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Uzbekistan: The Golden Road to Samarkand

Group Tour | Arts & Culture 12 Days & 10 Nights Lead-in price: £2995 Current prices from: £2995

Visit the most magnificent cities of the ancient Silk Road with Islamic expert Diana Driscoll or William Taylor. These include Uzbekistan’s second largest city, Samarkand, built by the infamous 14th-century Emperor Tamerlane; the medieval city of Bukhara, with its dazzling blue mosaic domes; the jadegreen city of Khiva; and Nukus, which once protected the Russian avant-garde art collection of archaeologist and artist, Igor Savitsky from the Soviets.

The Cox & Kings signature experiences

  • Private tour of the Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art in Nukus with a local specialist
  • See traditional silk weavers at work
  • Full-day tours of Bukhara & Khiva
  • Discover the intricacies of Samarkand’s Islamic architecture
  • Visit ceramicist workshops
  • No single supplement on selected departure dates (limited availability)
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Standard Group Tour in brief

Day 1: Fly to Tashkent

Board the overnight flight from London (regional connections available) to Tashkent with Uzbekistan Airways. (N)

Day 2: Tashkent • Fly to Nukus

Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to the Miran International Hotel (or similar) for a rest. After an introductory lecture and welcome lunch, take a city tour to see the highlights of Tashkent, including Kukeldash mosque, Muyie Mubarak library and Tillya Sheikh mosque. In the afternoon, fly to Nukus and overnight at Hotel Jipek Joli (or similar). (B, L)

Day 3: Chilpak • Khiva

Morning tour of the Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art, which houses the collection of Igor Savitsky, who secreted away thousands of Russian avant-garde and post avant-garde paintings during the Stalinist Soviet period. Besides this rare and extensive collection of art (second only to St Petersburg), he also collected thousands of Uzbek artefacts, textiles and jewellery. Tour the museum with a local specialist. En route to Khiva, stop at Chilpak to see the fourth-century Zoroastrian Tower of Silence. Stay for 2 nights at Orient Star Khiva (or similar). (B, D)

Day 4: Khiva

Full-day tour of the old walled city of Khiva, capital of Khorezm between the 16th and 20th centuries, and one of the most remote of the Silk Road cities. Visits include the Kunya Ark (old fortress), the original residence of the Khiva khans; the beautifully decorated Tash Hauli (stone palace); the Friday Mosque; and madrasas (theological colleges), which now house museum collections. Also visit a Unesco silk carpet workshop. (B)

Day 5: Drive to Bukhara

Full-day drive to Bukhara (7-8 hours), through the Kyzylkum desert stopping at the Amu Darya river, known as the Oxus river in the ancient world. Stay at Emir Hotel (or similar) for 4 nights. (B, L)

Day 6: Bukhara

Take a full-day walking tour of Bukhara, visiting the Persian Samanid brick mausoleum, the Chashmai Ayub, known as Job’s Well, and the Bolo Hauz mosque. Visit the trade domes, madrasas and traditional Bukharan bazaars. Continue to the Poi-Kalyan complex, which includes the towering Kalyan minaret and the twin-domed Miri-Arab madrasa. (B)

Day 7: Bukhara

Visit the architectural ensemble around the Lyab i-Hauz pool, fed by the waters of the royal canal. Continue to the Chor Minor, a curious four-towered gatehouse, and the Sitora-i Mokhi-Khosa, the summer palace of the last emir of Bukhara. Then visit the Fayzulla Khodjaev Museum, set in the house of a wealthy Bukhara merchant showing aspects of life in the early 20th century. Continue to the Balyand neighbourhood mosque, a jewel of 16th-century architecture, and the imposing ark fortress of the Bukhara emirs. Walk down the narrow streets of historic Bukhara to the old Jewish quarter. See one of the city’s hidden gems, the Jewish synagogue, which houses a collection of ancient torahs dating back approximately 600 years. (B)

Day 8: Rabat i-Malik • Gijduvan • Vabkent

Drive along the royal road to the 11th-century Rabat i-Malik caravanserai (a trading route stop-off). Continue to Gijduvan, renowned for its traditional ceramics, and see Abd-al-Khalyk Gijduvani mazar. Return to Bukhara via Vabkent to see the minaret commissioned in the 12th century by one of the rulers of Bukhara. (B, L)

Day 9: Shahrisabz • Samarkand

Drive to Shahrisabz, birthplace of Tamerlane, where he built an enormous palace, of which part of the beautifully ornamented audience chamber remains. Drive alongside the Zerafshan mountains to Samarkand for a 2-night stay at the Dilimah Premium or Malika Diyora (or similar). (B)

Day 10: Afrosiyob • Samarkand

Drive to the ancient deserted site of Afrosiyob on the outskirts of Samarkand, where a settlement once thrived until it was destroyed by Tamerlane. Archaeological finds are housed in the Afrosiyob History Museum. Continue to the observatory of Ulugbek, Tamerlane’s astronomer grandson, and see the Bibi Khanum mosque, built by Tamerlane for his favourite wife. End the day at the magnificent Gur Emir mausoleum, where Tamerlane is buried beneath the Timurid fluted blue domes. (B)

Day 11: Samarkand • Tashkent

Visit Registan Square, framed by three brilliantly ornamented madrasas, and see the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis. Visit the Amir Timur gate in Djizak . Drive to Tashkent. After a farewell dinner, overnight at the Miran International Hotel (or similar). (B, D)

Day 12: Tashkent • Fly to London

This morning, visit the Museum of Applied Arts in a former Russian diplomat’s residence. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for a flight to London. (B)

Meal basis

As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.

