shan mountain system (ridges – Gissar, Surhantau, Babatag). The valley of the Surkhandarya River is the outpost of Uzbekistan  in the northeast it shares  borders with Tajikistan, in the southwest with Turkmenistan, and in the south with Afghanistan. The northern part of the region is foothill with a mild, warm climate. Even subtropical fruits and sugarcane are grown here. The central part of the valley is occupied by irrigated crops of fine-fiber cotton, corn, mung bean, sorghum and rice in the floodplain of the Surkhandarya river. On the slopes of the hills karakul sheep graze.

The southern part of Surkhandarya is the hottest place in Uzbekistan – in summer the temperature of + 50ᵒС is a common occurrence. Here, the kishlaks (villages) are deprived of typical gardens and vineyards for Uzbekistan. The reason for this – the wind “Afghan” (from Afghanistan). From his hot breath in a few hours, the leaves from the plants wither and fall off. 

The south of the valley is known for its oil and gas fields. From a historical point of view, Surkhandarya is an archaeological paradise: the Stone Age caves, remnants of the Bactrian palaces and Buddhist temples, mosques and mausoleums of the early Islamic period – everywhere there are traces of civilizations gone into oblivion. The administrative center of this region is the city of Termez, the southernmost border town of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is located on the right bank of the Amu Darya River, along which the state border with Afghanistan passes. The founding of the city dates back to the 3rd-2nd century BC, when a fortification (kala ’) emerged and enclosed by walls. According to historians in IV. BC. next to the crossing, one of the seven Alexandrias, built by Alexander the Great in the territory of present Central Asia, was erected. In the first centuries of our era, the ancient city grew in breadth, in it residential and industrial quarters, religious complexes, in particular large Buddhist monasteries, stand out. Buddhism came from India in the 1st century BC. Much earlier than spread in China, Korea and Japan. The heyday of medieval Termez begins in X-XII, when suburbs were formed and many buildings of civil and religious architecture were built. Thus, as a result of the archaeological excavations, the remains of the palace of the Termez rulers (XI-XII) were uncovered. The city was destroyed during the Mongol conquest at the beginning of the 13th century, but it is again formed east of the original in the 15th century.


In the 200th km from Termez to the north-west is the Kashkadarya region. This is a valley located on both banks of the Kashkadarya River. From the east it is limited by the spurs of the Gissar range, from the north – by the Zeravshan (Pamir-Alay mountain system). It perfectly combines the snow-capped peaks of the mountains with numerous waterfalls from small mountain streams and smell of flowers in the valley, waterless steppes and sand dunes brought from the desert located in the territory of Turkmenistan. The region is rich in minerals, in particular, oil deposits. The administrative center of the region is the city of Karshi. This is a modern industrial center of Uzbekistan, which has a long history. The second largest city and historical significance of Kashkadarya is Shahrisabz, the birthplace of Amir Timur (Tamerlane). In the XIV-XV it was the main city of the Kesh region, the patrimony of the Turkic-Mongolian tribe Barlas. Under Timur, Shakhrisabz  experienced an unprecedented flourishing and there was built magnificent monumental buildings. From the XVI century the city gradually fell into disrepair. At the beginning of the XIX century – It was the residence of the local Bek. Now it is a modern city with 25 centuries of history.

SAMARKAND – 2750 years

Samarkand is one of the ancient  cities in the world and  almost a peer of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome . More than 2 thousand years, the city was a key point on the Great Silk Road between China and Europe, as well as one of the main centers of science of the medieval East. Samarkand was invaded and  destroyed in the IV century BC. by  troops of Alexander the Great. In the 8th century, the  city was again destroyed by the forces of the Arab Caliphate, but again revived to life. After the invasion of Genghis Khan hordes in the XIII century, Afrasiab ceased to exist and the inhabitants moved to the south-west of it, to the territory of present-day Samarkand. The dawn of the medieval city is connected with the reign of Amir Timur (Tamerlane – 1370-1405), who decided to make Samarkand the capital of his huge empire, which included Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, part of India, the whole territory of present-day Central Asia, and also were in the vassal Dependencies Egypt, Syria, Turkey, the Golden Horde, Mogulistan (the territory of present-day Kyrgyzstan). In the XVI century and throughout the following centuries, Samarkand experienced a period of feudal disintegration. In 1868, the city was occupied by Russian colonial troops and entered the newly created Zeravshan District of the Turkestan Governor General. During this period, houses of European style are built here, developed parks, squares and boulevards are broken. Now Samarkand is the second largest and by the numbers of universities city in the country with a population of more than 500,000 people.


