Uzbekistan - Tajikistan
highlights tour

Uzbekistan - Tajikistan Highlights Tour



This tour starts from Tashkent and heads next to Bukhara, which was a gathering place for artists, scientists, merchants. Ethnically more Tajik than Uzbek, this city was one of the major centers of Islamic theology more than 1000 years ago. Then you will visit the capital of Timur’s empire Samarkand. And via the Sarams border, you will cross to Tajikistan, where you will experience 1,500+-year-old ruins of ancient Panjakent known as Sarazm. The highlight of the tour is Haft Kul: seven teary lakes. Seven small and large lakes make up the Haft Kul, “seven lakes”, in northwest Tajikistan. Legend says they’re the tears of the seven daughters of a missing man. Science says they were created after earthquakes altered the Shing River’s course.

Uzbekistan - Tajikistan Tour Itinerary

Arrival in Tashkent airport. The driver will transfer you to the determined hotel.

Tashkent: a capital introduction
Your journey begins in Tashkent, as much a crossroads of culture now as the region was in the Silk Road era. What the city lacks in sights it compensates for with intriguing blends of Uzbek and Soviet culture. You can go sightseeing depending on what time will your airplane land.

Overnight in hotel.

After breakfast early morning driving to Bukhara.      

Bukhara: center of thoughts! In the days of yore, Bukhara was the gathering place for artists, scientists, merchants, and everyone in between. Ethnically more Tajik than Uzbek, this city was one of the major centers of Islamic theology more than 1,000 years ago.

Minarets, mosques, and madrassas, oh my! Today is all about Bukhara’s historic highlights.

Places to visit in Bukhara
Po-i-Kalyan: Bukhara’s most famous square contains multiple sights. Most obvious: Kalyan Minaret, visible throughout Bukhara. This cleverly built 12th century minaret was the first place Uzbekistan’s quintessential blue tiles were used. You can’t enter, but it’s at the entrance to the more recent Kalyan Mosque, whose sprawling courtyard and cavernous interior are open to visitors. Mir-i-Arab madrassa sits opposite the mosque, but it’s still active and not open to tourists.

Chasmai Mirob: An overpriced restaurant with slow service… but wait! The views from this restaurant over Po-i-Kalyan are worth an expensive tea (or beer if you’re cheeky and want to drink while admiring Islamic monuments).

Bolo Hauz Mosque: Opposite the fortress, solid wooden columns so high your neck will ache combined with hand painted details on faraway ceilings make this mosque unique. You can enter if it isn’t prayer time.

Chor Minor:  A cute little gatehouse with four minarets—hence the name chor minor—it’s removed from the old city center, and thus quieter. Each minaret is decorated in a different style; appreciate them from the roof after paying a fee at the souvenir shop inside.

Lyabi Hauz: Hauz means pond in Persian, and that’s exactly what this place is: a collection of madrassas around a central pond. Though it’s consumed by tourism, it’s a stunning place to sit and enjoy a cup of tea or a meal by the glittering pool.

 After having breakfast driver take will take you to Samarkand. Beautiful blue city of Samarkand once impressed me more than Rome! Did you know that you can actually easily reach it from capital of Uzbekistan,Tashkent city.Just 3 hours in average speed train will bring you to this magical place. Mausoleums , madrasahs, fortress and mosques decorate the cities more dreamlike .

 Samarkand: Uzbekistan’s crown jewel

Bukhara was the gathering place of minds, but Samarkand is where the action happened: it was the capital of Timur’s empire. Home to Uzbekistan’s most iconic sights, you’re guaranteed to be oohing and ahhing all day. Get ready to peel your jaw off the floor.

 It’s Timurid time! You can easily walk to all of Samarkand’s major sites in a day; make sure your camera is charged and ready.

 Tip: It’s worth getting up before sunrisein Samarkand. Streets are quiet, and many buildings are lit at night; it’s magical to see them illuminated without tourist crowds.

Places to visit in Samarkand:

Gur-e-Amir: Timur’s mausoleum is a gilded sight to behold. Blue mosaics paint the outside, while gold leaf and calligraphic script glow inside. All of the graves are actually in a closed vault beneath the mausoleum; the tombs inside are place markers for graves below.

 Registan: Meaning “desert” in Persian, Uzbekistan’s most famous complex is home to three no longer functional madrassas: Ulugbek, Shirdor and Tilla Kari, constructed between the 15th and 17th Tilla Kari’s mosque has the most opulent ceiling in all of Uzbekistan, so don’t miss it!

 Bibi Khanum Mosque: Once the largest mosque of its time, this massive building honoring Timur’s wife is crumbling—its construction was too rushed! Gradually it’s being restored, but for now you can enter the mosque through a massive crack in its walls.

 Siyob Bazaar: Next to the Bibi Khanum mosque, this busy bazaar offers everything from produce to sweets to hot tea ‘round back. Try the varieties of sweet Samarkand halwa sold near the entrance.

 Shah-i-Zinda: This narrow necropolis is a fast favorite of many. Turquoise tiles line its singular alley, home to dozens of tombs including that of Kusum Ibn Abbas, the prophet Muhammad’s cousin. Some tombs date all the way back to the 11th century! It’s best visited around sunset or sunrise when the tour groups are gone. Enter from the surrounding cemetery, open 24/7.

 Local beer at Labi G’or: Treat yourself after a long day to a local brew at this upper level restaurant near the Registan. The food is overpriced, but this is one of the most central places to get fresh Samarkand beer. Overnight in hotel.