Important information Arts & Culture tours

A collection of expertaccompanied tours focusing on creativity in its many forms. All tours are open to everyone and can be viewed at

Expert-led tour

This tour is fully escorted throughout by the lecturer, as well as an experienced local guide.

Standard tour

This tour is based in 4-star accommodation.

Single supplement

From £345pp.


The tour involves some long drives and requires a good level of fitness as there is walking over rough terrain and up some high, uneven steps. There are also some long road journeys.

Private visits

Please note that the exclusive and individual nature of private visits means that they are subject to confirmation nearer the time of departure. Mosques, private houses and other buildings often have fluid opening times. If any visits have to be rearranged, please be assured that we will seek alternatives of equal interest.

Private & tailor-made travel:

This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits you, for which guideline prices are shown. Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact requirements. Please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online.

Standard group tour accommodation

  • Hotel Jipek Joli
    Hotel Jipek Joli

    The Jipek Joli Hotel is located in the centre of Nukus, across the road from the Savitskiy Art Museum. The hotel features Karakalpak art and furnishings combined with modern amenities. The restaurant offers a variety of national and European dishes. Features: 15 rooms, restaurant, bar, open-air cafe, safe, internet. Room amenities: Air conditioning, satellite television, bath or shower, hairdryer,

  • Orient Star Hotel Khiva
    Orient Star Hotel Khiva

    The Orient Star hotel is located within the walled city of Khiva. Built in the 19th century, it was originally the madrasa of Moukhammed Amin Khan. Due to the traditional architecture and design of the building the rooms have low doorframes, uneven floors and some rooms are interior facing, lacking windows. Features: 73 rooms, restaurant. Room amenities: Air conditioning.

  • Hotel Emir
    Hotel Emir

    The Emir Hotel is situated in the old Jewish quarter, only 50 yards from the historic complex around the Lyab i-Hauz pool and with good transport links across Bukhara. Converted from a historic merchant's house, the Emir retains many original features, with intricately carved covered walkways overlooking a courtyard. Rooms are simply furnished with colourful local textiles and decorative ceramic wall panels.

  • The Dilimah Premium Luxury Hotel
    The Dilimah Premium Luxury Hotel

    The Dilimah Premium Luxury hotel is located in Samarkand, a short drive from Registan Square. Guestrooms are fully equipped and feature warm decor and soft furnishings, and some have balconies. Features: 41 rooms, restaurant, bar, seasonal outdoor & indoor swimming pools, garden, terrace, lounge, gym, spa. Room amenities: Air conditioning, television, tea & coffee facilities, minibar, safe, hairdryer, Wi-Fi.

Standard group tour extensions

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Dates & prices


Main Costs

Flexible Prices & Itineraries
For a quote based on alternative accommodation standards or flight options, or to tailor this itinerary, please call 020 7873 5000 or send an email enquiry

Additional Information

Please call 020 7873 5000 for more information or to make a booking.

Prices above are per person in pounds sterling (£), based on two people sharing a twin-room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication, may be subject to change, particularly as a result of variable flight costs. You will be informed of any such changes prior to booking.

  • • International flights (and domestic flights if applicable)
    • UK departure and overseas airport taxes
    • Accommodation, itinerary & meal basis as described
    • Local Transfers in a private chauffeur-driven vehicle
    • The support (if required) of an English speaking local representative
    • Local excursions where applicable

Destinations on this tour

  • Khiva

    The ancient city of Khiva lies around 450km north-west of Bukhara, and only around 40k...

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  • Khiva

    The ancient city of Khiva lies around 450km north-west of Bukhara, and only around 40k...

    Read more >
  • Bukhara

    Bukhara is largely built of brown mud-brick, and as a result is perhaps visually less...

    Read more >
  • Bukhara

    Bukhara is largely built of brown mud-brick, and as a result is perhaps visually less...

    Read more >
  • Bukhara

    Bukhara is largely built of brown mud-brick, and as a result is perhaps visually less...

    Read more >
  • Bukhara

    Bukhara is largely built of brown mud-brick, and as a result is perhaps visually less...

    Read more >
  • Samarkand

    Samarkand is one of the world's oldest cities, located in the very centre of Uzbekistan...

    Read more >
  • Samarkand

    Samarkand is one of the world's oldest cities, located in the very centre of Uzbekistan...

    Read more >
  • Tashkent

    Although little remains of Tashkent’s history, there has been a settlement on this site,...

    Read more >
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