Tashkent is the capital of the Republic of Uzbekistan. This is a modern metropolis with a population of more than 2,500,000 people, with a 25-century history. But, the wars of conquest, the clan struggle for power and natural disasters destroyed  many monuments of antiquity. After the devastating earthquake in 1966, the city was completely  rebuilt. Tashkent is constantly growing and getting bigger, decorated with new parks, fountains, wide modern highways.

On the route it is necessary to have: In the summer

  • Closed comfortable shoes with thickened soles
  • Headgear for protection against direct sunlight
  • Sunglasses
  • Creams from sunburn
  • Outer clothing of linen or cotton material, preferably with long sleeves
  • Swimsuits

Seasonality of the route – all the year round
The programs for staying on the route of the 1st and last days depend on the time of arrival to the place where the tour starts and the time of departure from the final destination, therefore, they may change.

What’s included in the tour



Arrival at Termez International Airport. Tour to Uzbekistan begins. You will be met by a representative of our company with a sign. Tourist vehicles will take you to the hotel. Accommodation on arrival. Dinner in one of the restaurants of the city.


After breakfast at the hotel, you are accompanied by a guide on a tour of the sites of the “old Termez”. On the place of crossing over the Amu Darya in the III-II centuries BC there was a port that functioned until the eighth century. The remains of the warehouse much later were called Kampyr-Kala (“the old fortress”). In the north-west of the city wall of the “old” Termez there was a Buddhist monastery, called by archaeologists ”Fayaz Tepe”. This ground structure was erected in I-II centuries by architects in the architectural type, which is called sangarama. This religious complex included the monastery itself, which has a rich artistic decoration, a stupa for storing sacred relics, various outbuildings and utility rooms, providing the monastic community with everything necessary. Fayaz-tepe decorated with the painting. Among the many surviving fragments – the face of the Buddha in the halo and images of Buddhist admirers. The magnificent statue of Buddha sitting under a sacred tree and on either side of it – two monks with prayer-folded hands.In  the east of the Sangarami stands a mortar built of mud brick and plastered with ganch (chalk). Another monument of Buddhist culture – the Zurmala Tower – is located in the so-called suburban area, where there was apparently a whole complex of Buddhist buildings. This is a huge stupa (diameter – 14.5 m, height – 16 m), devoid of its facings, which survived the centuries – now an almost shapeless array. Its scale indicates the special significance of this structure in the Buddhist construction of the “old” Termez. A huge palace country estate belonging to the ruling dynasty – Kyrk-kyz (“40 girls”) – is associated with popular rumor in Central Asia with a legend about amazon girls who lived in a fortified castle. The total number of premises of the estate reached fifty. The building material is a raw brick, the walls are plastered with clay. Kirk-kyz is, in its own way, a museum of construction and technical searches and constructive experiments of early medieval architects of Central Asia. This structure is characterized by a combination of pre-Islamic traditions with the demands of a different era. Not far from the manor, on the ancient “Termez” ancient settlement, is the architectural complex At-Termizi, formed around the burial of the famous theologian and hadith historian IXc (Hadith – the legend of the deeds, words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed). The nickname is Khakimi Termizi, inscribed in an inscription on a marble tombstone, means “Termez sage”. Over time, a small mausoleum was erected over the grave. The subsequent expansion of the ensemble falls on the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 15th century. A large architectural ensemble Sultan-Saodat towers in the territory where the post-Mongolian Termez grew. This is a group of multi-temporal family burials of Termez seids, that is, descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, and religious buildings (X-XI centuries, XV-XVIII centuries). Not far from Sultan Saodat, among the greenery of the surrounding gardens, are the remains of a monumental structure of the 16th century, called Kokildor. According to its purpose, it was a mausoleum-khanaka (hospice for pilgrims). Do you feel dizzy from the onslaught of times? Then we move on from the “old” Termez to the “new” and go for lunch to one of the restaurants of the city. After lunch, you are scheduled to visit the Termez Archaeological Museum. This is just a “temple” – of the sciences, cultures and bygone civilizations. A rare European museum has such a rich exposition and equipment. 27 thousand exhibits – from archaic ceramics to a huge collection of coins and jewelry. Here, under the glass of luminous shop windows, there are unique artifacts from different eras, alternating dynasties and religious trends.The museum has an unusual room – “Hall of Confiscated Customs”.The exhibition presents items from different centuries, regions, and styles. Dinner will be held in one of the restaurants of the city.