Having breakfast you will directly  come to Jarteppa boder. Crossing the boder take only 1 hour or more.

Coming to these cities( Samarkand and Bukhara) and not visiting to Panjakent (especially to ancient Panjakent and Sarazm settlement ) is not good idea from point of professional itinerants. Only 1 hour bring you from the Blue city to Panjakent via Samarkand and Panjakent border(Jarteppa border).

Panjakent: an ancient welcome to Tajikistan

Panjakent was once the capital of the Sogdian Empire, a Zoroastrian civilization well predating Islam in the region. Though most people travel to Tajikistan for trekking, there are several ancient sites in the area worth visiting on your way to the mountains.

Places to visit around Panjakent

Sarazm: A stone’s throw away from the border crossing are the UNESCO-listed ruins of Sarazm. More than 5,000 years old, they’re remains of the first agricultural society in Central Asia. A remarkably tall human skeleton, dubbed the “Princess of Sarazm”, was found here with some of her ornaments. Archaeologists also found artifacts indicating ancient trading routes stretching as far as modern day Iran and Pakistan.

Panjakent Bazaar: This bazaar has a beautiful central building ringed by brick archways. It’s a good place to stock up on trekking snacks like nuts and dried fruits, or get your first taste of Tajik hospitality.

Old Panjakent: The 1,500+ year old ruins of ancient Panjakent are outside the city, accessible by taxi or hitchhiking. The hilltop site spans several kilometers; roam through it at your leisure. Here archaeologists found remarkably well-preserved frescoes. They’ve since been relocated to the Rudaki Museum in Panjakent, the National Museum in Dushanbe, and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. You can see copies in the small museum at the Old Panjakent entrance. Overnight in hotel.

You will have your breakfast in the hotel and after driving to  Seven lakes.

Haft Kul: seven teary lakes

Seven small and large lakes make up the Haft Kul, “seven lakes”, in northwest Tajikistan. Legend says they’re the tears of the seven daughters of a missing man. Science says they were created after earthquakes altered the Shing River’s course.

Whichever version you prefer, the Haft Kul road is one of Tajikistan’s most accessible treks; the perfect introduction to Tajikistan’s natural beauty.Once you’ve reached your desired sleeping spot, put away your belongings and enjoy the surroundings! Aside from the azure lakes, there are plenty of villages to wander through, with many kind locals happy invite travelers for tea. Overnight in a hostel.

Because of spending a full day and half for visiting all lakes you will get to Ruknobod after lunch. And this day you have free time to rest and try tastes of  some tajik national meals. Overnight in a traditional house. 

Breakfast will be in the traditional house. And after toward Dushanbe .It will take 4 or 5 hours to get to Dushanbe from Ruknobod .Dushanbe: a perfectly pleasant finale

Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, was a pleasant surprise to me. I expected a tired post-Soviet mass of concrete apartments, but instead encountered a manicured city center with lush parks, fountains, and equally vivid flowers and buildings.

Places to visit in Dushanbe:

National Museum: I’m not a museum person, but the National Museum has some interesting collections I did enjoy: some of the frescoes from Old Panjakent, and an entire top floor with unique artworks from Tajik artists.

Rudaki Park: Dushanbe’s prettiest park is next to the National Museum. Its tree-lined ways contain everything from Palace of Nations (where the president works) to eccentricities like the second tallest flagpole in the world. Visit after a trip to the museum, but know the park really comes alive at night.

Rohat Chaikhana: Massive teahouse on Rudaki Avenue. Beautifully decorated and a pleasant place to have an affordable nice lunch outside. You can sit in a columned open hall, or an elaborate wooden interior.

Museum of Antiquities: I know, I know, museums. But wait: it contains the bones of the Princess of Sarazm (creepy, but cool), plus an impressive collection of ancient artifacts.

Mehrgon Bazaar: Grand bazaar in the north of the city where you can buy everything from freshly diced carrots to stuffed dried dates.

Ayni Opera & Ballet Theatre: Here you can see operas or ballets in a grand theater for unbeatable prices: US$2 per ticket. Pop in to see if any shows are on!

Sim Sim brewery: Tajikistan’s favorite beer is brewed here in Dushanbe. You can enjoy two varieties of local brew on its rooftop terrace, or in the restaurant below. Food and regional bar snacks are on offer.

For your final day in Tajikistan, head a bit deeper into Dushanbe.

Places to visit for the final day:
Chatr Café: Café run by women whose profits support female victims of domestic violence. Great coffee, good ambiance, and who doesn’t want to support women-run businesses?

Botanical Garden: A short walk from Chatr Café, stroll in this sprawling garden where couples and families enjoy days out. However, if you’re not already at the cafe I don’t think it’s worth a trip—there are other parks in Dushanbe.

Kurutobhona Olim: Kurutob is one of the few Central Asian dishes that excite me. Strips of bread, yogurt, salad, and herbs make up this curious but delicious dish (one of the few decent vegetarian options in Tajikistan!). Olim restaurant, outside the city center, is a popular local lunch spot.

Navruz Palace: Kokhi Navruz is an attractive palace on the water that’s been converted to a place for events and entertainment. Its grand halls overflow with woodwork, ceiling frescoes, and tiled mosaics. Visit its interior and/or dine at one of the teahouses by its entrance.

Chavonon Gardens: Lining a lake and beachfront behind Navruz Palace, these small gardens are a popular hangout spot in afternoons and evenings. There’s a small cafe on the water where you can sit and people watch. After driving to the airport for departure. End of the tour.


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Tour updated 18.8.2022

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