Breakfast at the hotel. Tour to Uzbekistan continues. You will be transferred by car to the city of Shahrisabz (282 km). The road passes through the so-called multicolored low mountains – these are the last damped waves of the Gissar ridge and its spurs: Chakchar and Baysuntau. The relief is diverse and bizarre: jagged ridges, figured peaks, pillars, peaks and cornices. All these forms are colored with a whole range of colors: snow white, bluish, dark gray, greenish, orange, dark red. Kishlaks (villages) with gardens and vegetable gardens, cotton fields will already be closer to Shakhrisabz. Ancient burial mounds now and then rise on the flat terrain. Upon arrival in Shahrisabz, you will have lunch at the national Uzbek house. Then you will go on a tour of architectural monuments (XV-XIX centuries), accompanied by a guide. The most grandiose building of that time was the Ak-Saray Palace – the “White Palace” (1380-1404), built on the orders of Timur. Both local masters and captives in Khorezm and Azerbaijan participated in its construction. From the magnificent palace there were only two pylons (foundations) of the entrance portal, supported by side towers. Above the arch, according to written sources, the phrase of Timur was written: “If you doubt our greatness, look at our buildings.” In the south of Ak-Saray there is the cult-memorial complex Dorut-Tilyavat (end of the 14th century – 1st half of the 15th century): the mausoleums, the mosque and the newly built madrasah on the old foundation (XIX-XX) are united by a small courtyard. Nearby is the cathedral mosque Jami. To the east is the once huge Timurid tomb – Dorus-Siadat (1379 / 80-1404). Only the mausoleum of the eldest son of Timur (Jehangir), erected by masters from Urgench in the forms of Khorezm architecture, has survived to the present day. Timur’s crypt (1380-1404), lined with marble-like limestone, is also located here, and the white marble sarcophagus is empty. Amir Timur was buried in Samarkand. Then you go to the city of Samarkand (about 100km). Your path runs through the picturesque landscape of the foothills and spurs of the Zeravshan Range (Pamir-Alai mountain system). Take the serpentine road to the Takhta-Karacha pass (1675m). From the height of the pass you will see a bluish-green spot of the oasis in the upper reaches of the Kashkadarya River, which you leave. Descending from the mountains to the valley, you will soon drive to Samarkand. Upon arrival you will be accommodated in the hotel. Then dinner will follow in one of the restaurants of the city.


Breakfast at the hotel. Excursion tour to the architectural monuments of Samarkand XII-XX centuries continues: magnificent mosque Bibi Khanum Mosque, built by order of Timur (Tamerlane) in 1404. It was the tallest structure and lavishly decorated in the East at that time; the central area of the “old” city – the “heart” of Samarkand – Registan ensemble ( “sandy place”). Initially, there were shopping arcade, located caravanserais, bathhouses, trading pavilions, benches small artisans. The products were brought by merchants from different countries, Asia Minor and the Volga region, Siberia and Far East, Persia and the Arabian Peninsula. During the reign of Ulugbek – grandson of Timur (Tamerlane), Samarkand  became a major science center of the East. At that time, Ulugbek  decided to build  the madrasah (Muslim spiritual school)   in the market square of Registan.  In the XVII century  in the opposite side of  Ulugbek madrassah military leader Yalantush Bahadur gave the order to build another madrassah  Sher-Dor – “having tigers” (1619-1636). Rounding out the ensemble of central Tilla-Kari – “gold plating” (1646-1660), which was erected on the site of the caravanserai XV century . You will see the luxurious interior of the mosque is painted flower and floral ornaments with abundant gilding; Timurid dynastic tomb – Gur Emir (1404-1405 additional extension – the XV-XVII centuries). Initially the mausoleum was built due to the death  grandson Muhammad-Sultan, who was to become the ruler of Maverannahr after Timur’s death. However in 1405  Timur died in Otrar city (southern Kazakhstan) at the age of 69 years. His body was transported to Samarkand and buried in the crypt of the mausoleum of Mohammed Sultan. Since that time, it became known as Gur-Emir – “tomb of the Emir.” . Gur Emir may draws attention because of  a wonderful combination of proportions, a living ornament mosaic tiling and a luminous blue of the ribbed dome. Inside the mausoleum on the marble floor, fenced patterned marble bars, are gravestones.The tour continues to show the ensemble of mausoleums of Shah-i-Zinda (XII-XIX centuries) – the greatest achievement of world architecture. From the entrance portal uphill climb two rows of tombs, between which formed a corridor. More than two dozen mausoleums, mosques, memorial and office space make this magnificent memorial. Facilities vary in size, architecture, color, decoration. Here adjoin bright colored mosaics, carved lace walls and doors with strict geometrical planes, almost devoid of cladding. Inscriptions that bizarre and at the same time organically woven into ornaments, decorating facades, left us the names of the great craftsmen of Samarkand, Bukhara and Azerbaijan; visible brushwork Iranian masters. One of his contemporaries wrote: “The heavens – the Moon and the Sun … sat down on the carpet meditation and bit a finger surprise – they had never seen such buildings and adorned with elegant”. Rounding out your day sightseeing visit to the memorial museum of Ulugbek (grandson of Tamerlane) and check balances built on his orders Observatory 1428-29 equal to that at the time was not on the Muslim East. Ulugbek was not only the ruler of the vast country, but also a great scholar of his time, an outstanding astronomer. Many data obtained in the Samarkand observatory, researchers in Europe used up to the XVII century. In the museum you will see the exhibits telling about the “astronomical Academy of the East” and its wonderful creator. Near the museum is the grave of Russian archaeologist VL Vyatkina, first discovered traces of the observatory in 1908.The museum of the foundation of Samarkand, on the territory of the ancient hillfort Afrasiab, where you will see the world-famous original wall painting (VII) of one of the palaces found during archaeological excavations. You will get acquainted with a large exposition of artifacts (from VIII century BC to the 13th century), found on the territory of the ancient settlement. Marakanda – the so-called ancient Greeks Afrasiab, is the ancestor of the present Samarkand. Here in the middle of the 1st millennium BC. There was a fortified city, destroyed in the IV century BC. Troops of Alexander the Great. In the 8th century, the restored city was again destroyed by the forces of the Arab Caliphate, but again revived to life. After the invasion of Genghis Khan hordes in the 13th century, Afrasiab ceased to exist and the inhabitants moved to the south-west of it, to the territory of present-day Samarkand. The excursion day in Samarkand is over. You go to dinner in one of the restaurants in the city.


After breakfast at the hotel, you will visit a small silk paper factory, famous in the Middle Ages and in the 14th century it replaced the papyrus used in Europe. The art of making paper was revived by enthusiasts, and now tourists often come here to watch the process of creating silk paper and to purchase items made of it as souvenirs. You will not see it anywhere else – this is an exclusive! Then we will take you to the largest bazaar of the city, which occupies an area of ​​7 hectares and is located on this place since IX century. Waiting for you at dinner in the national Uzbek house, where you will taste the dishes of Samarkand cuisine – the most delicious and varied in Uzbekistan. Moving to the railway station will take a little time and you will go to Tashkent by train (2 hours and 10 minutes on the way). Tour to Uzbekistan continues. At the station square, you are already awaited by motor transport, which will take you to the SPA hotel in the Chimgan mountains (80km – 1.5 hours), where you will be accommodated upon arrival. Dinner on site.

DAY 6 & 7

After breakfast you will not need to go on a tour – you come here to relax and enjoy the cleanest mountain air, magnificent landscapes, swim in the warm and gentle waters of the Charvak reservoir. There are a lot of entertainment that can be liked by  anyone: hiking in the mountains, horseback riding, water skiing and bicycles, scooters. Evening shows in the hotel’s restaurant will not leave you indifferent.


The 8-th day – having breakfast at the hotel, you travel by car to Tashkent, where a transport sightseeing tour is waiting for  you, accompanied by a guide. You will get acquainted with the sights of the capital of Uzbekistan (3 hours). Farewell dinner in one of the restaurants of the city. Motor transport will take you to Tashkent International Airport. Tour to Uzbekistan is over.

Ирина Давидовна Россия, 48 лет

Тур – Сказка Востока 2016

Хочу поделиться впечатлениями и написать отзыв о своей поездке в Узбекистан. Ну, во-первых никогда не думала, что здесь так много туристов из разных стран и на памятниках старины было не протолкнуться, но все грандиозно и здорово интересно. Но начну сначала. Прилетели мы с подругой в Ургенч (так была составлена программа самаркандской тур-фирмы, даже порекомендовали рейс из Москвы), нас встретили, перевезли в Хиву, разместили в маленьком и уютном отеле, накормили ужином и пожелали «спокойной ночи». Утром после завтрака гид пригласил нас на экскурсию во «внутренний город». Мама, дорогая, мы думали, что там потеряемся – это не объяснить словами! Нам повезло с гидом: ненавязчиво, информативно, с перерывами на кофеек, на обед, не заметили как день прошел (экскурсия-то пешеходная) и пора ужинать и спать. На следующий день выехали в Бухару (аж 6 часов по пустыне). Но наш гид Наталья Михайловна — Наташа) так интересно рассказывала в пути и об истории края, и о пустыне, и о быте здешнего народа и отвечала на все наши вопросы, что мы и не заметили, как въехали в Бухару. Да, уж действительно средневековый город. Жили мы в маленькой гостинице с европейскими услугами, но с восточным колоритом. Питались в разных ресторанах, но меню нигде не повторялось. Благодаря Наташе, нам стало известно, что в Узбекистане рестораны специализируются на каком-то одном блюде национальной кухни, т.е. в меню есть много других блюд, но только местные жители знают, где вкуснее готовят именно это блюдо (например, плов или манты). Дальше по маршруту нас ждал юртовый лагерь в пустыне. Представляете, вокруг желто-серый песок, на улице жара и мы, честно говоря, подумали – зачем нас сюда завезли и вдруг в лобовое стекло авто видим большое голубое пятно – это оказалось то самое озеро, к которому ехали. Потом, конечно и накупались, и на верблюдах накатались и у костра насиделись. В общем, классно провели время (кстати, хорошо, что мы послушали туроператора Ирину и захватили с собой крем от загара и от комаров, спасибо). На следующий день после обеда выехали в Самарканд. За 2 дня мы успели осмотреть все памятники по программе, побывать на бумажной фабричке (это класс!), на дегустации (два класса!!), поесть почти все блюда самаркандской кухни (три класса!!!), посетить базар – это вообще вне конкуренции. Хорошо загоревшие, с кучей сувениров и впечатлений вернулись домой. Мы влюбились в Узбекистан. Спасибо тур-фирме за грамотно и подробно составленную программу на маршрут как мы просили, за профессионализм сопровождающего гида и водителя. Такое впечатление, что они никогда не уставали. Мы с подругой решили, что и на следующий год обратимся в фирму «Аль-Самарканд» и поедем на другой маршрут.


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